February 2009

The dynamic UK networking and business club for rural women in business - WiRE, Women in Rural Enterprise

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WiRE News and Opportunities

WiRE are pleased to announce the following events:

Staying in Touch- 25th February 2009 – Goole, Yorkshire
The what, why & how guide of online communications (Skype etc) and associated technology presented by Anna Farmery. More than just talking, real life use of communication technology will be included in the day. The event will be held at The Courtyard, Goole. For more information or to book online visit the website at www.wireuk.org.

Important Date for your diary!
WiRE are excited to announce that the annual National WiRE conference is to be held on Thursday 23rd April 2009 at Harper Adams University College, WiRE’s HQ. We are telling you early to make sure you can all attend this fantastic day. More details of the conference will follow in next month’s newsletter.

WiRE's Facebook Page
Over 200 of you have already joined the WiRE Facebook page to gain access to up to date information, photos, reviews, event information, discussion boards and much more. Want to join WiRE on Facebook and become a keen online networker? Join WiRE at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8561171654. and let your friends know!


Country Living Spring Fair 2009
**Few spaces left** Country Living Magazine is holding their Spring Fair from Wednesday 11th March to Sunday 15th March 2009 at the Business Design Centre, London. WiRE members can exhibit at the subsidised rate of £180/m2, instead of the usual £280/m2. If you are interested in trading at this event please contact heather@wireuk.org for more details.

Country Living

Great HSBC Offer for all members
As a WiRE member HSBC is pleased to offer you preferential rates for your electronic card processing. Debit and credit card processing could be right for you if you accept debit and credit card payments from customers and if you want competitive, fair pricing. Benefits include no set up fee (normally £150) and terminal rental from £18 + VAT for each static terminal per month (special rates for mobile and portable terminals, available on request) and a minimum monthly service charge of £15 per month. For more details call the HSBC team on 0800 731 8921 stating you are a WiRE member or visit the website www.hsbc.co.uk/business



WiRE Keeping you up to date

Supply2.gov.uk is the only official Government lower-value (typically below £100,000) contract opportunity portal, created by the Government to provide small businesses with access to lower-value public sector contracts - a huge potential market which can provide small businesses with the stability they need to thrive and grow.


WiRE Member News and Events

Office partition helps Richmondshire businesses – Yorkshire
A local authority has found an innovative way to help businesses get through the credit crunch - offer smaller offices. Richmondshire District Council runs the Innovate business centre at the Colburn Business Park, offering managed office accommodation to businesses. But with the current economic climate, the Council's Economic Development team predicted there would be demand for smaller office space, to help companies cut costs. They decided to partition one existing office into two smaller ones and within a week, two new tenants had moved in. The Council has plans to partition another office, as demand for smaller offices is still high. Councillor Fleur Butler, Richmondshire District Council's spokesperson for Prosperous Communities, said: "Businesses will always need quality office accommodation - but may be operating on a much tighter budget because of the credit crunch. By partitioning one large office into two smaller ones at Innovate, we have been able to help support that. Please call 01748 831900 or visit www.innovate-colburn.com for.

Strong sales growth for ethical retailer – Norfolk
Small retailers in Norfolk can maximise their chances of weathering the economic storm by concentrating on business ethics – that’s the message from the county’s biggest fair trade retailer, which is reporting strong sales growth in 2008. The Living Rooms, in Poringland, saw sales grow by nine per cent year-on-year, with sales in the final quarter of 2008 a full 15 per cent ahead of the same period in 2007.  The business, housed in a 4000 ft2 converted barn on the outskirts of Norwich, imports and sells fair- and ethically-traded goods for the homes and garden from all over the developing world. “It’s clear that 2009 is going to be very tough for everyone in retail, but it is gratifying to know that by sticking to our ethical principles we are not just doing the right thing, but we are being supported by Norfolk people as well.”
More details about The Living Rooms can be found at www.the-living-rooms.co.uk.

Made You Look –Visual Display Training Starting 5th February 2009
Is your window display working for you? Do you turn heads & stop people in their tracks?
If you are looking for inspiration, fresh ideas or just want to know HOW to display that awkward product, come along to our workshops and we will help you! The basics, training events are being held on the following dates in these locations: York 5th Febuary, cost is £75 for the evening from 7-10pm. London April 21st, Leicester April 22nd, York April 24th and Hull, June 3rd. The cost of a day delegate for these events is £150, including lunch. The day runs from 10am-4.30pm. Please call 01904 654933 for more information and visit the website www.madeyoulookmadeyoustare.co.uk.

Made You Look Made You Stare

Success University – Cambridgeshire – 12th February 2009
Women, are you equipped with the skills you need for all the different hats you wear in your varying roles? Success University offers 650+ online courses (audio, video and pdf): communication, family, financial, health, leadership, marketing, motivation and personal development and sales. A  presentation about Success University and its unique learn and/or earn opportunity every other Thursday starting 12th Feb. Starts 7.30pm and £3 entry. The sessions are being held at The Ramada Hotel, Thorpe Meadows, Off Longthorpe Parkway, Peterborough, Cambs, PE3 6GA. For more information please visit the website www.pure-success-coach.com or call Call Sara 07828 568224

House of Colour – Introductory Evening  - 11th February 2009 – North Yorkshire
WiRE members are warmly invited to bring your Friends, Family, Colleagues and Neighbours to an introductory open evening at The Studio, Crofts Avenue, Richmond, DL10 4AZ on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 at 7pm. Wine, soft drinks and nibbles will be served and then there will be the opportunity for your friends and family to see and hear for themselves all about Colour and Image and the benefits to them personally.  The evening includes demonstrations and information in a relaxed atmosphere so they can hear how to develop their own personal style, increase their self confidence and how to make the biggest saving of their life. Ring Judy on 0748825623 / 07787550606 to book a place for you and your friends.


Going Further with Google AdWords  - 11th  February & 13 May 2009- Shropshire

In one day on this course delegates will learn how to use the Quality Score to your advantage, to outrank your competitors without paying more, focus your campaign on the best performing keywords and adverts, cutting costs and improving ROI, set up and run campaigns that target specific geographical areas, write ads and landing pages that convert visitors into buyers and use and understand your statistics, continuously improving the performance of your account. The course will be held at the Telford Campus of the University of Wolverhampton. For full details and to book go to http://www.ascendancyinternetmarketing.co.uk/

Search Engine Optimisation for Beginners – 18th  February & 20th  May 2009- Shropshire
In one day on this Search Engine Optimisation course, beginners will learn to find the right keywords to target, optimise the copy on your website, develop effective internal linking strategies, grow the number of external links pointing to your website, measure the results of your work and develop your strategy further. The course will be held at the Telford Campus of the University of Wolverhampton. For full details and to book go to
or call 01952 288314

Yorkshire Independent Business Showcase – 18th April 2009 -York
The Yorkshire Independent Showcase is to be held this year at the Exhibition Centre at Yorkshire Racecourse. The event is organised by Sanctuary who are planning on bringing together a wide variety of independent businesses based throughout Yorkshire. The categories at the event range from wedding services, leisure and education to food and drink. Workshops and seminars will run throughout the day with Jennifer Celerier and Kristina Grimes from ‘The Apprentice’ holding a 1 hour workshop. After the show in the evening a carvery will be served (one ticket per trade stand, with additional tickets available to book) .The evening will provide a fantastic opportunity to network. At the start of the dinner the fantastic Nicky Patterson (international speaker) will be speaking and the meal is followed by a firework display. The day will raise money for the High Dependency Unit at York Hospital. The entry fee is £4. To book a stand or for more enquires please contact Carole Anne on 07919 020548 or email carole- anne@sanctuarymanagementuk.com. For more information or the event please visit the website www.sanctuarymanagementuk.co.uk.

Farmers Market at Fordhall Farm- 26th April 2009 – Shropshire
A farmers market is to be held at Fordhall Farm, in Market Drayton, Shropshire on the 26th April 2009. The event has always been well attended and is proud to offer a great choice in local and organic produce plus lots of new born lambs!  Stalls are £35 each or to bring your own stall is £20. If you need electricity this is just £10 extra. If you would like to be part of this fantastic event please call Hannah on 01630 638696. We also have another Farmers' Market taking place on the 6th July 6th2009, which is also at the farm, prices are the same as above and this can also be booked now. For more information please email Project@fordhallfarm.com.

Creative Women- Thursday May 7th 2009 – Bromsgrove
WiRE members ‘abfablife’ & The Joy of Word are hosting an evening event at The Artix in Bromsgrove to promote your business and also help Primrose Hospice on Thursday May 7th.  The evening provides an opportunity to showcase what you do, whether you are offering a service or creative expertise in your product, this is your chance to come face to face with the public and show everyone what you do. Display your products ranging from £30-£55 dependent on table size. For this cost you will be included in the Programme, in media coverage, Artix Catalogue, 1 free exhibitor ticket and 1 entrance ticket. There is also the opportunity to showcase your business on the stage. For further details please contact Sue Thompson on 01684 295677/ 07835347545 or email suetheword@yahoo.com.

Craft Event at Fillongley, Coventry –  9th August 2009 - West Midlands
WiRE members are invited to have a stand at the Fillongley Show in Coventry on 9th August 2009.  The cost is £20 per 6ft tressel table (including table) inside (if you have a craft to show/demonstrate to people), or £39 for any other type of business. If interested please contact Cheryl Brookes, the show secretary on 02476 460287/  07779558257. Cheryl plans to group WiRE ladies together, each with their own table. If there are more than 20 WiRE members, then WiRE members will have their own marquee. Places at the show are in high demand, so please contact Cheryl quickly. The website for the show is  http://www.fillongley-show.org.uk


Other News and Events

A free ‘Business Link’ health check for your business
Call Business Link on 08457 17 16 15 and one of our advisers will carry out a free confidential health check of your business over the phone. You will be asked some specific questions to help identify how your business is performing and highlight any potential issues. If further in-depth support is needed, a Business Link adviser will meet with you at your workplace to further diagnose your needs. Business Link has recently announced a £500 voucher scheme to support East of England businesses through the economic downturn. Redeemable in exchange for consultancy services, this voucher complements the existing package of help available from Business Link that includes free confidential business health checks, one-to-one specialist advice and skills workshops. Businesses that have been trading for over 12 months may be eligible for the voucher. Following an online or face-to-face 'health check' with a Business Link adviser, an action plan will be discussed and agreed with the business detailing areas where additional support is required. Call Business Link on 08457 17 16 15 for further information and to check availability.

Business Link

Start spring in tune with ACWW- London
The Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) would like to invite members of WiRE to a classical music concert in the Spring. The event is designed to publicise the work of this international organisation that helps women worldwide through the promotion of mutual friendship: the organisation of community development projects and the lobbying of the United Nations. It will take place at the 18th century former church of St John’s Smith Square, Westminster, London on March 19th. Works by Brahms, Mozart and Stravinsky will be performed by the clarinettist Timothy Orpen and Pianist Simon Lepper. St Johns is 200 yards from ACWW’s Central office at Mary Sumner House in Tufton Street where a buffet lunch will be offered to concert goers. Further details and tickets for £19 can be obtained from Jan Hugill, Administrative Secretary (telephone 0207 799 3875 Or email info@acww.org.uk).

Weakest Link on the search for contestants- Staffordshire
Do you think you have what it takes to face the queen of mean Anne Robinson? Well the BBC is on the look out for new contestants for the Weakest Link. They will be holding auditions in Stoke-on-trent in the near future. If you fancy winning up to £10,000 and would like to apply for a place on the new series then call 0900 10 200 22 or email weakestlink@bbc.co.uk. Applicants must be over 18.

Weakest Link

Brighton Gift Fair – Cancelled
WiRE have been made aware that the Brighton Gift Fair (due to run from 15 - 17 March) is NOT going ahead. The organisers have not notified anyone of the cancellation (which was made in August, according to the venue)

Train to Gain Scheme – New College Bromsgrove and Redditch- Worcestershire
Train to Gain is a Government sponsored initiative designed to help you get the most out of your workforce. As a Train to Gain provider New College, The North East Worcestershire College in Redditch and Bromsgrove, can provide a range of services to help meet your training needs. As a Train to Gain provider, NEW College can offer a range of training solutions to meet your needs. Some might be at no cost to your organisation, some might be heavily subsidised and there might be some that you have to pay for in full. To find out more information about what NEW College could do for you, call (01527) 66953.



Free Business Link workshops
Business Link has removed all charges for their business support workshops until the end of March 2009.  Workshops are held in over 90 locations across the East of England and provide expert advice and support to new and existing businesses. Topics covered include: Business Planning, Regulations, Marketing, Running a Business from Home, Asserting Yourself, Finance, Customer Service, People Management and many more. Workshops typically run for two to three hours and are held at various times during the day. To find out about workshops in your area, visit www.bookevents.org call 0845 601 1000 or email bookevents@businesslinkeast.org.uk.

Business Link Extends Start up support – East Midlands
Business Link has announced that it has extended is hugely popular Is It For You? event programme into the New Year and Spring 2009. The events are designed to help people explore the option of starting a new business as a real career path, an idea that is gathering momentum as many people face an uncertain future of closures and redundancies.  Starting a new business during a recession may sound like a crazy idea, but according to Business Link, and many other national agencies, if you have a sound business idea and with the right support and help from the outset, starting a business now could be an ideal career option. The Is It For You? events are FREE to participate in and will feature local, motivational speakers who have been through the start-up process and who will share their experiences of setting up in business. The regional Business Link Start-Up Service aims to stimulate an enterprise culture.  It aims to do this by raising aspirations amongst hard to reach groups including women, students, people in disadvantaged areas and those in employment, in addition to those owners of fledgling businesses. Demand for the events is likely to be high and places are strictly limited, so call Business Link on 0845 058 6644 to secure your place. The full listing of Is It For You? events can be found at the Business Link website at www.thinkbusiness.org.uk or individuals can also register by calling 0845 058 6644. 

Advertising Opportunity for WiRE Members - Herefordshire
Having benefitted from Wire training and support last year I have since set up my own two businesses, one of which is a community magazine (first edition in March). Wire readers who would like to advertise their services to 2500 homes in the affluent area of Colwall plus its surrounding villages (Herefordshire side of Malvern Hills) can contact me, Sascha McDonald on07906 573352 / sascha@allabout-local.com for a very affordable advertising deal.

Help needed for rural research project
Naharun Nessa, a final year student studying ICT in the Business Environment at Queen Mary University of London is currently conducting her final year business project researching  the 'Impact of ICT on a small businesses competitiveness and flexibility'.  The project involves conducting primary research and Naharun is looking to arrange a meeting with small companies to assess how ICT impacts (or not) their day to day business operations and what effect it has on the competitiveness and flexibility of the business. She is focusing in particular on small businesses led by women in the rural environment and so WiRE members are ideal candidates to answer her questions. If you think you could help Naharun by answering some questions, please email her at her university address ee05u026@elec.qmul.ac.uk.

Lobby the Government to give small businesses a helping hand
In this unparalleled economic climate do you believe that enough is being done to support small businesses? Should help be provided to assist them fight against the increasing price competition being applied by large companies, who can benefit from operational economies of scale? Elaine Clark of CheapAccounting.co.uk believes that there is one thing that could provide a quick and immediate benefit to small businesses, increase the VAT Registration Threshold to £100,000. Elaine comments “The benefits to small businesses, particularly those dealing with end consumers, would be enormous. Not only would they be better placed to compete on price but the huge administration burden of accounting for VAT would be eliminated. To lobby the government to implement this change, Elaine has set up an E-petition at the 10 Downing Street website. To pledge your support to this proposition visit http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/increasevatreg/



£5 off at Moobaacluck.com
Gabriella Buckingham of *Moobaacluck* is offering £5 off any product from her unique gifts business. See the gorgeous wooden bunting, personalised canvases, heart garlands, prints and cards at www.moobaacluck.com Everything is made to order to suit you. For a voucher simply email gabsbuckingham@gmail.com by March 1st with your contact details and it'll be sent to you with an order form. Perfect for children and the young at heart!

Confidence for Childbirth- 33% off at Shropshire Anti-natal
33% off the normal price of our unique Saturday" Labour Essentials" courses, held in February. These antenatal classes are run by experienced midwives , and take the fear out of having a baby. The sessions are for up to 4 couples, giving plenty of opportunity for questions and individual attention. The venue is delightful and a delicious lunch is also included. For more information contact ; Annie - Midwife (R.M.,A.D.M) on  Tel 01743 861235 or   www.shropshire-antenatal.co.uk.

WiRE offer on Squeak Gift and Party Valentines Range
New this month is our is our unique Valentines card “Share the Love Share the biscuits”.
A simply lovely card containing a recipe for Strawberry Shortbread biscuits - a great alternative to the norm. WiRE members receive a 10% discount when buying direct. View our products at www.notonthehighstreet.com/squeak. Contact us direct 01538 308555 or email admin@squeakgiftandparty.co.uk

Offer to WiRE members on Health Cover from WPA
WPA provide top quality medical insurance for the self employed and smaller businesses.  I am able to offer WiRE members free dental cover with company schemes or 2 months free for new individual policies.As a not for profit organisation, accountable only to our policyholders, we are able to offer superior service and competitive prices. To experience our market leading customer care, contact Ros Turner on 01845 565042 or email ros.turner@wpa.org.uk

Telephone Answering Service –Half price offer
 Your own telephone answering assistant allows you to get on with what you do best and never miss another business opportunity.  Briefed by you on your company we work exactly as if part of your business, giving you time, flexibility, cost-savings and a professional edge. No contract, no monthly fees and free message forwarding.  You just pay for the calls we take! Special Offer until 31 March 09 - Half price set up fee of £25.00 only. For more information call us on +44 (0) 113 3502139. Visit the website today at  www.executarial.co.uk.


Free marketing health-check- Norfolk
Norfolk-based rural marketing specialists, Active Marketing & Design Ltd offer a complete range of graphic design services from business cards to packaging, along with web design and public relations.  With particular interests in equestrian businesses and farm diversifications, WiRE members can take advantage of a FREE marketing health check at Active¹s offices near Norwich or Kings Lynn to inspire a host of new marketing ideas for your business in 2009.  Please call Kate on 01603 716700

Fabulous Valentines offers at Style & Tone- Birmingham
Style & Tone based in Birmingham is welcoming you to enjoy some ‘me too’ in the depressing economic climate with their fantastic February offers. During February book three treatments and receive your fourth free, book an aromatherapy massage for just £20 and for Valentines treat a loved one to a holistic massage and receive £10 holistic gift voucher valid until 31 March 2009. For more information call Style & Tone on 01214601999 or visit the website www.styleandtone.co.uk.

Great Special Offers on Promotional material and Webdesign
Lee Ann Smith of w3 Web Design is offering WiRE members some fantastic deals. Business Cards can be produced at the special price of £79 for 1000, plus free print on back. All cards are Matt Laminated and have a professional finish to them. The price also includes free delivery to UK Mainland. Lee Ann is offering special offers on printing including A5 Flyers or A6 Post Cards which are £99 for 5000, including free print on the back and delivery. Website design packages start from £149 and w3 designs also create complete business packages which include logo, brochure/flyer and business card designs priced to meet the needs of new and small businesses. Call Lee Ann now for more information – 01994 241454 or visit the website www.w3designs.co.uk

Offer with Yvonne Emery Coaching- Cambridgeshire Business income dwindling? Recession causing issues? Motivation down?
Then get the right mindset to achieve better results right now. Call now on 0845 094 6628 for a FREE 30 minute consultation to make sure you know the ABC of getting the right mindset and spring-boarding your business to the next level. “by using your ABC methods at work I achieved 293% of my target this week” Frank, Peterborough. Book now - e-mail Yvonne@YvonneEmeryCoaching.co.uk.



and Finally

What’s caught our eye on the WiRE Rural Marketplace this month …

Christine’s Choice –

Julie Stanley Photography


Ochre and Ocre - www.ochreandocre.com
Tess Heslop- Found on the Rural Marketplace- http://www.wireuk.org/directory.aspx?member=2957

My pick of the Rural Marketplace this month is Ochre and Ocre.This web site made my domestic side shine!! - and that's quite a challenge!! The fabrics looked alive and inviting I was tempted to buy - and bring some of the summer warmth into my dining room. I really liked being able to see the quality of the cloth, as the web site scrolled over fabrics I felt that I could touch the fabric!! This website is definitely worth a look to bring some sunshine and quality to home



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