Women in business

Support for Women-in-Business – in Lancaster, Lancashire & Beyond

Something for every woman-in-business in Lancaster, Lancashire and beyond. Affordable and funded support for you, and your business 

We know this is the hardest of times and so many of us are weary, but if you have started to turn your attention towards your business or employment possibilities again, then we have a huge selection of courses and opportunities coming up this term for you. And while we don’t normally blog about what’s on, we feel that right now, it would be really helpful to bring it all together in one place for a nice, easy read.

So here goes, in date order…

October

We have very carefully started face-to-face delivery again this week, as we ran the first session of the new cohort of our start-up programme. It was equally odd and wonderful to meet together after seven long months of delivering courses via Zoom. 

Growth & Sustainability

While we adapted our work and course to online delivery via Zoom, we saw that women joined us from all over the UK and beyond, so we are still offering online courses. In fact, we are very excited to be offering our popular growth and sustainability programme as an online course for the first time, starting this month. So if you are interested in this course but don’t want to travel to Lancaster, this might be the perfect solution for you. It’s incredibly affordable*, convenient and we have condensed the curriculum into a six-month programme. You can find all of the details and how to book, here

Peer Mentoring

Our Peer Mentoring programme for women running businesses in Lancaster is going so well, we are opening a second cohort on October 14th. This is a fabulous initiative where you train as a mentor – a great life skill – and you also get your own trained mentor for 12-months. Working in partnership with Lancaster City Council on the COVID-19 Recovery & Resilience Initiative, this comprehensive training programme is fully funded for women who have been in business for at least three years. If this interests you, you can apply here.

November

Employment & Enterprise Skills Training

With high rates of unemployment right now, we are pleased to be able to restart our Employment and Enterprise Skills Training courses for women who are unwaged and looking for their ‘What next?’ opportunity.


Working in collaboration with the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), we can offer this fully-funded, small group course to you if you are in Lancashire, deemed to be economically inactive and want support to help you take the next steps. 

The next course is face-to-face, starting on 4th November and is based in Lancaster. You can book your place via this link here

Medium-sized businesses?

We have also been awarded a contract to deliver a brand-new UK government initiative of peer-to-peer action learning for women running businesses or not-for-profits in Lancashire, who, up to the pandemic, had £100k+ turnover. 

This programme consists of 18-hours of action learning plus four-hours of one-to-one coaching. The training is fully-funded and it will run every two weeks, on a Friday morning, starting mid-November. Please note this course is limited to just 10 places. If you would like to apply for a place, please email Jane@thegrowingclub.co.uk for an application form.

In addition, we are running our monthly skills workshops and weekly drop-in sessions via Zoom. Follow our Facebook page to stay up to date

 If you have questions about any of the above, please email jane@thegrowingclub.co.uk

*If you are a woman running a business in Lancashire who wants to join this programme but have a cash-flow problem right now, Boost Lancashire has agreed to pay your fees as a Pay-It Forward grant. That means that you get the support you need now, and when you’re back on your feet, you pay for other women to do the same.

the sowing club, realise your business, women in business, business and enterprise, funded courses, lancashire, cumbria

Sowing The Seeds for Business in Morecambe

We are really excited to be offering once again, a fully-funded six-week skills training course for women in the Morecambe area, starting on the 15 January 2020.

‘The Sowing Club’ course has been funded by the European Union’s Social Fund. The course will benefit women who are currently searching for a job, in further education or self-employment and who fit into any of the following categories: 

  • in low-paid work
  • in receipt of benefits
  • suffer long-term ill-health
  • a lone parent
  • a carer
  • leaving a domestic violence situation

Our training sessions are provided in small and supportive group settings – we know this method gets the best results for you. We will be covering confidence building, how to maximise your existing skills, benefiting from support systems, problem-solving and how to plan for future opportunities. 

The founding Director of The Growing Club, Jane Binnion, says:

“We have just finished the first course which ran at the Women and Enterprise Hub in Lancaster, and the results amazed even us. Women have said their experience was life-changing and everyone felt much more confident and focused on their future. It is fantastic what just 15 hours of good attention in small groups can achieve.”

Jane Binnion

A previous attendee of The Sowing Club said:

“The Sowing Club has been useful to meet women with a tremendous passion for life, brilliant creative ideas and an attitude that will shape a great future for every one of us. Gaining support, being positive and overcoming adversity has been the main themes, and I have benefited from the collective knowledge and input. 

“I have particularly benefited from the moral support, and challenges to think and speak positively about the future; to be creative; to get on with it. To believe I can do it. I have benefited from being encouraged about my own ideas and from the positivity in the room.

“I think the continued surrounding support of The Sowing Club women will be vital to encourage and build my confidence.”

You can find the link to register for the upcoming course here.

Handy information 

When?

From Wednesday 15 January (The Spring course begins on Tuesday 18 February 2020 at the Women and Enterprise Hub, White Cross Business Park, Lancaster.)

Where?

Stanley’s Community Centre, 78-83 Stanley Road, Heysham, Morecambe, LA3 1UT

Time?

10.00hrs-12.30hrs

Any other questions?

Contact us! Jane or Lisa at The Growing Club would love to help. Call 01524 383846, text 07892 712417 or email admin @thegrowingclub.co.uk

kate manders, GC2, graduation, growing club stories, bloom and grow

Growing Club Stories: Kate Manders

Kate Manders

Hi, I’m Kate Manders and I own and run the Wagtail Deli Café in Arnside and the Wagtail Kitchen at Lakeland Food Park, Plumgarths, nr Kendal in partnership with my husband Steve.

Kate Manders

I’ve known Jane Binnion for a few years now.  We initially met around 2014 when my husband and I did some Facebook for Business training with her and I loved the way she delivered her training.  She was full of practical advice; I knew I’d found someone who could really help me.  I signed up for the newsletters! In 2016 Jane mentioned she had designed a course for women in business who wanted help, not just to achieve their goals, but to fit it round real life.  The Growing Club was the outcome, and the timing was perfect for me to sign up for the second cohort (GC2).  I’d just sold a previous business and was going into full-time catering with my husband.  We knew we wanted to make big changes but didn’t really have a clue where to start.

Being in the Growing Club was life changing.  I know you’ll be rolling your eyes right now, thinking I am some sort of over-enthusiastic groupie.  But honestly, I can’t think of how else to describe it.  I spent 12 months with a group of other like-minded women, all at different stages and from very different backgrounds.  But from our year together, we all have so much clarity in our business, and understanding of how better to balance work with the rest of your life, and a fantastic support network of people who are all rooting for each other.  This is what the Growing Club does.  It gives you the confidence to, well, to grow.

Since graduating from GC2, I regularly attend the Growing Club Graduates meet ups, and I have an ongoing business buddy.  That chance to receive and offer support to and from other amazing souls is worth more than anything for me.  We opened the Wagtail Deli Café in 2018 and have just started developing our Wagtail Kitchen brand.  I don’t think I would have the guts to do any of this without the Growing Club. 

I would always be happy to talk to anyone who is considering a Growing Club programme.  When something is this good, you’ve just got to share it. 

Visit: www.wagtailcatering.co.uk

You can read more of our fabulous Growing Club Stories here on our blog.

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Growing Club Stories: Janet Hampson

Janet Hampson

janet hampson

In the next in our series of blog posts introducing Growing Club women, we meet with Janet Hampson of JHPM to chat about taking the plunge into starting her own business and how The Growing Club has played a role in her success.

Janet first heard about The Growing Club online in Autumn 2018, when she saw an advert for ‘Crafty Women’; a course designed to support women who want to turn their art and craft skills into a viable business. “The big thing that caught my eye was that the training was being held in Morecambe, and not Lancaster,” Janet told us.

“Once I learned that Crafty Women was just one element of what The Growing Club offers, I started to look at what else might be a good fit for me. I moved away from the idea of craft pretty soon. I realised that the answer to what I should do next was right under my nose.”

Bay Casting

Janet, whose background is in casting and who lives in Morecambe, was moved to start her extras agency, Bay Casting, when primetime ITV series ‘The Bay’ came to Morecambe for filming.

“The agency started by recruiting local people who wanted to be extras whilst I was still part of Crafty Women. The website went live in February 2019 and we got our first job – for Coronation Street – in May.”

Since then, Bay Casting has gone from strength to strength, and we are delighted that she has achieved the goal she originally set out with.

“We are now supplying extras to series 2 of The Bay. It’s now time to think about what happens next…”

As is the case for many women who run their own businesses, Janet has experienced the difficulties that working alone can bring, and shared with us how connecting with the Growing Club has helped her overcome some of these barriers.

“When you are self-employed – or intending to be self-employed – you can really miss having a sounding board. Having a place to say ideas out loud and get feedback has been fantastic. I found friendships, which are always a good thing.

“The main thing I’ve gained has been time to think and reflect. I’ve recognised my strengths, I can look at my skills with an outsider’s eyes,” Janet told us. “It gave me a big dollop of self belief.”

Janet’s journey started with a craft course but took a different route into representing extras for TV and film. We asked Janet if she had any advice for other women just setting out on their business journey. She said:

“For me, the realisation that the business training I was receiving was transferable to any business was an Aha! moment.”

“I’d say turn up for all the sessions. You might think ‘I don’t need to know x, y or z for my idea’ – but how do you really know that? And why turn your back on hearing from experts in their field? You never know what might spark an idea off.”

So what does the future hold for Janet and Bay Casting? Building on her initial success, Janet shared with us her plans for the future:

“I’ve recently opened another agency – this time purely for actors. Bay Casting was born out of wanting to do something locally, using the skills and contacts I already had.”

“The new agency, JHPM, gives me the opportunity to work with actors again – which is what I’ve done my whole working life. So far, it is working out really well and I’m feeling very positive about the future.”

Janet is continuing to work with The Growing Club, having signed up for our 12-month business growth course, Bloom & Grow, and we wish her the best of luck with her future projects!

Follow JHPM on Twitter @janethampson
JHPM on Instagram: @jhpmltd
JHPM website:  www.janethampson.co.uk

Follow Bay Casting on Twitter @baycasting1
Bay Casting website:  www.baycasting.co.uk

Mentor Training Course for Business Owners

Mentor Training Course for Business Owners

Mentor Training

The Growing Club CIC is training a second group of mentors to support our start-up group.

This is a three session course, running on October 31st, November 14th and November 28th.

You are required to attend all sessions.

This opportunity is for you if you ..
.

*Run a business

*Have been trading for at least 3 years

*Can remember how hard those first few years can be!

*Want to support a woman starting her own small business

*Can commit to a face to face session an hour a month for 3 years

*Understand the importance of mentoring as a tool of empowerment.

This training is free if you commit to work with your mentee for three years.

If we have spaces available we can open this up to others at a cost of £750.

To apply please email jane@thegrowingclub.co.uk

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Bloom and Grow: The 12 month Growing Club growth programme, Lancaster

Bloom and Grow: The 12 month Growing Club growth programme, Lancaster

October 2 @ 10:00 12:30

Bloom and Grow: The 12 month Growing Club growth programme, Lancaster
The growth programme – Bloom and Grow is a 12 month, business growth course tailored specifically for the needs of women.

The Growing Club is a Social Enterprise founded and based in Lancaster. The Growing Club works with women who run a small businesses, social enterprises or charity organisations across the North West England

The growth programme began in 2016 because founder of The Growing Club, Jane Binnion, felt there was little to no support for women running micro businesses. Time and time again she saw women struggling to grow their organisation or bring in enough income, despite working 50 to 60 hours a week and she identified that traditional business training was not suited to the specific challenges and strengths of women in this position.

Since 2016, over 60 women have graduated from the programme with flying colours!

The growth programme – Bloom and Grow, is a systematic business growth course tailored specifically for the needs of women. Instead of short term, intensive training or coaching, this course offers long term, ongoing support over a period of 12 months, both through facilitated business skills workshops and a buddy system and peer network structure.

The course is highly subsidised and reducing the cost you to just £395 (rather than £1200) and you can reserve your place by paying £55 deposit here. You will then be able to pay the remaining fees in 4 or 6 monthly instalments.

The Bloom and Grow growth programme is a 12 month commitment and offers you the following:

  • A monthly facilitated skills workshop, each month building on the previous to take you through a year of business growth.
  • A one-to-one coaching session with a course facilitator.
  • A safe space to grow your business, working with a cohort of 9 other women just like you.
  • Peer accountability through a monthly ‘buddy session’ with another participant.
  • A safe space for confidentiality and a place to evaluate and reflect on your progress.
  • To join a growing network of women who have completed Growing Club courses.

The course is designed for women who…

  • …want to lift their heads from the day to day minutiae to see the bigger picture;
  • …work better in all female support space;
  • …can not afford a coach but want to grow their business;
  • …have not found a coach that works holistically with them;
  • …want an accountability partner and peer support;
  • …value other people’s experiences.

Course dates…

The course is a 12 month commitment which requires you to attend monthly skills workshops and a monthly buddy session. The Lancaster course will run on the first Wednesday of each month, beginning on Wednesday 2nd October 2019 and ending on 2nd September 2020.

If you would like any further details, we would love to tell you more about this fantastic programme. For further details please email admin@thegrowingclub.co.uk.

Please note this programme is also running in Preston and Cumbria.

katie birks, growing club trainer, bloom and grow, lancaster

Meet Your Trainer: Katie Birks

Introduce yourself, please!

My name is Katie Birks from Katie Birks Branding & Design. I spend my time doing all things creative, from website design, branding, book covers to hand lettering and map illustrations.

When I’m not perfecting one of my design projects, you might find me on the yoga mat, in front of the big screen (film and tv is one of my favourite ways to experience downtime or escape) or planning my next trip abroad.

With a background in photography and production, I’m often intrigued to visit local art or photography exhibitions, particularly if I’m out of town or on a business trip – it’s a great way to add some culture to my relaxation time.

Tell us a fascinating fact about yourself.

If it counts as being fascinating, I’ve ridden an ostrich?! Although, however much of an amazing experience it was, I wouldn’t do it again and would rather make sure these animals are looked after properly and in fair conditions, because you never know how they’re treated on the other side, away from the public.

What inspires you?

As usual with creatives, inspiration comes and goes. In fact, I often find it pops up where I least expect it… and it comes in a variety of forms. It’s often from other creatives or entrepreneurs, whether they are professional artists, online inspirations or local business women – they all offer different types of inspiration to me – sometimes in the form of advice, or sometimes from the outside looking in – you can gather and learn new ideas this way too. 

What I’m reminded at in these times is to always look ahead – to broaden my horizons, experiment with something new or different (however big or small) and remember, there is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

What made you decide to be a trainer for The Growing Club?

Building a successful business can be a very empowering experience – but it can also take over your life. Being able to sustain, develop and make a business into anything you want it to be and do it in a way that contributes or aligns with your personal life, is a different journey all of its own.

Building a sustainable business requires time, commitment and perseverance and often a subject that you are truly passionate about.

I believe that anyone who has the dream to build a business, deserves the opportunity to be supported through the process of building it – to be part of a community, a network and a support system, which helps them achieve their goals.

For me, The Growing Club gave me the space, community and support that a sustainable business venture needs to blossom – and I’d like to offer that to any other person who could benefit from such an experience.

What are some of the pitfalls for women in business that you’ve experienced?

One of the most common pitfalls or problems for women in business can be that the majority of start-ups founded by women are done without a team or support network, which creates a very lonely and often scary environment to start building a business from.

The Growing Club offers a range of courses for women at all stages of their business and with varying levels of commitment. All of which includes an excellent peer-support system, a place for women in business to talk, problem solve and learn from one another.

Having a community of like-minded women to bounce ideas off, ask for guidance or even just meet up with for a coffee, can make a massive difference in keeping their business, goals and mindset on track. 

How can The Growing Club help women to grow their businesses sustainably?

One of the biggest things I gained from The Growing Club was confidence. Confidence in myself, whether that was in realising I was the only one in control of my business, making decisions or knowing my ability both professionally and creatively was ‘good enough’. 

There is a certain phrase that you have to be ‘good enough’ to run your own business – but good enough compared to what?! Because there’s no point in comparing yourself to others when they’re not you. You are your only self, with your goals and your business – no one else can be you, so gaining the confidence to own my business in its truest sense couldn’t have benefited me or my business more. 

In addition to the mindset, there are some key skills and training that support creating a sustainable business – from finance to sales, to automation processes. After making some minor adjustments to my day-to-day, I gained big benefits, including a deeper awareness of how to use my time (both literally and in how much my time is worth), a clearer concept of how to meet my goals and what was important to me. I also developed a fuller awareness of what I did and didn’t want my business to look like.

All of these things have provided me with ongoing skills to maintain a sustainable business and grow at the rate I want to, on my own terms.

If you could offer one time-saving tip to a woman running her own business, what would it be?

My one tip is that: you can’t control other people, you can only control what you do, what you say and how you do it. There are times when we all have to work around other people, or make sacrifices for the greater good of the business – but running a business should always be pro-active and not reactive. Don’t let other people rule how you work and spend your time, or you’ll find that you don’t run your business, they run it.

Tell me about your training course in Lancaster? 

Along with my co-trainer, Nicola Garrett, we start the Lancaster, 12-month Growth Programme in 2 weeks on May 21st 9:30-12:00. The last few spaces are currently available, so contact me directly: business@katiebirks.co.uk or get in touch with The Growing Club: admin@thegrowingclub.co.uk or call 07892 712417

Anything else?

Just that I can’t wait to get started with a new group of wonderful business women and watch them smash their goals!

the growing club, trainers, bloom and grow, growth, women and enterprise hub, lancashire, cumbria

North West Women in Business: Do you need us?!

The Growing Club is growing once more! From Spring 2019, we’re delighted to be able to offer our business growth training course in additional locations.

Women in business! Are you looking to grow your businesses in a sustainable way, complete with peer-support and a full programme of unique training methods?

If so, you can now access our growth programme in three locations: Preston, Lancaster and Kendal.

The Growing Club is an award-winning, 12-month business growth programme, created especially for women who are running their own small businesses.

Unusually, The Growing Club benefits from being highly subsidised, which means you can access this programme for a reduced cost to yourself – just £395 for a year instead of the full price of £1200.

Benefits of Training with The Growing Club

• A supportive network of 10 women business owners
• Monthly facilitated sessions
• Regular inspiring guest speakers
• Accountability partners
• Action-based learning
• Peer support
• 1:1 coaching session
• Systematic process of growth
• Emotional support
• Confidence building
• Confidential space
• Workbook

Now you can access this unique business growth opportunity in three locations, starting in Spring 2019.

Why not try before you buy? We have created a short taster session in each location, where you can see what we have to offer you and your business, as well as taking part in a seminar on 6 of The Best Ways we Sabotage Ourselves in Business and how The Growing Club programme addresses these issues with real solutions.

Preston

Our Preston programme is run by Judith Loughlin and Jane Binnion. Their taster course will be held on Tuesday 5 March 2019, 10.00-12.00hrs, The Larder in Preston. You can book tickets here.

Lancaster

The programme in Lancaster is facilitated by Katie Birks and Nicola Garrett. The taster session is on Wednesday 6 March at 13.30-15.00hrs at The Women and Enterprise Hub, White Cross. Book your ticket here. For more information, call 07892 712417.

South Lakes

The South Lakes growth programme is run by Jennie Edmondson. She’s holding a taster session on Thursday 14 March 2019, 10.00-11.30hrs, at Castle Street Community Centre in Kendal. You can book a ticket here.

Any questions? We’d love to talk to you about The Growing Club and how it can help you grow your business. Drop us an email at admin@thegrowingclub.co.uk or fill in the contact form here and we’ll get back to you.