Award winning women’s business network, North East, UK

Award winning women’s business network, North East, UK

  • Customer: Durham University Business School, Women into the Network
  • Date: 1999 - 2009

ICE Service

Better Engagement with Business

Customer

Durham University Business School

Background

Women into the Network (WIN) was established in 1999 as a multi- disciplinary programme which assisted Women’s Entrepreneurship and Enterprise development through integrating women into existing networks, and through inspiring and supporting women to start their own business.   Dinah Bennett headed up the project whilst engaged as Programme Director at Durham University Business School.

New Insights into Enterprise & Entrepreneurship

Partnerships were developed with a variety of organisations both public and private, through the development of outreach activities and advisory services. Elements of the programme included a research and communications strategy including a series of ‘role model’ publications, networking events focused on supporting women to develop their networking skills, the organisation of International conferences as well as a high profile regional awards programme.

Impact

Over 1,800 jobs were created by women owned businesses as a result of the 10 year programme

In 2002 WIN was selected as the UK best practice model for supporting women’s entrepreneurship through an EU commissioned survey, and subsequently attracted a range of other awards including the CBI First Women Awards in 2006 for their extraordinary contribution to women’s role in the workforce and, by extension, helping to boost the performance of the UK economy.  WIN was also recognised in 2003 for providing a “Flagship” level of support to women’s enterprise development by PROWESS, the former national women’s enterprise support association.

The Susan Dobson Female Entrepreneurship Awards was sustained beyond the lifetime of the original project in the North East region until 2012.

“At heart, Women Into the Network is a networking organisation. But such a description dramatically underplays its impact … This wonderful organisation, in its corner of the United Kingdom, has made a genuine, tangible, measurable difference to women’s prospects in business”, Diana Brightmore-Armour, Managing Director of Lloyds TSB Corporate Banking

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