Coinciding with International Women’s Day 2019, social enterprise, The Growing Club – a unique business education and growth programme specifically for women in business – sees an expansion across the north-west with new training locations and courses to meet the increased demand for their services.

Now, the training programme has been rolled out in Kendal and Preston, making provisions for more women in business to access quality training and support. The Growing Club encourages women to thrive with the confidence and support needed for successful personal and business growth in a sustainable way.

Located at the Women and Enterprise Hub in Lancaster, The Growing Club has been flourishing for three years, with over 60 women from across the north west graduating from the business training course and 160 women taking part in the organisation’s courses, which also have expanded.

Founder of The Growing Club, Jane Binnion, a youth and community worker for 20 years, created the systematic business growth programme around group work models of learning and peer-support.

With initial support by Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub and the Federation of Small Businesses, The Growing Club now delivers a strong business growth training programme, designed to address the gaps in small business training and education for women, whilst creating an inspiring peer-support network.

The programme aims are to empower and support women in business to grow in a sustainable and action-driven way, through a variety of proven techniques such as goal-setting, one-to-one coaching sessions, peer accountability and confidence building.

Dawn Keyse, who runs her own homeopathy business in Lancaster, and graduated from the 2016/17 cohort:

“I have been in the business of personal development and growth for many years. I didn’t think there were any surprises left in store. However, being part of The Growing Club has already raised my game exponentially. During the 12 months of support, inspiration, great input and of course, working with my lovely buddies, I am working effectively on my new business. At 63, I could be considering retirement. No way. Quite the opposite, thanks to The Growing Club.”

Some of the latest courses to run include Crafty Women; a popular programme run by designers and makers who already run their own businesses. The remit is to provide women with the skills and techniques to become self-employed in their own creative business.

The aim is to support women as they consider self-employment as an option for themselves. The training also provides the women with skills identification, along with peer-support and business planning. This latest course’s final session ends on 8 March 2019 – International Women’s Day – with all participants successfully having a clear business plan to take forward, and over half of participants moving on to pre-start-up business courses with The Growing Club.

Liz Purcell, owner of Chorlton Blinds, a 2017/18 graduate of The Growing Club:

“Supporting each other and listening to the successes within our group gave me a lift and encouragement too. I found myself growing in confidence and trying things that I didn’t think I’d be able to do and that is down to the support of The Growing Club.
“The programme was at exactly the right pace for me and not like other networks or courses I’d been on previously where I’d just feel overwhelmed. The Growing Club is a no-nonsense, step-by-step approach of how to grow your business.”

Another hugely successful course currently running is Sunflowers, a dedicated programme for women aged 50 upwards who are either unemployed, unwaged or facing redundancy. Redundancy is a huge challenge in the 50+ age bracket, due to limits and barriers in gaining further employment.

Founder Jane Binnion:

“Every woman who runs a business whilst juggling various domestic responsibilities will know that mainstream business education can be lacking when it comes to understanding our challenges. Evidence has shown that having support networks in place whilst running a business results in a higher success rate. The Growing Club seeks to bridge gaps in business education for women, whilst providing a strong peer-support network. We are delighted by the successful expansion of our training course.”

Up and coming events in Lancashire include:

Preston: Wednesday May 15, 9.30am at Intact Centre, Preston and continues every third Wednesday of the month.
Lancaster: Tuesday March 19, 9.30am at Women and Enterprise Hub, Lancaster and continues every third Tuesday of the month.
For further information, please visit The Growing Club’s website or contact them by email.

The Growing Club is based at the Women and Enterprise Hub, 6-0-5 Alston House, White Cross, Lancaster.

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