Handbags and Briefcases
Handbags and Briefcases was established seven years ago with Big Lottery funding. Its mission was to provide a forum for established female entrepreneurs to support women in Wythenshawe who wanted to start their own businesses. The network grew from the initial Wythenshawe focus to the rest of south Manchester and now has active members in Hale, Altrincham, Sale, Didsbury, Cheadle, Gatley, Stockport and Heald Green. However, it is still a business networking group run by volunteers for entrepreneurial, self-employed women who have a passion to succeed and to help other women to do so too. Women are welcome to join Handbags and Briefcases at any stage in their careers
The network’s philosophy is to be as inclusive as possible. The membership cost is kept deliberately low at £36 a year. Regular meetings are free and light refreshments are served. There are ten meetings a year and the time of the meetings alternate - either at 10am until 12am or 1pm until 3pm – to allow as many women as possible to attend. The usual format is 30 minutes networking, a 1 hour talk by an inspiring female speaker and then 30 minutes of networking again.
The emphasis of Handbags and Briefcases is not business referrals but peer to peer support. Amongst its membership the network has women with businesses at all stages of development, giving women with new businesses the opportunity to draw on an amazing resource of knowledge and expertise. Every September there is a whole day meeting - ‘The Big Sounding Board’- which allows women to tap into the expertise within the network. Women are seated in small groups and each woman is given one minute to air a business issue that is concerning her to the rest of the group. The group will then advise on the issue and help the woman to devise an action plan to address the issue.
Members can also take advantage of occasional ‘Special Offers’ - one to one business advice sessions with experienced members. So Altrincham met former Chair and long-time member of Handbags and Briefcases, Sue Weighell who offers business advice sessions. Sue is a very experienced freelance Finance Director and clearly an hour of her time would be very valuable for a woman needing financial advice for her company!
The next meeting is a speed networking event on the 17th November from 12.00pm until 2pm at Clarke Nicklin Accountants in Cheadle. The Handbags and Briefcases “Non Corporate “ Christmas Party will take place on 6th December at The Parrswood, Didsbury.
Details of future events can be found on the website www.handbagsandbriefcases.co.uk or follow the network on Twitter @handbagsbrief
Have a look a this video to find out more.