Women in business throughout Shropshire and Staffordshire are invited to a conference that draws the successful ‘Women and Broadband Challenge’ to a close.

The conference takes place on 31 March 2015 at Harper Adams University College and there are still a few places available. Organised by Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE), it is the final event in a six month business support programme that has seen almost 300 women across Shropshire and Staffordshire benefit from funded training and mentoring to help boost their business through digital technologies.

Speakers at this month’s conference will include inspirational women from all walks of business, including ‘productivity ninja’ Grace Marshall and homeware and gifts entrepreneur Julie Dodsworth whose products are sold in more than 500 shops in 20 countries. Other speakers include Cleopatra Browne from Celtic Coasteering and Julie Croucher from Travel with Jules, as well as a social media masterclass from Deborah Lee, one of Forbes Magazine’s top 20 social media influencers.

Fiona Davies, of WiRE UK, says: “We’re absolutely delighted with the take up of training and mentoring on this project and everyone who has taken part has told us that their businesses have benefited greatly from the insight into online technologies and the many different ways that it can help them grow or enhance their business.

She adds: This final conference is a great opportunity for women who are in business, or considering starting a business, to meet up in a friendly environment, be inspired by like-minded people, and develop their knowledge and skills even further.”

The Women and Broadband Challenge was launched last autumn by Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) with the aid of funding from Shropshire and Staffordshire County Councils, and was made available to female business owners or would-be entrepreneurs who live or work in either county.

The challenge has included a programme of training workshops in subjects such as Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, as well as filming online videos for businesses and making the most of cloud technology. Additionally, around 20 mentors have provided one to one coaching sessions on subjects ranging from start-up growth, to more technical skills including website production and e-marketing. The mentors have been on hand to provide on-going support for business owners as they start to put some of their new skills into practice.

Funding for the Women and Broadband Challenge was secured from Broadband Delivery UK and the Government Equalities Office in order to encourage women to take on the new digital technologies which are possible with superfast broadband, and is linked to Shropshire Council and Staffordshire County Council’s broadband delivery programmes, Connecting Shropshire and Superfast Staffordshire.

The WiRE Challenge conference takes place from 9.30am to 4.30pm on 31 March at Harper Adams Agricultural College. To book a place, please visit www.wirechallenge.org Limited spaces available.

Do you have a news story about your business? Would you like to raise your profile in the local media? Please call Extend PR and Marketing on 01785 851640 or email Rachel@extendpr.co.uk to find out how we can help with our PR starter packages. You’ll be surprised to find that PR can be much better value than advertising and leaflets, and often more effective.