The Rural Women’s Network

ACT supported the development of the Rural Women’s Network (RWN) from 2001 to 2006. The network was established to help women in Cumbria realise their full potential through business support and the development of personal and workplace skills. Network groups set up across the County to provide local support to women considering, developing and excelling in their business ventures.

The Network Groups continue to meet and offer opportunities to a diverse and varied membership. ACT continues to service the Rural Women’s Network website where you can access information on current network activities. The Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is providing women entrepreneurs with a full range of support and the Cumbria Growth Hub also has a package of support available for women.

How did the Rural Women’s Network work?

The Rural Women’s Network enables women to gain confidence in their ability to create a business, learn new skills, work with like-minded women and improve their prospects for finding work. It has helped women in Cumbria by providing a wide range of services. These include:

  • Inspirational and motivational tools such as workshops, case-studies and networking opportunities
  • Personal development training (confidence building, negotiating, time management etc)
  • One to one business advice in the client’s own home for as long as it is wanted.
  • Practical and interactive business start up and ICT training courses with take-away materials and a follow up service
  • Network groups (both geographical and sectoral, and higher level networking events (regional, national and transnational) with inspirational speakers)
  • Signposting to other private, public and voluntary sector organisations
  • Locally based support with a focus on individual needs

What has the Rural Women’s Network achieved?

  • Over the last few years, the Rural Women’s Network has had a significant impact on the entrepreneurial women and economy of Cumbria. Some of its achievements are:
  • Over 2,800 members
  • Over 800 women benefited from training and/or training bursaries.
  • Over 1200 women taking part in networking opportunities.
  • Over 400 women have received/are receiving one to one business advice
  • 158 new businesses started
  • The average business turnover for businesses started by the RWN in their first year is £22,000, with approximately 50 businesses started each year. This contributes an additional £1,100,000 to the Cumbrian economy each year.
  • The average number of jobs provided by businesses started by the RWN is 1.5 per business, contributing an additional 75 jobs to the Cumbrian economy each year
Logo: Rural Womens Network