Ipswich: Women- get connected to WIRE if you start a business

Sue Hall with one of her Irish Wheaten Terrier puppies

Sue Hall with one of her Irish Wheaten Terrier puppies - Credit: Archant

Aiming to inspire more women to start businesses

Karen Hester, who has been appointed as an executive director at Adnams.

Karen Hester, who has been appointed as an executive director at Adnams. - Credit: Archant

Businesswoman Sue Hall has moved frequently with work over the years.

Now she has put down her roots firmly in Suffolk.

In seven years in Ipswich she has started and established a growing business, started a branch of WIRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) in the town and become involved in other important community work, including Crimestoppers.

She said: “I was in London before.

“It is hard to believe I have only been here seven years,” she said, “I have made so many friends and business contacts.

“I always wanted to have my own business, but I wasn’t sure what it would be.

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“Some women have a hobby or talent they can turn into a business; maybe making cakes or a craft.

“But I knew I could run run businesses for other people so there was no reason I couldn’t have one myself.

“I thought, `why not run my own.’”

“I decided to buy a domestic cleaning franchise, five years ago this November, now I am buying my third franchise.

“We cover 17 postcodes, from East Suffolk to Essex and Herfordshire, including most of Suffolk except Newmarket.

“I have sort of adopted Suffolk.”

Gradually she has built up a network of contacts and friends, many of them women.

“I met Lynn Turner (of Cake and Catwalk) at a Menta training course and I discovered WIRE and I attended a group at Bury St Edmunds at firs.

“So I started a group in Ipswich.

“We meet monthly at Blackfriars coffee shop (Fore Street), in the evening, rather than breakfast meetings.

“Some women can’t make breakfast meetings, especially if they have a school run commitment.”

The Ipswich group has grown gradually.

Starting any new venutre can be a daunting, scary even.

She said:“We are a not-for-profit organisation, We have some fundraising at our meetings and usually manage to raise £500 for charity each year.”

They had inspirational guest speakers, she said, and businesswomen were able to share their experiences, and to offer advice.

“We are trying to provide a supportive atmosphere for women who might struggle in traditional business circles.

“We have our meetings in the evenings so they can have a glass of wine too, if they like. At WIRE we try to help each other.

“In Suffolk so many people know each other, especially in business, People talk about six degrees of separation. It is less than that here!

“A cleaner might go to meet a new client, and then say to me, they already know the same people,”

Membership of WiRE is only £50 a year, she said.

They often have inspiration speakers visiting.

Their speaker at their next meeting is Karen Hester operations director of brewers Adnams.

Sue added: “I was asked to be a speaker at an International Women’s Day event at Trinity Park, which was amazing.

“I was on the same stage, as one of six speakers, with Karen Hester. I said I would love you to come and talk to my club.”

Domestic cleaning is a growing business.

Sue explained: “People are time poor these days and they don’t want to spend time cleaning.

“If both partners work, cleaning has still got to be done, and nobody enjoys doing it.”.Launching here own business had also allowed to achieve another ambition.

“I have always wanted a dog. After 10 months of running my own business I knew I could do it. Now I have three Irish Wehaten terriers, a recently had a litter of nine pups too. That is really hard work.”

To find out more about WIRE go to www.wireuk.org and seach for South Suffolk.

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