by Aiken PR
Marking 21 years of supporting women in business and the workplace, the announcement of the WiB Group at the annual Chair’s Lunch was celebrated today with over 470 business leaders at a special event in Titanic Belfast.
From a starting point of 40 members in 2002, Women in Business has now grown into the WiB Group which is committed to creating a prosperous, inclusive economy for Northern Ireland aligned to the Department’s economic vision and strategy for growth.
Incorporating the four social enterprises, Women in Business, Diversity Mark, Timely Careers and the Centre of Learning, the WiB Group engages with a community of over 250,000 people across Northern Ireland and beyond through networking, accreditation, training and employment.
At the Chair’s Lunch, keynote speaker, United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Jane Hartley, reflected on her own business journey highlighting the need for more financing for female entrepreneurs and the importance of workforce training. Addressing the 470 attendees she said: “I’m very proud of the work that the WiB Group is doing. Skills and training are something I care deeply about and not just for women but the whole population. It is clear that The WiB Group is determined to make a difference and in Northern Ireland, despite all the challenges of the moment, history has taught us that amazing things can happen when people speak out and use their voices.”
Speaking at the lunch Michelle O’Neill, Vice President Sinn Fein said, “This event is a marker of how far we have come as a society, an indication of the enormous progress that the WiB Group has made in promoting and supporting women. As a woman in politics, I want to work in partnership with you, as women in business, to deliver a more inclusive and prosperous society and economy.”
The event sponsored by Allstate, Queen’s University Belfast and the Department for the Economy, saw leaders and business owners from across a variety of sectors celebrate and support the past and future work of WiB Group as well as exchanging ideas and exploring new opportunities.
Commenting Nichola Robinson Chair of the WiB Group said, “The WiB Group stands on the shoulders of a legacy spanning 21 years. From those first roundtable meetings involving a small group of women wanting to challenge the status quo, all the way to the present day where the WiB Group now reaches and inspires a community of 250,00 people, hosting 120 events and programmes per year, accrediting 175+ companies committed to EDI progress, and supporting and motivating over 36,000 women in their career journeys.
“Through Women in Business, Diversity Mark, Timely Careers and the Centre of Learning, the WiB Group is living proof that in unity there is power. Affecting meaningful change, whether by elevating entrepreneurship onto an all–island scale, pioneering the gender charter, delivering skills or breaking new ground in flexible careers, must be our mantra every day.”
Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive of the WiB Group and a member of the founding committee of Women in Business, added: “This October marks a special milestone for Women in Business as together we envision an even better future for Northern Ireland. We grew from a network of 40 women members, to a group of social enterprises united in our commitment to creating an inclusive prosperous economy for all society. We will continue to unlock new opportunities, advance diversity and inclusion, and upskill the talent pool here on our doorstep as we collectively look ahead to an even better 21 years.”