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Somerset Ladies in Business (SLiB) was founded by Kim Philpots and Fiona Marlow back in 2016 when they realised how isolating business and professional life can be when you are self-employed. Over the last few years the group has grown in strength and definitely in numbers. The first meeting held had 12 business women attend, and now it is common to have a room full of women attending each month and over 200 ladies 'on our books'.

The networking group is for Somerset entrepreneurs and business women who work in a large variety of business vocational areas. It is a relaxed and friendly group who believe in getting to know each other, vital in order to be able to recommend other’s businesses in good faith. During the meetings the atmosphere is often charge with motivational positivity, plus a decent helping of laughter and fun.

SLiB have a professional guest speaker at every meeting, delivering information on the most vital aspects of business to help facilitate the learning and improving of all their skills. A valuable aspect of each group is the sharing of knowledge and experience from one another, to help build friendships and business relationships through an informal networking setting.

Somerset Ladies in Business has been such an enjoyable success and it continues to grow each month. They are some rather exciting goals planned and Fiona and Kim are excited for what 2019 will hold, not just for the business itself but all its lovely ladies.

Kim – I have spent the last 12 years working in the Apprenticeship Industry within the Business Skills sector. At 16 I was a Business Administration Apprentice in a local nursing home. During my time there I progressed from a Receptionist into a Management role. In 2006, whilst completing my Business & Administration Level 3 qualification, I was headhunted to join the Business Skills Team as an Assessor at Somerset Skills and Learning. I moved to Richard Huish College in 2016 as an Apprenticeship Recruitment Adviser, however I realised that Assessing was indeed the career route for me, so in October 2017 I joined the Business Skills Assessing Team. By being an Apprentice myself I soon discovered the amazing opportunities which learning can provide, since then I have completed more qualifications which have enabled me to develop my career. Working in the business sector for the last 20 years it has enabled me to develop a wealth of knowledge in skills. Being an Assessor I have worked alongside 100's of different employers, which has enabled me to broaden my knowledge further. All of these skills have since been utilised to confound Somerset Ladies in Business with Fiona.

Fiona - From 2012 to 2017 I ran my business called Just Simply Sumptuous, where I specialised in making bespoke soft furnishings for people who wanted original design in beautiful fabrics. Previously to this I worked for 10 years teaching and assessing within the Business Skills Apprenticeship Industry and before then an 11 year career in Hospitality Management. In 2017 I decided to return to Business Skills Apprenticeships to teach and to assess Business Skills and Management at Richard Huish College. In 2018 I moved to the Somerset Business Agency as a Business Adviser, and in Sept 2019 I started as a Digital Trainer with Cosmic, Honiton. My passion is helping and enabling people to start and grow their own businesses. Over the last few years I have learnt many new skills relating to developing and organising a business, in addition to the knowledge I gained from working within the Hospitality and Apprenticeship sector. Consequently, I passionately believe in continuous development and hope that we encourage this in others by facilitating learning within our networking group.