Lancashire networking group starts franchising

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A Lancashire businesswoman’s networking organisation is celebrating its third anniversary by franchising the model.

Unique Ladies is aimed at businesswomen only and already has groups in Preston, Manchester city centre, Bolton and Liverpool.

It was started by Suzy Orr, who runs the Chorley-based Windoworld company with husband Ronnie.

Suzy became disillusioned with available networking organisations.

She wanted a group which did not involve membership fees but provided inspirational women speakers and genuine networking opportunities.

She initially launched the monthly meetings at Lancashire Manor Hotel in East Pimbo, near Wigan, before adding more meetings by demand.

Now, she is franchising her organisation as part of planned expansion.

“I realised I was spreading myself very thinly throughout the groups,” she explained, “and I wanted to both ensure the future and quality of Unique Ladies’ meetings.

“Franchising seemed the best way forward and I’ve already managed to recruit two women who have not only been regular attenders but are also successful businesswomen who really understand networking. I will still be in the background to support them and the members but will now be better able to press forward with my plans.”

Melanie Tonge will be taking over the Preston group, which meets alternately at the Guild Lounge at Preston North End FC and Society 1 in central Preston.

Her first meeting will be on Thursday, January 18.

Melanie said: “I’m proud to now be a part of Unique Ladies and look forward to building this group to include more women from Preston and the surrounding areas.”

From next month the Manchester group will be run by Sarah Hulme with her first meeting on Friday, February 2.