Business in Wales, October/November 2009
From 20 members when it was formed three years ago, South Wales Ladies’ Business Club has grown to a membership of 550, making it one of the fastest-growing business groups in Wales.

It will stage its third annual charity ball in Cardiff in January, its annual Christmas lunch in December and launches a new website next month.

Founders – tax specialist Alison Hazledine, banker Rebecca Collins and lawyer Melanie Hamer – saw a gap in the market for a female networking club.

Ms Hamer, managing partner of Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice, Cardiff, said: “While everyone in the club is primarily involved because they are in business, we have not set out to put business issues as our main reason for meeting. Instead, we have tried to make it more of a social club often with a charity fundraiser thrown in.”

Ms Collins, Cardiff-based corporate manager with Handelsbanken, said business problems and opportunities were inevitably discussed.

“Ideas to tackle problems and opportunities are not put on our agendas, but they are an important part of the activities, particularly given the recent business climate”, she said.

Mrs Hazledine added: “Key to our success is that meetings are informal and allow members to build a network with like-minded women.”

The next meeting is a Girls’ Night In at Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice, Windsor Place, Cardiff, on October 7, featuring drinks, canapés and a beauty demonstration in aid of charity.