FEMALE entrepreneurs across the North-East have been given help to make their businesses thrive. Chartered accountant Julie Allan has started the Inspire Network, designed to give assistance to women in the region.

Ms Allan, a mother-of-three, has more than 15 years experience in accountancy, and holds monthly meetings.

She said: “The meetings are a great form of support and advice for women who run their own businesses or who are thinking of setting up on their own, and the feedback has been pleasing.

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“They are very different from the traditional business networking events that women may find intimidating or off putting. “They are informal, free, and children are always welcome, with businesses of all sizes represented.”

The next meeting takes place on Thursday, March 14, in The Aston Hotel, in Newton Aycliffe, from 10am until noon.