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news & events

This page features SBWN member news and events as well as useful information from government and not-for-profit sources. If you would like your business update to be featured here, email Please note this is available to members only - another reason to join the network.

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  • 14 Aug 2022 4:35 PM | Robyn (Administrator)


    A new program to empower rural women to learn digital skills has been launched by the Victorian Women’s Trust.

    Rural Women Online will provide training, support and mentoring to help women living in regional and rural Victoria fast track their connection to the digital world.

    Victorian Women’s Trust Executive Director, Mary Crooks said recent research shows rural women face significant barriers to online participation, including access, affordability and ability.

    “Things like a lack of NBN connection in regional areas can prevent rural women from getting started on their digital journey, but fear and shame can perpetuate the problem as women are often judged harshly for their perceived lack of technical abilities,” Ms Crooks said.

    “Our Rural Women Online project will help address ability-based barriers by providing opportunities for women in rural Victoria to build their digital skills in a safe, non-judgemental way.”

    Rural Women Online consists of three streams, a set of how-to-guides and learning opportunities, a women staffed tech help desk and one-on-one mentoring.

    The how-to guides, which can be found at, are a self-directed online crash course in tech knowledge, covering subjects from e-safety to how to use common software.

    For rural women that require real time assistance, the Rural Women Online help desk will field email and phone enquiries once a week and provide advice that empowers, not condescends.

    For 300 women, Rural Women Online will provide up to 30 hours of on-on-one advice and mentoring, with entry into the program considering a woman’s existing digital skills, hardship, remoteness and if they live in bushfire-affected areas.

    “In addition, we will be taking Rural Women Online on the road with a series of 12 in-person Open Days across regional Victoria, four of which will be conducted in areas impacted by the 2020 bushfires.

    “At these Open Days, women will have the opportunity to connect with other women, find assistance with tech questions, get online and try different computer equipment and software and apply for a mentorship.

    “Today, nearly every aspect of our lives is integrated into the digital world. From simple everyday tasks like paying a bill, to accessing critical services like telehealth appointments, to connecting with family members, digital literacy is essential.

    “This was never so clear as it was during the pandemic. While metropolitan areas adapted to the new normal with relative ease, in regional Victoria we saw instances of women sitting with their children in cars in fast-food parking lots just to access reliable internet service for home learning.

    “Victorian regional women are strong, capable and resourceful. Our program will build on that by ensuring rural women have positive, empowering opportunities to add digital literacy to their skill set.”

    Rural Women Online is a joint initiative of the Helen McPherson Smith Trust and the Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise Foundation, delivered by the Victorian Women’s Trust.


    Mary Crooks is available for interview, along with a number of regionally-based project representatives.

    Media contact: Alys Gagnon (Essential) 0438 379 977

  • 30 Aug 2020 3:58 PM | Dana

    Information from the President's Mailbox:

    Visitor Economy Grants - Sth Gippsland Shire Opens 1 September 2020

    Reignite Businesses In Bass Coast - Workshops and Support Groups Online

    Bass Coast Post 

    Work My Own Way - Link to Free Workshops

    Phillipsons Accounting Services Newsletter - information on financial support for business

    Sentinel Times - August 25 2020

  • 28 Aug 2020 3:34 PM | Dana

    Leah Mether - Soft is the New Hard: 11 Sept. at 1pm

    How to Communicate Effectively Under Pressure 

    Tickets available at

  • 02 Jun 2020 4:34 PM | Dana

    Business Support Survey

    The Economic Development and Tourism team at South Gippsland Shire Council have touched base with many businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim was to gain a better understanding of what impacts these challenging times have had on your business, we would appreciate if you could please complete the survey. This survey will provide valuable information on what impacts the restrictions have had on your business, what changes have been made and what further support or assistance is required. The survey should take 5 minutes to complete.

    Complete the survey

  • 02 Jun 2020 12:18 PM | Dana

    What better way to stay informed than browse a newsletter. Happy reading.

    South Gippsland Shire Newsletter - Getting Back To Business

    Bass Coast Shire - Business and Community Grants 

    Sentinel Times - Back in print on June 2

  • 08 Apr 2020 2:05 PM | Deleted user

    7pm to 9pm, April 8

    With everything rapidly moving online, business owners are having to think creatively about how they can keep their customers engaged. Blogs are one very effective way of staying connected to your customers and giving them extra value in these challenging times.

    Blogging is not only a great way to engage your audience, but it can also help boost your google rankings. But it's hard to know what makes a good blog and how to make your blog stand out against the crowd.

    Join blogging expert Eimear McNelis, owner of Red Dirt Road, for a webinar about how to write a blog like a pro. You'll learn:

    • How to begin a blog
    • How a blog can help client/customers find you.
    • How to plan and write topics for your blog
    • Finding talent to blog for you / Guest Blogging
    • Finding photos for your blog
    • SEO / Hastags/ Social Media - The flywheel of blogging
  • 08 Apr 2020 1:56 PM | Deleted user

    530pm to 730pm, April 15

    Many of us have recently found ourselves working from home and needing a productivity booster. Maintaining focus and avoiding distractions can prove a difficult task when working from our homes.

    Join Steph for a webinar about how to work productively at home. Steph will walk you through some of her favourite digital tools that can help you stay focused, and keep up the productivity, no matter where you are based from.

    RSVP to Digital Tools for Productivity at Home

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Southern Business Women's Network Inc.

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