Cottage Grove, Here to Help

South Lane Women’s Network: Strength in numbers

South Lane Women’s Network Image provided

COTTAGE GROVE – One charm about living in a small, close-knit community is that life comes at a slower pace, on a more manageable scale.
That is all well and good if you have found your piece in the puzzle. If you are trying to carve out a new direction or livelihood for yourself, a smaller community can mean fewer opportunities to develop a business venture.
Almost two years ago come February, a local group of women entrepreneurs came into being. Skye Hefner and Kristine Sweezy created South Lane Women’s Network (SLWN) to help women in our community network and support each other with their businesses.
Hefner said that, while there were women’s business networking groups in Springfield and Eugene, with membership fees, there were none for Cottage Grove and Creswell.
SLWN hosts cost-free monthly meetings to share success stories and information. The group meets at a woman-owned business or at one of the member’s homes. If it is at a restaurant, members will forgo their potluck; otherwise folks bring snacks and food items to share.
Another feature of the group is to provide a safe and supportive space for members to facilitate the rollout of a business venture. If you are transitioning from an idea or a home business it is a courageous step to go public. Getting encouragement and tips from folks who have made this move are clutch in moving your business forward.
Networking is the foundation of SLWN. Everyone gets time to share their visions, ideas and business model. Some are home businesses, others have stores in town, some are part of nonprofits seeking connections. In addition, they have a raffle at each meeting in which businesses contribute sample products or services.
SLWN also hosts vendor events. Often connected with a fundraising goal, these events allow members to come together at a local venue to showcase their products or services, share in publicity, make sales and raise money for a good cause.
SLWN helped raise money for the Swinging Bridge restoration at one of its past events, and more recently for the local VFW Christmas Bazaar.
There will be a SLWN vendor event at the Springfield Moose Lodge on April 18 to benefit the Military Order of the Cootie Auxiliary. This auxiliary has been connected to the VFW since 1923. Named after the lice which infected the trench fighters of WWI, this organization today helps veterans confined to their homes, hospitals and nursing homes and offers support to the VFW National Home for Children.
To find out more about SLWN or to join, visit their Facebook page, which is updated with events and meetings. Supporting SLWN is a way to keep the economy local and help community members support themselves by doing what they love most.
Shop local, buy local – and don’t forget to bring your own shopping bag!



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