Hills & Coast Grant: Women In Business Network

Using funds from the Hills and Coast Business Grant, Carolyn was able to set up the online magazine, and automate membership and billing processes using the Memberpress system. Read her story.


Project snapshot


Adelaide Hills

Project contact

Steve Shotton
Regional Development Manager

Alignment with RDA strategy

  • Economic development

Grant Recipient Case Study – 2021 Funding Round

Carolyn Jeffrey, owner of CJ’s Business Solutions, established the Women in Business (WiB) Regional Network to support, train, promote and advocate for regional women in business across Australia.

From its inception in 2017, the WiB Network grew to include 10 physical chapters across regional South Australia. Hosting up to 95 events each year, both online and in person, women have been able to learn new skills, share their own knowledge and stories, and develop new opportunities in their region.

Creating a more sustainable model

Carolyn’s time had been split between her core business and building the Women in Business Network. As a sole trader herself, her aim was to generate additional revenue streams to make the network self-sustainable and reduce the time impact of ongoing administration and development.

The Hills & Coast Business Grant enabled Carolyn to create an online publication (WiBChat Magazine), automate processes, and add additional membership levels including the WiB Nook – a coaching and education platform with access to a range of relevant resources, including downloadable material, accountability sessions, mentoring and more.

Putting the Hills and Coast Business Grant into action

Using funds from the Hills and Coast Business Grant, Carolyn was able to set up the online magazine, and automate membership and billing processes using the Memberpress system. She was also able to set up the WiB Nook program with a fully automated self-learning course to allow members to progress in their own time at their own speed.

What has happened since receiving the grant

While the new systems and programs started strongly, COVID-19 adversely impacted the network towards the end of 2021 and early 2022.  Members became extremely busy in their businesses and unable to attend in-person events, several businesses folded due to the challenges, and the risk of infection also impacted attendee numbers.  Membership which reached over 300 across four states in 2021 declined dramatically from January 2022.

For these reasons the network is undergoing a reconfiguration from 1 July 2022 with the removal of the membership component. Physical events will still be held in the Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Southern Suburbs, but on an irregular basis. The WiB Nook program will continue to offer resources and group coaching and mentoring, with resources available to a wider audience, including men and women, and those outside of regional areas. 

The grant has helped to create the platform, and to test out options to ensure Carolyn can continue to deliver services to regional small businesses in our region, as well as continuing to support regional women across a wider area.

Feedback on the Hills & Coast grant process

Carolyn found the Hills & Coast Business Grant through the RDA Business Weekly newsletter that. Like many other applicants, she found the application process quite easy, but suggested an online application and submission process would have been even better – solid feedback we’ve taken on board.

Carolyn Jeffrey, WiB Network

“Make sure you have a good plan, with a clear vision that can easily transfer into an application. It’s also a great opportunity to stop and reflect on your business, and what your goals and points of difference are. Often you have limited time to put together a grant application, so it’s helpful to already have ideas for what you would want a grant for before you even see a suitable grant advertised.”