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21 July 2023

5 things that made the 2023 WEN Retreat better than ever

Returning for 2023, the Women Entrepreneurs Retreat saw over 60 women coming together to explore all aspects of building a venture.

WEN Retreat attendees

The Women Entrepreneurs Retreat is an annual event hosted by the Women Entrepreneurs Network (WEN), designed to help venture-oriented women from the King's community increase their entrepreneurial skills and take their ideas further.

This year, over 60 women from a variety of subject areas and roles in the King's community came together to experience a jam-packed 3 days exploring all aspects of building a venture. As a group, we explored everything from sustainable disruption to accessible tech, practical IP to legal Q&As, marketing & branding, to perfecting our pitches.

WENRetreat2023 was a great weekend filled with entrepreneurial spirit and learning, but what were the top five things that made our 2023 Retreat the best one yet?

Keep reading to find out...

1. The 60+ women who attended 

It goes without saying - the people who attend the event, make the event what it is.

Every single attendee at the 2023 Retreat not only gave up their weekend to come together and focus on their venture, but also made valuable contributions to the event by supporting each other and sharing their own experiences and expertise.

We brought together a group of women who were eager to engage and who came to each session with clear motivation and excitement. Bringing together a mix of King's students, staff and alumni is a rare occurrence but this offered a unique chance for people from all stages of entrepreneurship to learn from each other.  

2. Collaborating with UK universities (for the first time!)

This year we did something different. We opened up our 2023 Retreat, giving access to other UK university colleagues and their communities.

Having never invited anyone outside of the King's community before, we weren't sure what to expect... but collaborating with new colleagues from across the UK allowed us to make wider connections, explore new insights and empower even more women. 

We were very lucky to be joined by:

We're looking forward to collaborating again soon, and continuing to grow our connections.

If you're interested in collaborating at future WEN Retreats or on other projects with our Women Entrepreneurs Network, please get in touch with the mastermind behind everything WEN - Jessica Horwill.

The Retreat was amazing... I had never before participated in such great sessions on marketing, tech, legal and sustainability! There was a great mix of theory and practice and the women were all amazing entrepreneurs about to change the world! Thank you again for such a wonderful opportunity!"

University of Oxford Alumni

2. Actionable learning from experts

Each year, we invite incredible experts from our community to share their wisdom with our attendees. This year was no different!

Our packed agenda included:

Each session was interactive and value-focused to ensure each attendee went home with multiple action plans and resources to leave the weekend with continued business momentum. Activities are focused on outcomes - including creating a website, idea validation or producing a marketing plan, working on real-life examples taken from the people sat right there at the same table.

Alongside our experts, attendees were also offered learnings via women entrepreneurs currently on our King's20 Accelerator. This year, we were joined by Danielle from RecycleLab, Treesje and Naomi from ANA, and Felicia from Tigersprung. They were able to share top tips and advice, having once been in the shoes of those attending the Retreat. 

4. Programme shaped by feedback

You asked, and we delivered...

Throughout the year we collect insights from our 1000+ WEN community, and before we kicked off the 2023 Retreat we asked our attendees to tell us about their venture and what they were hoping to get out of the weekend - aiming to answer the question; what do women founders really want to know?

In turn, we were able to tailor our programme and sessions to ensure the weekend was as valuable as possible. Our facilitators are briefed accordingly and are able to adapt their sessions to exactly who they know will be in the room.

This means that every year the WEN Retreat can be completely different as we shape each programme based on those who attend. Hence, everyone is welcome to come back each year to learn more from a completely new programme!

5. Safe, vulnerable place to ask questions and share knowledge

Within our WEN community, it's important to us that everyone feels safe and comfortable to voice their thoughts, ideas, worries and concerns. There truly is no such thing as a "silly" question. 

At the 2023 Retreat, attendees were encouraged to share their ideas openly in group discussions, ask questions to our facilitators and give feedback to each other.

To continue this safe space and sense of community beyond the Retreat, we have an online accountability space to allow attendees to continue asking questions, sharing knowledge, and put their professional profiles on each other’s radar. The online group has a community of attendees from all our Retreats since the first one in 2019 - so it's also a space to make even more connections!

It was such a pleasure to bring together a group of passionate and energetic women for the Retreat. Each year we provide the tools for women to scale their business, and each year something new and interesting is created with those tools. I can't wait to see the fantastic world-changing ventures that come out of this weekend and the impact they'll make..."

Jessica Horwill, Strategic Projects Manager (and WEN mastermind)

What next?

🚨 Are you a woman entrepreneur at King's? Sign up for updates and join our 1000+ Women Entrepreneurs Network to connect with likeminded change-makers and find out about similar events. 

🚨 Are you interested in WEN and the Retreat but not a member of the King's community? Collaborate with us in the future by reaching out to Jess

🚨 Do you have an idea that you want to take further? Keep an eye out for Idea Factory and King's20 applications.