About Us

We are a network of business and professional women from across the Tees Valley. As a community organisation that is ran 100% by volunteers, we have our Tees Valley women in mind with everything we do.

  • We deliver a wide range of affordable events that are topical, timely and mostly ran by our local women. 
  • We have social get togethers including book club, podcast club and our annual Christmas party.
  • We have group mentoring, working in a small group with other business women, working collectively on a business challenge you each bring to the table.
  • We have a framework to trade together, share skills and experiences, collaborate and support each other.

Founded in 2009, by Ann Stonehouse, Judith Middleton and Jacqui Cliffe, three women in business, Assist was set up at a time when there was a rise of business owners and professional women in the workplace, we could see the need to help women network.

It was quickly recognised that women network in a different way with opennesshonesty and on a very personal level rather than turning up to an event to give out business cards to as many people as possible. We embraced and encouraged this then and still do now, as we believe women build their connections in to relationships, that often lead to friendships, support groups and collaboration. 

Assist has been lead by one of the co-founders throughout, with Ann Stonehouse as Chair, Ann is still full of ideas that will take this network well in to the future as a way to support women at any stage of their business or career path.  

"Together we can stand shoulder to shoulder, helping ourselves and each other, to build better and stronger businesses in a supportive environment"

A strong network of like-minded women.

How we have evolved

Assist has certainly evolved over the years with changes on society, attitudes and technology, we have always embraced new ideas and not risk adverse to trying new things and launching in to relevant and timely projects. 

We constantly ask, listen and adapt. Established almost as a traditional network, we are very much aware of the world we live in and put much effort on to the encouragement and enhancement of Tees Valley women of all ages. We want our corner of the globe to be a better place for all, this includes the generations-that follow us.


  • enables business and professional women of the Tees Valley to share and increase their knowledge, skills and experience
  • exerts influence in a professional manner in business circles and thereby to promote the advancement of women
  • encourages individuals advancement in to leadership and entrepreneurial roles
  • provides a diverse network for discussion and development which is apolitical and non-denomational
  • builds awareness of business innovations that accelerate women’s empowerment and have a real impact on women, families and communities
  • fosters the advancement of young women (16+) to make positive life choices and to maximise their authentic potential
  • encourages mentoring opportunities 
  • represents the views of Assist individuals where possible in developing local, regional and national policies 

Campaigns and projects

We run many campaigns and projects with focus and when we see a particular need.  

Take a look at the blogs that share more on AssistHER an eight-week program created as a result of requests for more support as a result of the ‘Impact of Covid’. This was delivered with the help of Middlesbrough Council’s funding.  

We also have ran #AwardWinningWomen with a clear focus to encourage and support women to go for local awards, we created an army behind the scenes nominating and supporting nominations of Assist Women with much success. 

Our Vision

To support Tees Valley women to achieve their full potential, to encourage, enable, facilitate and make visible their active involvement in business and professional life as they continue to develop, learn new skills and gain experience as they connect with like-minded people.

Our Key Strategies to support our vision

Delivering relevant and timely, free or reasonably priced learning in

  1. Business and personal development
  2. Social and tech skills that keep us up to date, being seen and on trend on the relevant platforms
  3. Settings facilitated through group coaching and mentoring #WomenSupportWomen

Hold tailored, relevant and timely inclusive networking stakeholder meetings that deliver

  1. An informal, inclusive and welcoming space for all women as we take steps to reach out to all business communities, the next generation of start-ups and those that are keen to rebuild towards a fairer economic environment in the Tees Valley. 
  2. An opportunity to debate and discuss topical issues to recognise both diversity and similar viewpoints are valued
  3. A chance to build confidence in a safe environment as we spotlight women as they share their products and services

Celebrate success with

  1. The Assist Goodwill Ambassador programme and #sisterwood
  2. Inspiration and motivational events, news, blogs, vlogs, and social media posts by women for women
  3. The delivery of projects that raise the profiles of women through achievement portfolios, media opportunities and our visibility strategy

Let's be VISIBLE

As we celebrate the achievements and work with our regional #AwardWinningWomen, Assist recognises that Tees Valley is full of unrecognised current and past female talent.  We, at Assist enthusiastically take the time to spotlight, support and encourage these brave women to showcase, talk about… no shout and brag about their accomplishments. We want you to Be Visible, Be Proud, Be a Role Model, Be Recognised. #VisibleWomen

The Forgotten

For Tees Valley women, surviving and growing in business during ‘normal’ times in the business world is tough, in the current climate tougher and only the movers and shakers are likely to come through the other side with a business model that has rigorously been developed to survive.

Tees Valley itself is historically renowned for being tough nosed, rugged and stoic with a reputation for survival and all this is true. Tees Valley women have fallen foul of this reputation and successes often gone un noticed without a voice.

Yet Tees Valley has many amazingly successful ladies, and some are famous, some forgotten. We are more than a business network, and the development of our #sisterwood is a perfect example of this.

Assist is proud to provide the platform, the voice and the support, so we can celebrate the achievements of women of the Tees Valley.