Who We Are

Evolution of WRENIn 1994, low-income women in rural northern New Hampshire had few opportunities to make a living aligned with their talents and aspirations. WREN’s founders changed this by designing and delivering a program that blended business development training and peer support. Eight months later, twelve WREN pioneers completed the program and were operating their own enterprises. All credited the support they gave and received as critical to their perseverance and success. Peer support became a key element in our work to build what we now identify as the ‘WREN Community.’

Today, WREN is a not for profit, women-led, membership organization of nearly a thousand women and men living primarily in New Hampshire, northern Vermont and eastern Maine. Members continue to look to WREN for a range of programs, resources and networking opportunities. Over the last two decades, we have assisted nearly 1900 business owners, offering emerging and established business owners a variety of entrepreneurial development classes. WREN has also created a number of markets for our members goods. Three hundred and fifty members sell their wares in products in our two retail stores and our seasonal Farmers Markets in Bethlehem and Gorham, NH. The Gallery at WREN, our region’s premier visual arts showcase, provides a market for dozens of artists annually. In 2016, we launched our Farm & Food Program to strengthen and connect nearly 100 members’ emerging and established operations.

In addition to all of the above, WREN has taken a leadership role in revitalizing Bethlehem’s Main Street and has served as a national model for rural economic and community development.

1994-2014 Then & Now