A new business coaching and networking group was launched at The Fraternity Club in Fairy Meadow last week.
Ruth Thirtle is the facilitator of the Wollongong North Hive, which is Wollongong's second business Hive.
It will host monthly meetings at the Frat to help business owners grow their business through networking, coaching and helping each other, starting April 3. Members buy their own breakfast and pay a monthly subscription.
"The Hive is an organisation with a passion to help people grow their businesses," Mrs Thirtle said.
"We offer really practical business coaching. There is also networking. Down the track there is also additional sales and marketing training and resources."
Mrs Thirtle said the reason she got involved was her own passion for helping small businesses to succeed.
"Way too many businesses are not doing as well as they could or should be doing and I have a true passion to be able to help them turn that around," she said.
Mrs Thirtle also spoke about the importance of networking, saying more than 95 per cent of her own business was generated by such activity.
"I truly believe a strong network is vital to you and your success and also your sanity in business," she said.
"So the chance to combine coaching with networking ... was something I looked at and was an absolute no-brainer for me."
The Hive is the brainchild of Bernie Dymet of Wollongong, who spent 20 years as an international business consultant.
Mr Dymet said four of the Hive's first 15 chapters were in the Illawarra.
The others are in Kiama, Gerringong and Wollongong.
"We have been running for three years and I have prepared 36 monthly coaching sessions and we are now ramping it up," he said.
"I just have a passion for helping small to medium-sized businesses because they are doing it tough. These business owners are often very lonely, they are working longer than their employees and they have got nobody to talk to."