At iwant2network we have never lacked for ambition, and have long had hopes of expanding internationally – creating a truly global network of events, so that if you move or even just go on holiday you can find the networking group that is right for you.

That’s why we were overjoyed to sign up Costa Women, a fantastic initiative created by Ali Meehan in 2010 and that now, less than a decade later is an award-winning group that boasts over 6000 members, including 62 different nationalities, across Spain. The aim of the group is to connect, inspire, enable and support women and having spoken to founder Ali, she clearly embodies that ethos. With a phenomenal level of passion and enthusiasm, Ali offered us a more in-depth view into the networking event and what has made it such a fantastic success.

Meehan created Costa Women when she moved back to Spain, having rather struggled to make friends during her first stint between 2002 and 2004. However, with the creation of Facebook and social media there were far more options available and so Meehan set about creating a social and networking group, originally aimed only at women in the Costa del Sol who wanted an opportunity to meet fellow Foreigners. However, it would seem Meehan wasn’t alone in feeling a little isolated because soon the site exploded, quickly reaching far beyond the remits of Costa del Sol.

Now, it covers 23 different locations across Spain and the islands and includes both networking events based primarily around business as well as social events which can range from opportunities as diverse as book clubs to yoga classes. Overall, this sees around 40 events a week take place – not too shabby.

There is also a classifieds page, with a paid and non-paid option that allows women to advertise job vacancies, houses for rent and a whole range of other items that may well be of interest to members.

Meehan attributes her success to the fact there really is nothing like it in Spain. Completely free, it provides women with a space where they can forge genuine connections whilst they attempt to navigate Spanish life. For those that want it, there is also a paid option, for a mere 129 euros a year (plus IVA), that allows members to access the classified section and also provides training that can help them grow their business. It also provides a unique source of networking, as much of Spanish business is still based on the traditional route of communities and families and really it is the expats introducing that more formal networking concept, with Costa Women helping to forge the way. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also over 23 local Facebook pages, allowing women to connect with other women in their local area.

Having won The Telegraph’s “best of British Social club,” there seems to be no stopping Meehan and her Costa Women – with their latest venture being a book written by Costa member and entitled “Spain and me,” which includes tips about living in Spain.

When not busy running Costa Women, Meehan also co-owns a social media marketing agency with her husband. And if you would like some more information or to sign up feel free to check out their fantastic website or drop Ali an email on ali@costawomen.com