Local Enterprise Office Working to Power Female Entrepreneurship
Twelve West Cork business women who successfully completed a unique Women in Business programme funded and managed by the Local Enterprise Office Cork North & West are on their way to building stronger businesses for themselves while creating 10 new jobs between them in the next 12 months in West Cork.
The four month intensive programme which was aimed at women who have been in business for a minimum of one year allowed participants to explore the possibilities of their businesses while finding the right work/life balance for themselves. The Local Enterprise Office’s contracted agents for the programme delivery were Jackie Gowran and Sheila Anne O'Leary of Business IQ. Participants were provided with the tools they need to grow and develop their commercial businesses including market research, sales, social media, funding options, financial planning, book-keeping, website awareness and business development.
Among the unique elements of the course was the diversity of the businesses which ranged from agri food, professional services, fashion, retail, health and wellbeing, and the arts. Among the participants was Margaret Riordan, Bumblebee Flower Farm who said, "Before I attended the course I was a busy fool. I have learned so much thanks to the fantastic trainers and can now class myself as a successful business woman with a bright future. The most important lesson has been to have self belief and know my value in the business and my work."
Also speaking of the programme Barbara Hegarty, Heavens cakes said, "We have been in business for 20 years making artisan breads, French patisseries, and custom made cakes but this programme has shown me that there is always room to learn. From this programme I have gained knowledge and confidence and have developed a new network of like minded women from my colleagues on the programme”
Janet Power, Kinsale Dental also commented, " I have learned to apply rigorous thinking to business matters rather than reactive thinking as well as the necessity for a dedicated planned marketing strategy for the business. Being a business owner can be lonely but this programme has shown me the importance of delegation so I can be more productive at what only I can do in the business. This has not only changed the way I work but has also given my colleagues a fresh approach in their roles which ultimately leads to a happier workplace."
Speaking of the Women in Business Programme, Kevin Curran, Acting CEO, Local Enterprise Office said, “Over the past two years we have witnessed a noticeable rise in the number of female entrepreneurs seeking this type of training course. Some of the women have been in business with 12 months plus while others are in business with up to 20 years but wanted a new direction or change in their business. There are almost 70,000 self employed women in Ireland with these numbers growing so it is important to encourage females to not only survive but thrive in their business. As part of our ongoing commitment to women in business, we will continue to provide this training programme in West Cork.
Also speaking of the programme, trainers Jackie Gowran and Sheila Anne O’Leary Business IQ said, “We thoroughly enjoyed working with each of these enterprising women over the past four months. They all come from various backgrounds but had one common goal and that was to grow their commercial business in a way that works for them and their lifestyle. The calibre of the participants was extremely high and we certainly envision big things ahead for the graduates and look forward to working with them again in the future on other similar programmes."
The LEO is now looking at running their next Women in Business Programme in Kinsale, starting September/October. This is subject to demand and will suit a female owner of a
Small West Cork business, which is up and running with 12-24 months+. For enquiries call 023-8834700.