As we enter into the final hours of the voting for the RBS Inspiring Enterprise for the 5th round of grants, I took the opportunity, in my capacity as an Ambassador for Women In Business in Ulster Bank, to attend the launch of the Innovateher Mid Ulster programme, one of the winners of last years fund.
The Innovateher Mid Ulster Programme is a pre start enterprise programme for women living in the Mid Ulster Area and who have a business idea they want to take forward. The Programme, centers around a series of master classes, away days and mentoring to take participants on a journey to assess their business idea, develop a plan to help bring their ideas to life and to pitch their idea. By using guest speakers including existing female entrepreneurs, image consultants and funders the programme aims to give participants a real life glimpse at what it is like to run your own business
Budding and empowered female entrepreneurs
Having being short listed from over 70 applications, at the recent launch event, the fortunate 25 enthusiastic, budding and empowered female entrepreneurs and their mentors were graced with advice, hints and tips from 4 talented and successful women, each established in their own businesses.
Giving advice on how to get your business established and where to concentrate your efforts in the early stages of starting up, Jacqueline McGonigle of whatsonni.com explained how she found it more satisfying to focus her efforts on the customer and order books. This, and taking every opportunity to network, Jacqueline believes are the keystones to getting a business off the ground;
Mairead Ferris, local solicitor in Cookstown took the entrepreneurs back to “When is it the right time to take the plunge?” Mairead talked about how she never got that letter through the post box inviting her to take the plunge – it felt that “there was no right time; it was just time to do it”.
Not without sleepless nights
Roisin Ryan Egan from the franchise “The Creation Station” talked about the importance of “capitalising the group of women around you” and “sharing nuggets with each other that you have learnt along the way”. www.thecreationstation.co.uk/childrens-art-class-and-party-entertainer/mid-ulster
Colleen Lowry, owner of Blessingbourne Estate in the Clogher Valley area, was the final guest speaker of the day. Colleen described being in business as challenging, rewarding and exciting, and not without it sleepless nights! Colleen gave an invaluable insight into her business and imparted some sound advice “Keep an open mind and work with people, partner up and leverage off each others experiences and ensure to surround yourself with positive like minded people” www.blessingbourne.com
The morning was rounded off with the participants getting the opportunity for some 1-1 with the panellists and networking. It was safe to say, with the advice, guidance and opportunities that these 25 entrepreneurs are being given, the Innovateher programme are worthy winners of the RBS Inspiring Enterprise grant!
For more information on the fund visit www.inspiringenterprise.rbs.com