Twenty two women have completed the first part of the EMPOWER START Programme. The final session took place with a pitching event from six of the participants on the Programme at the GMIT Mayo Campus last Wednesday 17th January 2018.
The EMPOWER Programme is run by the GMIT Innovation Hubs and aims to fast track female-led businesses based in the West by addressing specific challenges hindering their development. EMPOWER is funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and the European Social Fund. It has two parts; EMPOWER START for early stage ideas or businesses less than a year old, and EMPOWER GROWTH for females in Business for two years or more. EMPOWER START takes place one day a week over 12 weeks, and EMPOWER GROWTH takes place one Saturday a month over a year.
EMPOWER START is designed to test innovative ideas for market acceptance. This FREE programme is delivered part-time by start-up experts. This allows participants to balance their family commitments while at the same time planning and developing their new business. The classroom based programme rotates between Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.
The first EMPOWER START group finished with all 22 women selected across the region in October 2017 completing the Programme. At Wednesday’s final event in GMIT six women chosen from the 22 pitched their businesses ‘Dragon’s Den’ style to a panel of judges: James Allen (Google), Sorcha O’Grady (Truckscience), and Diane Nevin (Galway Business School). The six finalists included Aveline O’Sullivan (Bloom in a Box), Elaine Kennedy (Hawthorn Handmade Skincare), Mary Finn (Connect4work), Michelle Malone (thatssoshellyfitness), Anna Costello (Kidscare), and Mary O’Neill (Noo Chocolates). Michelle Malone emerged as the winner, with Aveline O’Sullivan as the runner up.
Maria Staunton, EMPOWER Programme Manager, was delighted with the businesses that took part in the first EMPOWER START Programme: “These entrepreneurs have great potential. I, along with other State Agencies in the region, look forward to working with them to progress their businesses. The EMPOWER competition helps new entrepreneurs to develop their pitch and confidence. I thank the Department of Justice and Equality and the ESF for their support, and also the Local Enterprise Offices and other agencies such as WestBIC. The enormous response to the EMPOWER Programme highlights huge demand: over 90 women applied for the EMPOWER START and GROWTH Programmes.”
The next EMPOWER START will be September 2018, applications will open in the Summer of 2018. Anyone interested should contact the EMPOWER office by phone (094)904 3198, or check out www.fb.ie/empowerher.ie or www.Empowerher.ie
‘This project is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020’