EMPOWER WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAMME UP AND RUNNING IN THE WEST
Thirty four women have signed up and are taking part in the new EMPOWER Programme delivered in GMIT’s Innovation Hubs in Mayo and Galway since September.
Despite national recognition of female entrepreneurs, Ireland has a low number of women engaged in business startups. This EMPOWER programme aims to fast track female-led businesses by addressing specific challenges hindering their development. It is funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and the European Social Fund.
The EMPOWER programme has two components:
1. “EMPOWER Start” is designed to test innovative ideas for market acceptance. EMPOWER Start is for females with an early stage idea or in business less than one year. This FREE programme will be delivered part-time over 12 weeks by star-up experts. This allows participants to balance their family commitments while at the same time planning and developing their new business. The programme rotates between Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. Learning is classroom based. The opportunity is to test your idea for customer acceptance. There are currently 22 females on this Programme. This first 12 week Programme will come to an end of Wednesday 17th January where 5-7 of the females will pitch to a judging panel.
2. “EMPOWER Growth” is focused on women who are already in business (2 years +) and are now looking to scale and grow by providing support from peers, mentors and role models. The programme will be based on peer to peer learning. It will be delivered over 11 half days on Saturday, once a month. Guest Speakers will include Mayo born Louise Foody (director of Marketing and Kingspan), Charley Stoney (CEO of Alternatives.ie), Hannah Kiely (CEO of Galway 2020), Fidelma McGuirk (CEO of Payslip and ex CEO of Taxback.ie), Margaret Sweeney (Non Executive Director of Corporate Boards)m Mary Rodgers (Stateside Solutions) to name but a few. There are currently 12 females on this Programme
Over 200 people attending the launch of EMPOWER Explore earlier this year (Sept 2017), which was addressed by high profile speakers including Breege O Donoghue, former Director of Primark and Chair of the Design & Craft Council of Ireland, Evelyn O Toole, Complete Laboratory Solutions and Ernst & Young Industry Category Winner 2017, and Chanelle McCoy, Chanelle Medical and mentor/judge on Dragon’s Den.
Anne Walsh CEO of Allergy Lifestyle, Mary Carty Co-Founder Outbox Incubator and Hannah Kiely (CEO of Galway 2020) also shared their experiences of starting up a business and challenges they faced along the way. Sports commentator and broadcaster Tracy Piggott did MC for the evening. Ninety women subsequently applied for the programme and thirty four were selected.
Both programme components include specific mentoring and networking opportunities. The Local Enterprise Offices are also on board to support the Programme in the Region.
Maria Staunton, Programme Manager, is delighted with the response so far, saying: ‘I am delighted to see support in the region from both males and females for this programme. There are lots of female role models in the region and outside of the region happy to get involved in supporting and encouraging women entrepreneurs which is great to see. There has been an enormous response to it and hopefully this will continue in 2018. The next recruitment for the EMPOWER Programme will be summer 2018.”
For further information, contact: Maria Staunton, GMIT EMPOWER Programme Manager, GMIT Castlebar.