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Women in business at an ‘all-time high' – LEO

April 2nd, 2017 7:15 AM

By Southern Star Team

At the completion of the most recent Women in Business programme were, from left: Billy O'Connor, Veronica Murphy, Ruth Fortune, Kevin Curran, Eileen Lee, Sarah O'Brien, Carol O'Brien, Geraldine Dwyer, Christine Heffernan, and Brenda Down.

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A TOTAL of 11 West Cork businesswomen successfully launched their new and invigorated businesses in Kinsale recently, when they completed the Women in Business programme.

The programme is funded and managed by the Cork North & West Local Enterprise Office. The women all come from a diverse range of business sectors in West Cork including craft, giftware, food and local professional services, and they expect to create more than 12 new jobs between them in the next 12 months, rising to 20 jobs by 2019.

The intensive programme, which began last November, was aimed at women who have been in business for a minimum of one year and those employing up to 10 staff.  

The Local Enterprise Office’s contracted agents for the programme delivery were Veronica Murphy and Billy O’Connor of The Discovery Partnership Ltd. 

Participants were provided with the tools they need to grow and develop their commercial businesses including strategy, finance, raising money, marketing, sales, public relations, social media, pitching, and the business plans.

Geraldine Dwyer of Haven Shellfish in Oysterhaven, said that after 30 years in business she felt she was missing out on opportunities. ‘Although I wasn’t fully sure what they were then, this course has been a huge eye-opener. In the past I would have told myself that I didn’t have the time to give to up-skilling, but with the support of the programme, I now find that I can work more effectively and give myself the time needed to focus on building my business. I am no longer just working in my business, I am working on it and building it for the future, a future I believe is now very bright. We have a new product which will be launched in early summertime.’

Ruth Fortune of  Ruth Fortune Flowers in Glandore runs a small flower farm and florist. ‘I have learned so much, and can now confidently say that I have a business with real potential. Being a business owner can be a solitary task, but this programme has given me the ability to prioritise my time so I can be more productive, while also uncovering plenty of opportunities to take advantage of, in the future.’

Kevin Curran, head of enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Cork North and West said: ‘This is our second such programme in West Cork and we hope to continue running it in other West Cork towns. Each of these 11 women have very much engaged in the programme and focused on the development of their businesses, over the past four months. They have looked at ways of growing and diversifying their businesses which will in turn make them more competitive and will allow them to grow and create employment.’

Female entrepreneurship is at an all time high in West Cork, he said. ‘On this programme, we have seen women in business with 30 years and also those in business with 12 months. However, they all have one thing in common – the will to succeed.’

There are 70,000 women self-employed in Ireland and the numbers are growing. In 2015 and 2016, the LEO Cork North & West trained 1,255 women in business in varying courses, including Start Your Own Business programmes.

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