25 April 2014

Inspirational Women Boost Rural Economy

30/05/2012

‘Yes we’re worth it’ – that’s the theme of a seminar which will showcase inspirational women from all across Northern Ireland and will be held on June 7th.

Organised by the Rural Network NI the event will feature a range of businesswoman who have capitalized on their rural roots and are now successful entrepreneurs.

The seminar will have include contributions from speakers whose entrepreneurial spirit has been supported by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme as well as representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Queens University, Belfast.

A range of businesses run by women who have bucked current economic trends and carved out niche businesses will also exhibit at the event. These include:

Ciara Tiernan from Co. Down, who with her husband Derek, runs Willow Tree Timber Products which manufactures a hand-built range offering poultry houses, poultry starter children’s timber castles, children’s timber play boats;  Orla Hamilton from Moira, a former teacher, established Organic Celtic Soaps initially as gifts for friends and family but now has a permanent stall at St Georges Market  and orders have been requested by several shops in the UK;  Jacqueline McGonigle, runs WhatsonNI, from her home in Upperlands, Mid Ulster. The website provides a platform for event organisers in NI to promote their events free of charge, creating a searchable database of things to do and see across the region; Lady Hat Bag, established by Laura-Jayne McCrea and Rebecca Jackson, is a shop specialising in Designer Hats and Bags.  It is based on a farm outside Stewartstown, and offers a hats and handbags for hire service; Shauna McCarney has gown her Frozen organic baby food production company Heavenly Tasty Organics and has won several awards in the process; Gayle Hegarty established her business ‘Homecraft Revival’ offering one day courses in homecraft skills to anyone who wants to learn or relearn creative pastimes such as sewing machine skills, knitting or crochet. The business operates from the owner’s farmhouse, near Omagh, offering high quality, informal individual training.

Speaking ahead of the event, Teresa Canavan of the Rural Network said, “The idea for the seminar evolved naturally in that the Local Action Groups reported significant numbers of women applying to the Rural Development Programme for funding support to establish or develop businesses. We felt there was merit in bringing these women together both as a networking opportunity and a chance to inspire other women who may want to follow their path. This seminar will cater for a wide range of women, some who have already grasped opportunities in business or in social enterprises and others who have a real desire to do so.

She continued, “The Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme is a huge investment to the region and contributes to the many aspects of rural development from food and farming, the environment and countryside to improving the quality of life through measures focusing on rural tourism, business creation & development, services, heritage and village renewal. The funding offers a variety of support of rural development.  This seminar is designed to bring together women who have grasped opportunities to create sustainable jobs for themselves and others and make a real and tangible difference to themselves and the rural areas where they live and work".

The seminar will have include contributions from speakers whose entrepreneurial spirit has been supported by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme as well as representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Queens University, Belfast.

 


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