The second round of participants in the EMPOWER programme for female entrepreneurs at GMIT recently emerged from a Dragon’s Den style roasting where the presented their business ideas.
Fifteen women pitched their business to a panel of judges comprising Gillian Buckley (WDC), Diane Nevin (Galway Business School) and Tony O Kelly (New Frontiers at GMIT)
Up for grabs were funds from the WDC along with enterprise space in iHubs or Roscommon County Council Building and membership to Network Mayo, Roscommon or Galway.
Cepta Mahon, founder of ‘Cookalicious’, emerged the winner with runners-up including Olga Klofac, Fairy Specs, Asumpta Gallagher, Best-Practice, Caitriona Fahey, O/T Coach, Lou Brennan, Lou Brennan Design, and Anita Patil.
Cookalicious is all about delivering a bespoke cookery class that comes right to your kitchen, so you can learn in a place where you’re comfortable.
Gillian Buckley, Investment Manager with the Western Development Commission chaired the panel of judges in the ‘Den’.
He said that the calibre of ideas and entrepreneurs which came before the judges was extremely high.
Gillian also praised the initiative of creating a bespoke course to encourage female entrepreneurs in the region.
Maria Staunton, who manages the EMPOWER programme said, “This year we had over 80 ladies applying to the EMPOWER Programme.
“These ladies who pitched today all have a very bright future ahead of them. They all had to carry out extensive market research during the programme testing the viability of their idea.”
Over the course of the programme each of the entrants also had to develop skills in marketing, sales, finance, social media and pitching themselves to prospective investors.
“I, along with other State agencies in the region, look forward to working with them to progress their businesses,” Maria Staunton said.
The EMPOWER programme is run by the GMIT Innovation Hubs and aims to fast track female-led businesses based in the West of Ireland by addressing the specific challenges they face.
It’s delivered in 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.
The Start programme takes place one day a week over 12 weeks, while the Growth side takes place one Saturday a month over a year.