International Women’s day, Thursday 8th March, saw 250 women, one brave man and a 10 week old baby girl gather for the second Female Entrepreneur Conference hosted by broadcaster and entrepreneur Sarah Travers, at the stunning Galgorm Resort and Spa.
The brainchild of Roseann Kelly of Women in Business and Jayne Taggart of Causeway Enterprise Agency this year’s line-up promised to be bigger, better and bolder, in an effort to inspire the delegates to Be Bold for Progress.
Grainne Kelly a mum-of-two, authentic ‘Derry Girl’ and former travel agent who revolutionized the child travel industry by inventing Bubble Bum: the world’s FIRST inflatable booster seat, burst on to the stage to tell her story, with humour, honesty and integrity and a single-minded determination to succeed. According to Grainne, “No is just a temporary obstacle”.
Hard work, determination and boundless resilience were on show for the panel discussion, Dr Therese Charles, a tech entrepreneur with a passion for creating educational games to help kids learn in new ways, told her story of overcoming huge health issues, including a broken back, in order to build her business and her current fight to protect her IP. Edel Doherty of Beyond Business travel encouraged goal setting, Paula McIntyre described herself as ‘a cook, that loves food’, she is now a broadcaster and Radio 4 food award judge, she believes that you should take all the help you are offered. Tracy Hamilton of Mash Direct described the challenge of running a family business and a farm, she insists we need to ‘keep talking, keep sharing and doors will open’.
Norah Casey broadcaster and publishing entrepreneur and former Dragon closed the day with some sobering undeniable statistics on how far we still have to go to achieve, ‘equal pay for equal work’. She gave her considered view on why this is still the case, the four key differences between men and women and why this holds many women back. Norah shared her research, experience and belief that confidence is key.
Roseann Kelly, CEO of Women in Business commented;
“Today was everything we hoped it would be. Our speakers and panel told their stories, were open, honest and sometimes raw with the truth of what it takes to be a female entrepreneur in 2018. There was lots of learning today, including the importance of self care, confidence and resilience. We are inspired to be back next year with an even bigger and better line up to celebrate International Women’s day.”
250 delegates attended the Female Entrepreneurs Conference 2018, made up of business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups. The event was supported by Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council. Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Causeway Chamber, Enterprise Northern Ireland & Ulster University Business School.