2nd Annual Female Entrepreneurs Conference 2018

Past Conferences

“Be Bold for Progress”

Date: 8 March 2018

Location: Galgorm Resort & Spa, Ballymena, Co. Antrim

Host: Sarah Travers

Charge: £45


The theme of this year’s conference is “Be Bold for Progress” and has been designed to inspire all delegates by providing them with world class and high-quality speakers/role models who will share their view on building your business for the future, what it will look like in the future and how we will work in it.

Our keynote speakers, panels and breakout sessions will explore the future of enterprise, ambition, business and leadership.

Over 300 delegates will attend the Female Entrepreneurs Conference 2018 which will be made up of business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Delegate feedback from 2017 was extremely positive, highlighting the importance and benefits offered by the conference:

“I come away completely inspired, encouraged and with a new perspective”.

“An amazingly positive experience, great speakers and insightful”

“Powerful, engaging and a great opportunity to reflect on regaining passion for your business”

“The best conference I have ever attended, the panel of local entrepreneurs was fantastic”.


09.00 - Registration, Tea & Coffee, Exhibition Stands & Networking

10.00 - Welcome

10.05 – Keynote - Grainne Kelly “Do the right thing and only the RIGHT thing can happen”

10.50 – Networking Session – “Be Bold for Each other”

11.15 – Tea and Coffee

11.45– Panel Discussion – “Be Bold for Business”Edel Doherty, Tracy Hamilton, Paula McIntyre,  Therese Charles

13.00 - Lunch & Networking

14.00 – Breakout

15.00 – Keynote Norah Casey “The Power of You”

15.45 -  Round up

16.00 - Close


Norah Casey

Norah Casey

Broadcaster and publishing entrepreneur was formerly a Dragon in the popular television series Dragons’ den and is a well-known radio and television personality.

She is owner and Chairwoman of Harmonia, Ireland’s largest magazine publishing company, printing over four million magazines annually for the Irish, British and USA market and selling on average 2.6 million in the Irish market annually. She founded the company and was CEO until October 2013. Harmonia publishes the top three best-selling women’s magazines in Ireland – Irish Tattler, U magazine and Woman’s Way – along with a range of lifestyle and consumer titles such as FOOD&WINE, CookBook, Irish Tattler Man, Eat Out, Auto Ireland and Ireland of the Welcomes.

Grainne Kelly

Grainne Kelly

Grainne Kelly is a mom-of-two and a former travel agent who revolutionized the child travel industry by inventing BubbleBum: the world’s FIRST inflatable booster seat.

Her primary goal was to offer travellers a safe way to transport their kids.

She was frequently traveling between her native Ireland and England to visit a sick relative, and always had to transport cumbersome fixed booster seats back and forth on the plane due to the lack of car booster seats available from car rental desks.

Grainne invented BubbleBum as an affordable, lightweight car booster seat that could travel easier than a child does. Grainne and BubbleBum also recently launched the Sneck backseat pillow and Junkie in-car organizer.

Edel Doherty

Edel Doherty

Edel Doherty is the leading figure in Business Travel in Northern Ireland, an industry she is passionate about for the last 30 years.  Edel was a director of Selective Travel management for 17 years before she started her travel management company BEYOND Business Travel 7 years ago. 

The Business under Edel’s leadership has grown year on year to the successful company it is now with a turnover of £13 million and a team of 20 people.  Experts in travel management for ambitious companies BEYOND make sure everyone is at their best no matter where they are in the world delivering world class service and cutting-edge technology. 

Edel understands the joy and pain of start-ups and believes there is an opportunity in every challenge.  Edel is strong in sales, problem solving and helping people to work through challenges. Edel is also past chair of Women In Business, served twice on the NI Chamber of Commerce council and more recently on the Board of the NOW Group which helps adults with learning difficulties.  Fitness and nutrition are important to Edel and recently she has taken up cycling.     Edel believes we should never stop learning and is determined to fulfil her potential and help others fulfil theirs.   

Tracy Hamilton

Tracy Hamilton

Tracy established Mash Direct with her husband Martin, after they decided to diversify their farm business by adding value to their wholesale farming business. 

Fourteen years on, Mash Direct is a flourishing farming and food production enterprise and exports its innovative range across the world. Tracy has been instrumental in turning Mash Direct into a household name and Brand Leader throughout the UK and Ireland, ranged in over 5,000 stores.

Northern Ireland Food and Drink is Tracy’s passion.  Following on from the success of Mash Direct, she was the first woman to sit on the Board of NIFDA (Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association) and now also sits on the Board of Food NI. 

Her tireless work led to her being named Outstanding Business Woman of the Year at the Women in Business Awards in 2015, another accolade to add to the 125 that Mash Direct has picked up in the last 10 years.


Paula McIntyre

Paula McIntyre

Paula trained at Johnson and Wales University USA after which she ran a restaurant in Manchester before returning to NI to work as Head Chef in various restaurants. She then went on to teach in the catering college and is currently a lecturer in NRC.

Paula has also contributed to many TV and radio shows in her career including Ready Steady Cook, the John Toal Show and Summer Season with Eamon Holmes. She was also a judge on the Radio 4 Food Programmes awards for 4 years and was a regular contributor to The Kitchen Cabinet.

Paula has also worked as a demo chef and writer for Borough Market in London, as well as working as a recipe developer for various companies.

She’s a regular columnist in Farming Life and has been rewarded the Farming Life Food Champion in 2015 and the Restaurant Association of Ireland’s Food Hero 2017.

Therese Charles

Therese Charles

Therese is a tech entrepreneur, educator and researcher and has successfully brought multiple commercial healthcare applications as well as iOS games and apps to market.

Therese started out in life as a professional rally driver but was involved in a serious road traffic in 1991 that prematurely ended her career. Whilst recovering from multiple spinal surgeries Therese went back to University and studied Computer Science and quickly became fascinated with the enormous potential of games to teach, inspire and to entertain. Therese went on to successfully complete a Computing Science PhD that harnessed the motivational qualities of games to enhance learning processes and published the Games Oriented Learning Framework (GOLF). This lead her to create several game-based apps for the iOS market based on the GOLF framework, and later, Therese translated her research into several healthcare applications to support doctors and nurses revalidate their licenses to practice.

Therese now focuses on consultancy and enjoys helping businesses harness leading edge technology, as well as help, improve business processes using game-based learning techniques. Therese also lectures part-time at Ulster University and is part of the Virtual Reality for Upper Arm Stroke Rehabilitation research team.

Sarah Travers

Sarah Travers

Sarah is an experienced broadcast journalist and TV presenter, with a keen interest in stories and the people that shape them. Sarah is a familiar face to many in Northern Ireland, where she was news anchor in the BBC newsroom for 17 years.  Sarah started her career with BBC Radio Foyle, and has presented lifestyle programming for UTV, Northern Ireland’s commercial TV channel. As Director of Bespoke Communications, Sarah develops media and crisis communications training programmes for a range of different organisations in the public, private and third sectors. She continues to appear on-screen as a TV presenter on a range of programmes and documentaries.    Sarah holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Nottingham Trent University.

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