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Female Northern Ireland Founders Share £175k Funding and Mentoring Pot


Monday 3 June 2024

Female Northern Ireland Founders Share £175k Funding and Mentoring Pot
The female founders behind five Northern Ireland start-ups have been awarded a share of £175,000 in business grants through a competition organised by Women in Business in partnership with Techstart Ventures.

Now in its third year, the Female Founders competition aims to support female entrepreneurs with a grant and business mentoring support directed towards exploring the viability and commercial potential of their innovative business idea.

Each of the five winners, whose businesses range from employment solutions to innovative healthcare, will now attend the Women in Business All-Island Female Entrepreneurs Conference taking place 6th June.  

Among the winning cohort was Emma Huffam, co-founder of On-Set, who said: "The support from Women in Business and Techstart really validates On-Set's potential. We look forward to leveraging this momentum to benefit our users and contribute to Ireland's creative industries. The resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities will all be instrumental in On-Set's success.”

Kathleen Garrett, who heads-up the Grant Fund within Techstart Ventures, congratulated the five winners: “Our annual funding competition makes clear that women-led start-ups are an important part of Northern Ireland’s enterprise economy. The ambition evident in their plans is impressive with innovative and creative solutions spanning a range of sectors.”

“Building a business from the ground up is a tough and often lonely experience, which is why female-focused funding and mentoring support are such important accelerators for any start-up. Together with Women in Business, we are helping to deliver wraparound support for women-led businesses in their earliest stages. We look forward to collaborating closely with this year’s winning entrepreneurs as they take the vital next step in their business journey.”

Since launching the Female Founders grant fund in 2022, Women in Business and Techstart Ventures have supported the development of 17 women-led companies with vital funds to propel their business forward. Of these winners, Techstart Ventures has provided a significant amount of equity investment into four of these companies, Complyfirst, SEQO, NEEDI and ACE 45, backing the ambitious female founders to continue to build out their business idea and fuel early growth. 

Lorraine Acheson, Managing Director at Women in Business, said the appetite for female enterprise is palpable with the organisation’s start-up programmes continually oversubscribed. 

“Together with Techstart we are kindling a female enterprise ecosystem in Northern Ireland that will have a positive ripple effect on the local economy for many years to come. It’s incredible to see first-hand the ingenuity fuelling women-led start-ups on our doorstop, and with R3 data showing 2,311 firms were established here in April, marking a 188% rise on the previous year, the appetite for entrepreneurship is palpable. A massive ‘well done’ to this year’s winners.”

Photo Caption from L-R is: Katie Love (BLINKS), Lee-Anne Schmitz (MyPromoPal), Eimear Campbell (Calara), Dr Rawa Lina Jawad (Medicube Health), and co-founders of On-Set, Rachel Brammer and Emma Huffam.

Monday 3 June 2024

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