Budding female entrepreneurs in the Dungannon area are set to benefit from a new fund worth £20,000 awarded to a local enterprise agency.
Dungannon Enterprise Centre secured the cash from the RBS Inspiring Women in Enterprise fund as part of its drive to get more women to unlock their business potential.
The agency has launched an ‘InnovateHer Mid-Ulster’ programme, a first for this region, bringing women’s networking and skills development together in one tailored programme.
Project highlights will include mentoring and the ‘Inspire Me’ masterclass, where participants will have the opportunity to meet with experienced female entrepreneurs to hear their start-up stories.
The financial incentive comes after latest research from The Federation of Small Businesses shows that more women are setting up their own businesses that any time bfore, with 49.5% of hotel, retail, catering and leisure start-ups launched in the last two years owned primarily by women.
In addition, the number of self-employed women in the UK is rising at nearly three times the rate of men. There are now more than 1.2 million self-employed women in full- and part-time work. The number of female entrepreneurs has increased by 9.6 per cent during the past two years, compared with a 3.3 per cent rise for men, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Shauna Burns, Head of Mid-Ulster & Fermanagh Business Centre, Ulster Bank, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Dungannon Enterprise Centre and evidence of their strong support for local innovations.”
Denise Murtagh, Business Development Manager, Dungannon Enterprise Centre, said: “Women taking part in InnovateHer will benefit from RBS Inspiring Women in Enterprise funding by being able to create their own opportunities and learn the skills and knowledge to take advantage of them.
“The funding will pay for master classes and experiential learning experiences through ‘off-site’ best practice visits to role-model entrepreneurs.”
The programme aims to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice for women, as the
gender gap in Northern Ireland entrepreneurship shows no signs of closing. The participants from the Mid-Ulster region of Northern Ireland (Dungannon, Cookstown and Magherafelt
Council areas) will directly benefit from the programme. The women’s journey will be shared through social media.