Women scale the
heights of small business

WOMEN in business from the world of fashion, food, healthcare and fish farming climbed the Rock of Cashel to encourage other women to ‘scale the heights’ of setting up a business. The four female entrepreneurs (Yvonne Crotty from Bonzie Designs in Waterford, Sarah Furno from Cashel Blue Cheese in Tipperary, Michelle O’ Rourke from Oak Tree Homecare in Carlow and Mag Kirwan from Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Kilkenny) are all involved in a major conference and awards scheme in the South East next week, aimed at women who have already set up, or who are thinking of setting up their own business.

WOMEN in business from the world of fashion, food, healthcare and fish farming climbed the Rock of Cashel to encourage other women to ‘scale the heights’ of setting up a business. The four female entrepreneurs (Yvonne Crotty from Bonzie Designs in Waterford, Sarah Furno from Cashel Blue Cheese in Tipperary, Michelle O’ Rourke from Oak Tree Homecare in Carlow and Mag Kirwan from Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Kilkenny) are all involved in a major conference and awards scheme in the South East next week, aimed at women who have already set up, or who are thinking of setting up their own business.

The local County and City Enterprise Boards from Tipperary, Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford and Waterford have come together to organise the South East Women in Business Conference, which takes place in Ballykisteen House in Tipperary on September 28th and 29th. Now in its fifth year, guest speakers include the only female dragon on RTE’s Dragons’ Den series, Norah Casey from Harmonia Publishing; financial journalist, Jill Kerby and the Product Marketing Manager with Google, Evelyn O’ Keeffe. The Master of Ceremonies for the conference on September 29th is the CEO of local radio station, Ethel Power of Tipp FM.

The conference draws to a close with three case studies from successful female entrepreneurs in the South East: Yvonne Crotty from vintage couture company, Bonzie Designs; Sarah Furno from Cashel Blue Cheese Company and Michelle O’ Rourke from home assistance company, Oak Tree Homecare,

On the eve of the conference, the South East Women in Business Awards and Dinner takes place on September 28th, following guest motivational speaker, Terry Harmer. The overall winner of the ‘Female Entrepreneur of the Year’ title last year was Mag Kirwan from Goatsbridge Trout Farm.

According to Ita Horan of the County and City Enterprise Boards, supporting women in small businesses is critical to job creation: “small businesses make-up the overwhelming majority of all businesses in Ireland and we need to encourage more women to set up their own enterprise and to create jobs for themselves and others. We can do this through showcasing the stories of successful female entrepreneurs, highlighting the achievements of women-led businesses and by enabling women in business to share advice and ideas with each other.”

Bookings for the conference and awards event can be made on-line by visiting: www.kceb.ie, by e-mailing Fiona Deegan at: fiona@kceb.ie or by telephoning: (056) 77 52 662. The conference fee is heavily subsidised by the County and City Enterprise Boards and costs €35 per delegate, which includes refreshments, lunch, dinner and conference packs.