On March 13th, participants of the second “Illuminate” Female Entrepreneurship Programme run by The Mill Enterprise Hub and DCU Ryan Academy, pitched their businesses to a panel of judges from Enterprise Ireland, Meath LEO, and AIB. The Illuminate programme was created by The Mill Enterprise Hub, with assistance from DKIT and DCU, to empower early stage female entrepreneurs to develop and expand their business. The programme is supported by Coca-Cola International Services, AIB, and the Louth & Meath Local Enterprise Offices.

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The judges commended the high quality of pitches, and according to Christine Meade “the ambition, and ability of the entrepreneurs is truly remarkable. It’s critical that female entrepreneurs are supported in taking the often difficult steps in growing a business. We’re delighted to have supported this initiative, and look forward to hearing of the futures success stories of the graduates”.

The Illuminate Programme commenced in January 2017, with thirteen participants. It is the second Illuminate programme to be delivered at The Mill, which has identified Female Entrepreneurship has one of its priority sectors. It delivers to early-stage female entrepreneurs from Louth and Meath, an opportunity to participate in the specially created Illuminate course, which is accredited by QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland) at Level 6, Minor Award. Participants are given the knowledge, skills and understanding to commercialise sustainable and profitable products by completing 12 study modules including Sales Strategy, Project Management, Business Risk Management, Sustaining & Growing Your Business, Marketing, and Leadership.  Two graduates from the first programme continued to work with DCU Ryan Academy via the Enterprise Ireland supported programme, High Fliers.

 

The judging panel included Caroline Lynch from Meath LEO, Susan Cahill of Enterprise Ireland, Christine Meade from AIB, and Breanndán Casey of The Mill. The judges heard entrepreneurs from myriad sectors including business services, training, and technology firms. The motive behind the ‘fake’ €100,000 pitch is to encourage female entrepreneurs to focus on scaling their business, either with financial or mentoring support.

 

Breanndán Casey, Business Development Manager at The Mill Enterprise Hub, stated that “The feedback from participants has been exceptionally positive, and I’ve seen a huge transformation amongst the trainees over the past eight weeks.  DCU Ryan Academy are the acknowledged experts in supporting female entrepreneurs, and it’s fantastic that local entrepreneurs can avail of the programme which is generously supported by local firms. I can see that their confidence levels, and focus, has increased sharply, with a number of entrepreneurs telling me that the course gave them an opportunity to step back from their day-to-day activities, and to carefully consider the long-term strategy and goals of their business, as part of the Business Model Canvas exercise”

Certificates of completion were presented to each participant at the Award Ceremony, and all trainees will attain full accreditation in the coming weeks when their Business Model Canvas is assessed.

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illuminate-logo-yellowOn Thursday, 17th November, Alison Cowzer of East Coast Bakehouse and Dragon’s Den, launched the Boyne Valley / M1 ‘Illuminate’ Female Entrepreneurship Programme at The Mill Enterprise Hub in Drogheda. The programme is delivered by the DCU Ryan Academy and is a Fetac-accredited course aimed at entrepreneurs seeking to develop their business. Guest speakers on the day also included Bronagh Conlon of Network Louth, and Jill Stout of CooKit Kids who participated in the first Illuminate programme.

Application Form (click on the Word Doc icon): Image result for word doc

Applications accepted until 16th December 2016

Place confirmation: 13th January 2017

Course start date: 30th January 2017

Send your application to Anna: admin@themilldrogheda.ie

Orla Thornton, AIB, Breanndáin Casey, The Mill, Alison Cowzer, East Coast Bakehouse, Christine Meade, AIB, Bronagh Conlon, Listoke Distillery and Jillian Stout, Cookit Kids and Jill's kItchen Cookery school at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda. Photo - Jenny Matthews
Orla Thornton, AIB, Breanndáin Casey, The Mill, Alison Cowzer, East Coast Bakehouse, Christine Meade, AIB, Bronagh Conlon, Listoke Distillery and Jillian Stout, Cookit Kids and Jill’s kItchen Cookery school at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda.
Photo – Jenny Matthews

Alison Cowzer is a Co-founder of East Coast Bakehouse, the new large scale food manufacturing business based in Drogheda who are producing a range of cookies and biscuits for the Irish, UK and European markets. Alison outlined the high points of listening to 53 pitches on Dragon’s Den “the most successful companies have to be adaptable and continually listen to their customers. It’s critical that you also know all the relevant financial figures. A common issue for females is that they don’t ask for the correct amount of money that is needed to deliver their vision. You need to be confident that you can deliver on your promises, and having the right resources is integral to that challenge”.

Alison Cowzer, East Coast Bakehouse at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda. Photo - Jenny Matthews
Alison Cowzer, East Coast Bakehouse at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda.
Photo – Jenny Matthews

The Illuminate programme was created by The Mill Enterprise Hub, with assistance from DKIT and DCU Ryan Academy, to empower early stage female entrepreneurs to develop and expand their business. The programme is supported by Coca-Cola International Services, AIB, and the Louth & Meath Local Enterprise Offices. Applications are now open, with the closing date of 16th December.

Bronagh Conlon, Listoke Distillery at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda. Photo - Jenny Matthews
Bronagh Conlon, Listoke Distillery at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda.
Photo – Jenny Matthews

“I found the Illuminate course to be of tremendous value to me as a businesswoman”, said Jill of Cookit Kids, “I was able to spend valuable time working on my business in terms of developing the model and to truthfully analyse it, with the guidance and help of some amazing professionals”.

Jillian Stout, Cookit Kids and Jill's KItchen Cookery School at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda. Photo - Jenny Matthews
Jillian Stout, Cookit Kids and Jill’s KItchen Cookery School at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda.
Photo – Jenny Matthews

The first Illuminate course, commenced in October 2015 and enabled early-stage female entrepreneurs from Louth and Meath an opportunity to participate in the specially created course, which is accredited by QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland) at Level 6, Minor Award. The programme fast-tracked entrepreneurs businesses to develop their business and leadership skills, achieve scale, and create employment. Participants were given the knowledge, skills and understanding to commercialise sustainable and profitable products by completing 12 study modules including Sales Strategy, Project Management, Business Risk Management, Sustaining & Growing Your Business, Marketing, and Leadership.

Breanndáin Casey, The Mill at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda. Photo - Jenny Matthews
Breanndáin Casey, The Mill at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda.
Photo – Jenny Matthews

Breanndán Casey, Business Development Manager at The Mill Enterprise Hub, stated that “it’s great to see Coca-Cola International Services and AIB come on board again to support local business. This keeps the price extremely competitive, and the course is an opportunity to step back from day-to-day activities, and to carefully consider the long-term strategy and goals of their business, as part of the Business Model Canvas exercise”.

Jillian Stout, Cookit Kids and Jill's KItchen Cookery School at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda. Photo - Jenny Matthews
Jillian Stout, Cookit Kids and Jill’s KItchen Cookery School at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda.
Photo – Jenny Matthews
Alison Cowzer, East Coast Bakehouse, Christine Meade, AIB, Jillian Stout, Cookit Kids and Jill's KItchen Cookery School, Caroline Lynch, Local Enterprise Office Louth, Orla Thornton, AIB and Breanndáin Casey, The Mill at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda. Photo - Jenny Matthews
Alison Cowzer, East Coast Bakehouse, Christine Meade, AIB, Jillian Stout, Cookit Kids and Jill’s KItchen Cookery School, Caroline Lynch, Local Enterprise Office Louth, Orla Thornton, AIB and Breanndáin Casey, The Mill at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda.
Photo – Jenny Matthews
Diane McGovern, Jean Moore, Shiny SparklyU and Helen McEntee, Kumon and DS Delta at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda. Photo - Jenny Matthews
Diane McGovern, Jean Moore, Shiny SparklyU and Helen McEntee, Kumon and DS Delta at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda.
Photo – Jenny Matthews
Orla Thornton, AIB, Maria Forde Dunne, Bridget Kerrigan, Bammedia and Lisa Heeney, Aromabump at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda. Photo - Jenny Matthews
Orla Thornton, AIB, Maria Forde Dunne, Bridget Kerrigan, Bammedia and Lisa Heeney, Aromabump at the ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme event at The Mill Enterprise Hub, Drogheda.
Photo – Jenny Matthews

Illuminate Brochure:

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The new ‘Illuminate’ Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme, delivered by the DCU Ryan Academy, was launched at The Mill Enterprise Hub on Wednesday October 23rd.

Illuminate DCU Ryan Academy

This programme, funded by AIB, Coca-Cola International Services, and the Meath and Louth LEOs gives early-stage female entrepreneurs from Louth and Meath an opportunity to participate in the specially created Illuminate course, which is accredited by QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland) at Level 6, Minor Award. A total of 16 participants will be selected for this programme which will fast track female led businesses to develop their business and leadership skills, achieve scale, and create employment. Participants will be given the knowledge, skills and understanding to commercialise sustainable and profitable products and services that customers need and want.

According to Mandy Murphy, Regional Business Banking Manager, “AIB are delighted to support this initiative. We have a strong tradition of supporting female entrepreneurs via the Network Louth/Meath group, and this training course will give participants the chance to avail of the highest training standards in the country”

Illuminate DCU Ryan Academy

Illuminate DCU Ryan Academy

The finale of the course will take place at Coca-Cola International Services’ office on December 7th where trainees will pitch to a specially-selected panel. Siobhan Woods commented “Coca-Cola’s International 5×20 programme is a global commitment to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs. Locally, the Illuminate programme will be a fantastic opportunity to tap into the expertise of DCU Ryan Academy and The Mill Enterprise Hub. We particularly liked the fact that trainees will complete a Business Model Canvas based on the specific needs of their company. This will be a practical, interactive, and highly relevant course”

View the Illuminate Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme brochure here.

Please phone 041-9802444 or email admin@themilldrogheda.ie to obtain an application form.

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