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April 17, 2019

Illuminate Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme


A total of 10 female entrepreneurs from across the North East region were invited to pitch to a panel of judges and potential investors in Coca Cola HQ this past Monday as part of their participation on the Illuminate Boyne Valley/M1 Female Entrepreneurship Programme, delivered by the DCU Ryan Academy.

The Illuminate programme was developed by The Mill Enterprise Hub in Drogheda and supported by M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet, Coca-Cola International Services and AIB to fast track female led businesses to develop their business and enhance their leadership skills to ultimately achieve scale and create employment. Having completed the programme – which included training in business strategy, leadership styles, finance & funding, legal, sales, marketing & branding, business & financial risk assessment and how to sustain and grow your business – and honed their highly developed business management and leadership skills, our group of 10 were ready for their pitch.

Allocated with the very difficult task, judges on the day included Sheelagh Daly, Entrepreneurship Manager at Enterprise Ireland; Tony Campion, HR Manager Coca-Cola; Nichola Tighe, Bank Manager, AIB;  and Shona McManus, President of Drogheda Chamber/Promoter M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet/CEO of Osborne Recruitment.

Speaking about the Illuminate programme and the pitches, Shona McManus, President of Drogheda Chamber who was also a judge said ‘One of Drogheda Chamber’s goals is to enable local businesses to scale and grow. We are behind this programme as we want to inspire a new generation of female entrepreneurs to develop the skills and confidence to back themselves and their businesses. The quality of the pitches today leaves me in no doubt regarding the ambition of our female entrepreneurs and the many opportunities the future holds for them’.

This programme was organised by M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet in conjunction with The Mill Enterprise and sponsored by AIB, Coca-Cola International Services and part funded by Skillnet Ireland from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills. According to Breanndán Casey, Business Development Manager at The Mill “This is the third time we’ve run the Illuminate programme with DCU Ryan Academy and were delighted that AIB and Coca-Cola co-funded the programme again as female entrepreneurship is one of the priorities at The Mill. The addition of M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet to the programme supporters is very beneficial as they will also be able to offer further training support to the participants”.

There were a wide variety of participants and businesses which included:

Bronagh Conlon – Listoke Distillery & School

Elaine Connolly – Cubicle 7 Games

Evita McCloskey & Inese Rasina – Westend Salon

Evelyn Nomayo – Phase Innovate

Una McGoey – Anu Change

Jacqui Millar – Weddings by Jacqui

Aoife Keady – Whatswhere

Jane Kerr – metimetraining

Priscilla McGeehan – Blas Marketing

“It is fantastic to witness so many inspirational ladies on their entrepreneurial journey and seeing them develop during the process, increasing their skills, developing the confidence and forming lasting bonds with other female entrepreneurs” Linda Ennis Network Manager

M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and member companies. The Skillnet successfully secured funding via Skillnet Ireland in 2019 which will be used to support local businesses by assessing their training needs and organising training courses which are cost efficient, relevant, convenient, and which deliver results.

For more information as to how you can avail of M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet Government Funded training, please contact Linda Ennis, Network Manager, M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet by email at m1skillnet@droghedachamber.com or call 041 9833544.


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