EMPOWER, the women’s entrepreneurship programme delivered in GMIT’s Innovation Hubs to women in Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon, has been allocated over €300,000 in funding to extend delivery of the successful programme to counties Sligo, Donegal and Leitrim.
The funding is part of an overall €1.5m budget allocation to promote gender equality and migrant integration announced earlier this week by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, and David Stanton, Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality with responsibility for Integration, Immigration and Equality, for a total of five female entrepreneurship projects providers across the country.
EMPOWER is currently delivered in the west of Ireland by GMIT iHubs and is managed by Maria Staunton. “This new funding will mean that EMPOWER will be able to increase its footprint to include Sligo, Donegal, and Leitrim,” Ms Staunton said. “It means we can now also deliver this innovative programme to women through our partners institutes in the Connacht Ulster Alliance — IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT.
“We set up EMPOWER back in 2017 in response to demand in the region and have since been inundated with requests from women seeking to undertake this programme,” she added. “Sixty-four businesses have been set up by women who completed the course, 146 people are employed full-time in these businesses and seven part-time. Ninety four per cent of the programme participants have a third level qualification. We therefore decided to resubmit another application for EMPOWER and were awarded with the funding. We are looking forward to rolling it out to women from the three additional counties.”
The EMPOWER Programme has two components. EMPOWER Start is designed to test innovative ideas for market acceptance. It is for females with an early stage idea or in business less than one year.
This free programme is delivered part-time over 12 weeks by start-up experts. This allows participants to balance family commitments with planning and developing their new business. The current programme rotates around Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon, and now is set to extend to Sligo, Leitrim, and Donegal. Learning is classroom based. The opportunity is to test start up idea(s ) for customer acceptance.
EMPOWER Growth, is focused on women who are already in business (two years or more ) and are looking to scale. This component provides support from peers, mentors, and role models. The programme will be based on peer-to-peer learning and delivered by industry experts. It has been delivered over 11 half-days on Saturday, once a month.
For further information and to apply for EMPOWER, email [email protected] or telephone 094 9043198.