From dragons to astronauts at Mayo Ideas Week

Mayo Astronaut Norah Patten is one of the speakers at Mayo Ideas Week

Mayo Astronaut Norah Patten is one of the speakers at Mayo Ideas Week

Running from Saturday September 22 to Saturday September 29, Mayo Ideas Week has a programme with something to suit businesses of all sizes and at all stages. The theme for the week is Empowering People and a strong element of enterprise and entrepreneurship is promised.

The well established Spirit of Entrepreneurship event at GMIT always presents thought-provoking speakers and enterprise leaders. This year it’s a chance to learn from some high profile female entrepreneurs in Ireland and connect and network with fellow entrepreneurs. Entitled 'Empower Explore', it is hosted by the Empower Programme with GMIT Mayo Campus and Mayo Local Enterprise Office.

Speakers include Alison Cowzer, co-founder of East Coast Bakehouse and familiar to all from the television show Dragon's Den; Mayo astronaut Norah Patten, who has been selected to take part in a unique scientist-astronaut training programme in Florida - putting her on course to be the first Irish person in space; Vicki O'Toole, MD of JJ O Toole's Ltd; Donna Kennedy, bestselling author and founder of We Summit; Aine Mulloy, co-founder of Girlcrew; and Lorraine Corcoran, co-founder of Horizon and owner director of Cosmetic Creations. The MC for the evening is well known journalist and broadcaster Carol Coleman.

Empower Explore - Spirit of Entrepreneurship takes place on Monday, September 24 at 4.30pm. This is a free event but pre-booking is required through

LEADER Funding

Your business may be eligible for LEADER funding. LEADER4Enterprise is a series of one-to-one 30 minute meetings with a LEADER Project Officer, during you can find out about LEADER grants for your new or existing business. It is suitable for business owners, members of the farming community, budding entrepreneurs and those who are unemployed with a business idea. Meetings are at South West Mayo Development Company (SWMDC ) offices in Balla on Saturday September 22 and in the Newport offices on Saturday September 29. Timeslots are available from 10am to 3.30pm and must be pre-booked through SWMDC by calling (098 ) 41950 or email [email protected].

Funding and other supports for start up businesses

The inspirational Donal Byrne, founder of Big Red Barn, is the guest speaker at the Steps to Enterprise Seminar and Showcase at the Great National Hotel, Ballina on Wednesday September 26 at 11am. Established in 2014, Big Red Barn Ltd won the Product and Manufacturing Start Up Business award at the 2017 Bank of Ireland Business Awards, and was also a finalist in the 2017 Small Firms Association Business Awards.

Start up businesses are advuised to attend this event to find out about funding and other supports available for their business. Advance booking is through Breda Murray, South West Mayo Development Company (094 ) 9366692 or Niamh Charlton, Mayo North East LEADER Partnership (087 ) 6662340. The event is hosted by Mayo North East LEADER Partnership, South West Mayo Development Company and Mayo Sligo Leitrim, Education and Training Board.

Tourism Innovation and the Future for Mayo

This timely seminar looks at the innovation opportunities in the tourism sector and is hosted by Fáilte Ireland, South West Mayo Development Company and WestBIC. The impressive line up of speakers includes Miriam Kennedy, Head of Business Tourism and Events at Fáilte Ireland; Denise O'Leary, Head of Hospitality at Dublin Institute of Technology; and Ed Kenny, Hospitality Sector, SIPTU. It’s ideal for anyone involved in the tourism sector and takes place at Mulranny Park Hotel on Thursday September 27 from 9.30am to 3pm. Booking is through South West Mayo Development Company on (098 ) 9366692 or email: [email protected].

Business Angels descending on Mayo Ideas Week

Mayo Ideas Week will also feature a Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN ) Syndicate Pitching Event hosted by HBAN and WestBIC. Business angel investors are high net worth individuals who provide finance at an earlier stage than many venture capital funds. The growing role of business angels as catalysts in many start-up companies is now well recognised in Europe including here in Ireland.

However Ireland has some way to go in comparison with the US, where business angel investment is equivalent in scale to all venture capital investment in the economy. HBAN is an all-island umbrella group responsible for the development of business angel syndicates and supporting the early stage entrepreneurial community on the island of Ireland. If you are interested in accessing business angel funding, or in becoming a business angel, contact Ultan Faherty, WestBIC [email protected] or see the website

Mayo Ideas Week is a series of entrepreneurship, idea generation and business events hosted by the development and enterprise support agencies in Mayo. Each event is specifically targeted to suit the needs of a particular business sector.

Most are free of charge but require pre-registration. All events will be detailed on the website ( ). The social media hashtag is #MayoIdeasWeek.


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