All-Island Female Entrepreneurs Conference showcases impact of local start-ups for NI economy

  • Photo: This year's Women in Business All-Island Female Entrepreneurs Conference was held on Thursday 6 June

    Dublin-based businesswoman Meg Brennan has been crowned winner of the Yes You Can £20K pitching competition held during 2024’s Women in Business All-Island Female Entrepreneurs Conference on Thursday (6 June).

    Hosted at Belfast’s Europa Hotel and sponsored by AIB, this year’s conference opened with Minister for the Economy Conor Murphy addressing the 300 plus women business owners in the room, who later voted on a live business pitch featuring six female entrepreneurs from across the island.

    Echoing the ‘Grit and Growth’ theme of the conference, Economy Minister Conor Murphy said: “The theme of today’s conference is exactly what our economy needs.

    "While it is the entrepreneur who provides the creativity, the passion and the grit, it is my job as Economy Minister to be an enabler and ensure that the support is there to help businesses flourish and remove barriers that stand in the way. Female entrepreneurship is vital to realising my objectives of good jobs, regional balance, high productivity and decarbonisation.

    RELATED: 2024 Women in Tech Awards Recognise NI’s Digital Trailblazers

    “Our entrepreneurs come from every corner of the north and with the right support in place we can work together to strengthen the network of female entrepreneurs right across this island. This in turn will increase the number of good jobs, improve regional balance and improve low productivity levels thus ensuring local communities feel the benefit of economic growth.”

    Sponsored by InterTradeIreland, the pitching competition shortlist included Helen Todd (Impact People Consulting), Daphne Alexander (Silk Path Advisors), Brogán Brady (Instyl Cocktails), Brosna O’Donovan (Mighty Grays Studio), Meg Brennan (Polliknow) and Carmel Seery (ProfitFLO Limited) who each received £3,000 to support their entrepreneurial endeavours with Meg Brennan landing an additional £2,000 on the day as further support for their business.

    Pictured above: Alison Currie (left) with the winning pitcher, Meg Brennan

    Commenting Lorraine Acheson Managing Director Women in Business said: “This conference is focused on encouraging entrepreneurs from all sectors to grow their business, expand their market and make connections right across the island. Women in Business is committed to supporting women business owners and I want to congratulate the winners of the All-Island Pitching Competition, with a special shout-out to Meg Brennan, for their exceptional pitch and unwavering energy.

    "Working collaboratively, we want to not only celebrate entrepreneurial role models but lead in the discussion on the opportunities and challenges that female entrepreneurs face when starting and growing their businesses.”

    A stage for start-up success promoting cross border opportunities, the conference featured engaging panel sessions with leading business advisors from AIB, InterTradeIreland, Invest NI, Enterprise Ireland and Innovate UK Business Growth in the room. Attendees heard of best practice case studies through a series of engaging masterclasses focusing on marketing, scaling and mindset.

    RELATED: Neurovalens appoints Kate Willis as Vice President of Commercialization

    Congratulating the winners, Alison Currie, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship from InterTradeIreland added: ‘’At InterTradeIreland, we believe that a focus on female entrepreneurship as well as innovation will create even more jobs across the island and can also help address income inequality and social exclusion.

    "Partnering with Women in Business on this female-focused initiative allows us to offer tangible opportunities for women on an island-wide basis. I would like to congratulate all of the inspiring female entrepreneurs who featured throughout the pitching competition and I am certain there will be even more opportunities in the near future to collaborate, grow and scale their business right across the island and beyond.’’

    Event host Caroline O’Neill welcomed inspirational speakers Gráinne Mullins, Head Chocolatier and Founder of Grá Chocolates and Laura Bonner, CEO and Founder of The Muff Liquor Company who shared their story on defying the odds and showcasing unwavering perseverance in the face of business challenges.

Share this story