Success of women’s business project heralded in Dungannon

Participants who attended the International Women's Day 'Make it Happen' event organised by Dungannon Enterprise Centre at Ranfurly House Arts Centre
Participants who attended the International Women's Day 'Make it Happen' event organised by Dungannon Enterprise Centre at Ranfurly House Arts Centre

Girl power was out in strength last week in Dungannon when over one hundred women celebrated International Women’s Day at an event to mark the achievements of women in all spheres of life in the area.

The ‘Make it Happen’ showcase recognised 25 women who took part in the RBS InnovateHer Mid-Ulster sponsored programme.

Female progression in both the public and private sector was also celebrated with Dungannon Council’s ‘Gender In Action’ group featuring at the event along with Cavanagh Kelly detailing progression opportunities for female staff.

The InnovateHer Mid-Ulster programme, delivered by Dungannon Enterprise Centre, was a first for the region, bringing women’s networking and skills development together in one tailored programme.

Project highlights included mentoring and the ‘Inspire Me’ master class, where participants had the opportunity to meet with experienced female entrepreneurs to hear their start-up stories.

A number of workshops in business modelling, digital strategy, finance, managing book keeping, ideas generation and goal setting were run over seven months.

“Make it Happen”, this year’s International Women’s Day theme, was adopted as the inspirational theme at the crowded Ranfurly House Arts event.

The key speakers included Lucy Annabella Organics founder, Colleen Harte who recently celebrated winning the highly prestigious Women in Business NI Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Not feeling overpowered, the only man at the all women event was image consultant Billy Dixon.

Denise Murtagh, Business Development Manager from Dungannon Enterprise Centre who organised the event in conjunction with Cavanagh Kelly, Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council and Cookstown District Council, said: “The programme promoted entrepreneurship as a career choice for women, as the gender gap in Northern Ireland entrepreneurship shows no signs of closing.

“Twenty-five women, from across the Dungannon, Cookstown and Magherafelt Council areas, were taken on a journey to explore entrepreneurship, developing business ideas. Each of them created a feasible business model and developed key business skills. They gained practical experience through off-site visits to role model entrepreneurs’ premises”.

Measuring the success of the programme, Denise said that to-date fourteen starts-ups had been achieved from within the group with a 100% satisfaction rating for the improved business skills the women had received.

Further information on future InnovateHer Mid-Ulster events can be found by contacting Denise Murtagh at Dungannon Enterprise Centre or through email at