'Women supporting women' at heart of network for female entrepreneurs in Mid and East Antrim

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The principle of 'women supporting women' is at the heart of a group for female entrepreneurs that has grown significantly in the past year.

The Mid and East Antrim-based Enterprising Women network was founded in 2018, with membership soaring since to an impressive 229 members – 87 who have joined within the last 12 months alone.

The diversity of the network is evident in its membership demographics, with over a quarter of members (26%) start-ups. An equal percentage have been established within the past 2-3 years, while 36% boast a more seasoned presence in the business landscape, operating for over 13-14 years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Crafts and artisanal businesses make up 26% of the membership, health and wellness 20%, and professional services 30%, underlining the initiative's role in fostering diverse expertise and skill sets.

(L-R) Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna; Andrea Kernohan, Enterprising Women member and Kelli McRoberts, Chief Executive at Carrickfergus Enterprise.  Photo: Aaron McCracken Photography(L-R) Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna; Andrea Kernohan, Enterprising Women member and Kelli McRoberts, Chief Executive at Carrickfergus Enterprise.  Photo: Aaron McCracken Photography
(L-R) Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna; Andrea Kernohan, Enterprising Women member and Kelli McRoberts, Chief Executive at Carrickfergus Enterprise. Photo: Aaron McCracken Photography

During a recent event to celebrate the network’s success, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Ald Gerardine Mulvenna said: “We take great pride in our partnership with Carrickfergus Enterprise and Ballymena Business Centre on the delivery of the Enterprising Women initiative. The growth of Enterprising Women from its humble beginnings as a local network into an essential resource for female entrepreneurs throughout Mid and East Antrim is truly remarkable. We eagerly anticipate witnessing the ongoing development and flourishing of each business, as they leverage the new techniques, insights, and expanded support network offered through this initiative.”

Speaking on how being involved with the network helped her business, member Andrea Kernohan, said: “Joining Enterprising Women has been an invaluable to growing and developing my business. My skills and confidence have improved, particularly through insightful workshops on photography, and participating in enriching events like the International Women's Day event in conjunction with Donegal Women in Business. Every experience has been a catalyst for growth and connection, most recently at the Spring Get Together & Showcase which elevated the visibility and reach of my business, seeing real tangible results securing sign-ups for my gym.”

Empowering women in business extends far beyond just updating skills or enhancing professional competencies, said Kelli McRoberts, Chief Executive at Carrickfergus Enterprise. “It encompasses a comprehensive approach that addresses not only technical expertise but also personal development, confidence building, networking, and social engagement,” she added. “The network recognizes the importance of providing opportunities for women to thrive in all aspects of their lives, both personally and professionally.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“This year, we have expanded our offerings to include a broader range of personal development topics, such as Menopause and Mindset training, in response to the evolving needs and requests of our members. We understand that women face unique challenges and experiences throughout their careers, and providing resources and support in areas like these can have a significant impact on their overall well-being and success. Our network is built on the principle of women supporting women, creating a community where members can connect, collaborate, and uplift one another.”