National Women’s Enterprise Day (NWED) 


An evening of strong inspirational ladies in one room was a fantastic experience. Organised by Waterford LEO, this evening was held in the Faithlegg Hotel on the Thursday 12th October for National Women’s Enterprise Day.  The schedule was full of female business leaders and motivators such as Irene Queally from Pip&Pear, speaking about their ventures to date.

National Women’s Enterprise Day aims to, ‘inspire, motivate and support women across the country in running their own business’. And that’s exactly what they did throughout the country, and particularly in Waterford. Warmly greeted by LEO Officer Brid Kirby on arrival, and I was brought to a room where I received my name badge and goody bag. (I love free things).

Goody Bag

MC Karen Tomkins

MC Karen Tomkins, Reporter, and Journalist, was an outstanding speaker and kept the audience engaged and connected. The evening flowed nicely with her introductions and questioning the panelist.

Linda Coyle was the first speaker of the day, who provided an interactive workshop on ‘Connecting with Confidence’. An accomplished speaker and communicative leader, she imparted advice on how to portray ourselves as being fully present, engaged and connected. She advised us prior to speaking, to get a feel for the room and to establish a sense of owning that room. We practiced ‘Three circles of Presence’, with the objective of being in circle 2. We joked amongst ourselves that we may all need a little more practice at these!

Circle 1: Self and withdrawn
Cirlce 2: Present, in the moment, engaged, connected
Circle 3: Bluff and farce

Irene Queally of Pip&Pear and ambassador for NWED Waterford,  recounted her quality control standards as her production is outsourced. Being a high-risk category (Babyfood), preparation, quality control and safety are critical in her business.

Relationships with suppliers,  knowing them on a personal level with continual monitoring and spot checks have been instrumental in ensuring the quality of the product. Relationships were again emphasised, this time with customers as a genuine interest in them is more authentic.

Grainne Walsh is a lady with a mission. She wants to tap into beer tourism here in Ireland and is now searching for her third location, preferably in the city centre. She is also looking to have legislation changed where they can actually sell a 6 pack and not a 72 pack to visitors. The many hats of an entrepreneur from decision making to the fighting of legislation, were highlighted. I agree with you Grainne- we need to tap into our gut instinct more to make that decision.

Beth-Ann Smith of The Lismore Food Company strongly advised on buffering prices and how she played price hardball with a supermarket buyer. It’s important not to get pricing wrong and it is worthwhile figuring out optimum costings in advance. Getting external advice and help on this matter was highly recommended by all panelists. Collectively they warned to watch out for hidden costs, like POS items and advertising clients may wish you to contribute to. The main points were learning to say no, and to actively listen to the client, and what THEIR customer wants.

Karen Cottier of Wild Oats Soaps stated that not all hobbies are businesses and to ensure there is a need in the market. She also advised starting gradually. After that, just jump in and get on with it!  Karen also advised to be looking for the next thing, and consolidate what you offer. Planning, being proactive and goal setting are very clear here. As her business got bigger, she took on a more sales and marketing role, whilst still touching base with the operational side (i.e. Soapmaking). Her strong relationship with chief supplier Flahavan’s Oats is apparent. This is especially important as the primary ingredient in her soaps is oats.

The Panel of Female Entreprenuers

Terry Prone, writer, businesswoman and communicator extraordinaire,  was our wonderful and entertaining after-dinner speaker. This lady advocated not doing things that bring you down, take up too much time, or that you’re no good at. Her alternative is to JUST BUY IT. One does not have to do everything. My kind of hero.

I must admit my eyes slightly watered (and I gasped) when she mentioned her morning rising hour of 4am. Something had to give, and that was her social life., Oh the choices…

I recalled the elastic band trick I once heard when she suggesting snapping this band each time a negative thought creeps in. Other strong suggestions were. Don’t just lean in, but to stand up.

Never to state the words, “I just want to say/I feel/ I believe / I think” Be affirmative ladies. We need to turn down the volume on negative thinking which is more prominent in women than men.Terry was given a Standing Ovulation before, but this time we ladies gave her a Standing Ovation.

A great evening with admirable people amongst many with a hunger for success and a thirst for knowledge. Looking forward to next year’s one already.

Evelyn Fitzmaurice (Me!) Efitz Marketing

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