The visit to N Ireland 4 – 7 June 2014 is part of an EU funded project called European Network for Women in Rural Areas (ENWRA). The purpose is to link women from other regions of Europe to look at how to address the difficulties women face with childcare, rural isolation and lack of employment opportunities.
Over the next 2yrs each of the partners hosts a visit to their region to share the variety of work and activities that women are involved in rural areas. Visits have already taken place in Spain and Cyprus.
The visit is organised by Heather McLaughlin, Europe Direct Northern Ireland as the UK partner in the ENWRA project and supported by Teresa O’Loughlin, Chair of Network for Enterprising Women in Fermanagh who runs her her marketing and consultancy business ‘Think 6″.
The visit to N Ireland began in Belfast and after a meeting in the EU Commission Offices to discuss the project work plan the group travelled to Dungannon, Co Tyrone to visit First Steps Womens Centre which provides support, training and education to women ready to return to work or set up their own business.
The group then moved to County Fermanagh to share the experiences of local women and how they live and work in a rural area. Women from Poland, Hungary, Cyprus, Turkey, Poland and Spain visited and met the following businesses run by women in rural areas of Fermanagh. The women ran a wide range of businesses including goods and services. The purpose was to meet, discuss and inspire ENWRA participants to think of the skills and expertise they have which they could develop as a business from home.
Anne Rutledge: Tudor Farm Guest House. Bridie Gormley: Dulrush Guest House Linda Harron: Swicks Candles Teresa O’Haire: Orchard Acre Farm Fiona Kerr: Fiona Kerry Jewellery Anita Muckerjee & Eva Harenza, Women of the World Gabriele Tottenham, Blaney Yoga and Spa Linda Johnston: Film Maker & Relationship Education Expert Sarah Compton: Use Yourself Well Louise Reilly: Talk-Up Marketing Consultancy Louise Hardman: Wove in Hove Weaving Shauna Gallagher: Nature’s Inspiration Cosmetics B Baker: Home made baking
It was clear to the visitors that although women in this area faced the same issues of lack of employment the women had responded to the problem by setting up their own business to create employment for themselves. The businesses of the women entrepreneurs used their skills which ranged from crafts to professional services. Most of the women were sole entrepreneurs working so it was important for them to have an opportunity to network to support each other to share difficulties and to promote each others business and collaborate where possible. The Network for Enterprising Women was a great opportunity for women entrepreneurs to meet all of these networking and support needs. The other difference which was highlighted between women entrepreneurs in N Ireland and the other regions was the use of digital media to promote the business. Many of the women entrepreneurs used Facebook, Twitter and Blogs to promote the business much more than on other regions where digital media was rarely used.
Meetings and visits to other project partners take place on the following dates:
Spain 9 – 13 October 2014
Cyprus: 6 – 9 February 2014
Northern Ireland 4 – 8 June 2014
Hungary 1 – 4 August 2014
Turkey 9 – 13 October 2014
Germany 10 – 14 December 2014
Cyprus 29 – 31 March 2015
Poland 19 – 22 June 2015
“ This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”