Featuring Chris Shannon, Student Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Manager of UUSU Enterprise Centre, Leona Donaghy, Founder of Wholehearted Environments and Gabi Burnside, Entrepreneur Acceleration Manager of Ulster Bank, the third episode of series two takes a look at the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northern Ireland, barriers facing aspiring entrepreneurs and the inspiring start-up journey from one successful female business owner.
Whilst positive strides have been made in new business creation in Northern Ireland in recent years, studies show that entrepreneurial activity is typically lower for females than males, with men three times more likely to start their own business than women.
To help tackle gender disparity, a partnership between Ulster University and Ulster Bank was established in early 2020 with a focus on driving more young females towards a career in entrepreneurship. A shared ambition to support more aspiring females to achieve their full potential resulted in the ‘So She Did’ initiative, a unique programme delivered by Ulster University Business School and Ulster University Enterprise Centre, and funded by Ulster Bank. The programme aimed to help female students achieve their entrepreneurial ambitions through free access to mentorship, workshops and one-to-one support from local business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Speaking about the success of the initiative on the podcast, Chris Shannon, Student Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Manager of UUSU Enterprise Centre said:
“We had over 400 female graduates taking part, our youngest was 22 years of age and our oldest was 65 years of age so we had a broad range of participants, ideas and solutions. We had 21 new businesses created and we had over £36,000 in revenue generated in the first months of 2021 by these new businesses.”
The Business of Possibility podcast series, available via all major podcast apps including Spotify, Apple, Google and Ulster University Business School’s website, features conversations with a host of dynamic business leaders, industry experts and academics on a range of topics from skills and economic recovery to unlocking creativity in the workplace.