The goal of the programme was to support the creation of self-employment amongst rural women. It aimed to provide business skills training for females living in South Cork who are considering self-employment or who may recently have set up a business. It aimed to harness their unique local knowledge and pride place to sustain self- employment, rural lifestyle and community. SECAD drew on its long history of supporting rural communities and entrepreneurship to shape and tailor the programme with partners to meet the needs of the programme participants.
The programme took place in two locations, one in a rural Gaeltacht area at Ballingeary, Co. Cork (14 participants) and one urban at Ballincollig, Cork (13 participants). To be eligible for the programme participants need to be in receipt of a social welfare payment or not working but not receiving any social welfare, or self-employed on a low income.
Commencing January 2017, the programme took place over two mornings per week over seven weeks. The course is scheduled to enable participants to balance family commitments while also planning and developing their business venture.
The programme offered female entrepreneurs with a business idea support and the opportunity to take their idea or existing business to the next level. It also offered participants and opportunity to engage with likeminded peers.
Specifically, the programme focused on:
- Support to identify a sound business idea
- Personal motivation and goal setting
- 1-to-1 Business mentoring
- Support to prepare a business plan
- Presentation skills & confidence building
- Marketing & utilising social media
- Finance and related supports
SECAD coordinated the programme, recruited suitable participants and also provided trainers and mentors to support the direct provision of modules associated with personal motivation and goal setting, dealing with challenges female entrepreneurs face, access self-employment supports, funding supports and the preparation of supports for a presentation showcase and the development of personal action plans.
SECAD partnered with Rubicon, CIT Campus, Bishopstown, Cork to deliver group training modules and individual supports. Udaras na Gaeltachta also supported the programme as it took place in Ballingeary, located in the Cork Gaeltacht area of Muscraí.
As part of CIT’s annual Innovation Week (mid-March), participants from both Ballingeary and Ballincollig were invited to participate in a networking event to showcase their fledgling businesses.
Participants also took part in showcase event at the end of the programme where they set up promotional stands and delivered a one minute ‘’Dragon’s Den’’ style pitch.
SECAD successfully secured funding for a successor programme to Cumas, the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN). This is new accredited female entrepreneurship business training programme launched in July 2017.