Course opens potential of women in business

Linda Coyle used to be “a busy fool” preoccupied with the humdrum routine of running her business — now she’s a savvy entrepreneur with an eye to the future, thanks to the help of a Women in Business Programme run by her Local Enterprise Office.

Christine Heffernan, LEO Cork North and West; Linda Coyle, voice therapist, and Kathryn Kneefel, Blue Badger Studio. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney

“I first started working for myself because of family commitments and, for many years, I scheduled my work around the needs of my young children,” said Linda, a voice, music, and speech and language therapist.

One of 13 West Cork women who have just ‘graduated’ from an intensive three-month Women in Business training course, Linda says she benefited significantly from the programme which is funded and managed by the Local Enterprise Office, Cork North and West.

The aim of the course, which started in September and targeted women who were a year or more in business and had up to 10 employees, was to help participants realise the potential in their company and plan for future growth.

“I was putting limitations on myself and juggling my work around the needs of the family,” recalls Linda.

“When you’re in business you can spend a lot of time doing the work and not enough time working on the business.

“You can be a ‘busy fool’,” she said, adding the course helped her metamorphose into a “savvy entrepreneur”.

“For me, a key part of the course was that it helped me take ownership of the business and carve out the time to develop it.”

The course helped her join up the dots.

“It gave me the chance to carve out time for the business, to deep-dive into all aspects of it,” said Linda. “A key thing for me was that it helped me join the dots between different aspects of the business. I would encourage others to do one of these courses.”

Linda said that when she started working for herself, she was experienced in her speciality area but not an experienced business person.

As part of the course, participants were given the tools to grow and develop their commercial businesses — these included the areas of strategy, planning, finance, raising money, marketing, sales, public relations, social media, and pitching.

Another programme participant, Kathryn Kneefel, of Blue Badger Studio who creates custom illustrations of pets, said the course opened her eyes to possibilities that she had been missing out on.

“My artwork is now being sold internationally and there are many more exciting things in the pipeline to look forward to, thanks to this programme,” she said.



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