Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Cocktail Night with BPW

23 exhibitors share an evening with Sligo BPW.

Here is what you told us afterwards

What did you like about it?

I loved the whole concept. It was great to be able to actually see what other members of SWIBN did. I feel that it was also a fantastic networking evening for everyone concerned. I really enjoyed the fact that we didn't all disappear off afterwards, most people seemed to stay and socialise

What did you not like about it?

I’m not sure whether much was sold. I know we didn’t sell much but I think that the format probably wasn’t great for selling wine (who’s going to carry it around afterwards)

If we were to run it again, what could be improved/made better?

(1) get everyone to invite 2 people. Offer them something free (nibbles etc) to get a crowd (2)advertise externallly or (3) get hotel staff to tell all guests on that day or day before to come down and look.

Thanks to everyone who was involved, let's take ideas forward for the next time

by Amanda Scott facilitator

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Suzanne Kelly talks 'survival' to Sligo's self-employed women

Sligo Women in Business met on Tuesday 24th November. 37 members came to the Glasshouse hotel to hear guest speaker Suzanne Kelly.

Leading taxation barrister, broadcaster and lecturer, Suzanne offered practical advice - highlighting the essentials for surviving in business in the next 12 months.

"Cash is king, or possibly Queen, considering my audience tonight" she said

In terms of policy, Suzanne presented a 3 point recovery plan. Here is the key point which relates to small business owners (i.e. us):

The self-employed are currently the underdogs of the irish economy. They are denied State benefits accorded to others. Benefits such as pay-related social welfare, optical and dental subsidies and Family Income Supplement are refused to the self-employed. An entitlement to the equivalent amount of annual PAYE credit of €1830 is also declined.

The self-employed number about 220,000 and they are not a powerful lobby group. There are about 120,000 owner-controlled companies, usually a small or family-owned business. Again there is a denial of the PAYE credit to the directors of these companies who are PAYE taxpayers, where the credit can make a big difference to the tax bill on an annual income of 35,000.

Were you with us on the night and have a view you'd like to share? Please feel free to let us have your thoughts. As small business owners how do you think we can build our lobbying muscle? If you have ideas, get in touch.

Thank you to photographer and member Frances Muldoon (071 9177962).

by Amanda Scott Facilitator

Sunday, November 22, 2009

National Women's Enterprise Day

16 members of our network put their best foot forward at National Women's Enterprise Day November 20th 2009,

Jo Fairley told us the story of Green and Blacks chocolate and in doing so illustrated her drive for excellence, intensity and humanity.

Krishne De demonstrated the tools we need, to become 'go to' people.

And Paula Fitzsimons, M.C for the event put it up to everyone to consider a vision of growth and expansion for their business

by Amanda Scott Facilitator

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Six month review

Membership is up 34% in the first 6 months of the newly re-formed Sligo Women in Business Network. With funding from the County Enterprise Board, its free monthly events at the Glasshouse Hotel are busier than ever with late arrivals anxious to find a spare seat. Entrepreneurial speakers and engaging workshops attract even the most time-pressed Sligo Business Women with an average of 35 attending meetings. Networking activities have also gone online. A LinkedIn members group, SWIBN ( enables a community of forward thinking business women to network cost-effectively, in their own time. Susan Bourke-Monahan, Burke Property Management says the new online possibilities opening for her are very exciting. Up to date information on all SWIBN activity can be found on

By Amanda Scott Facilitator

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Demystifying Innovation for SME's

Toby Scott, created a practical 90 minute workshop for members. He focussed on cutting edge innovation techniques that could be applied to small businesses, immediately. Toby is a proponent of User Centred Design thinking and his skills were well matched to members, who are mainly in service businesses. He challenged members to try out new 'customer experience' tools and used everyday examples to build the group's observation skills - did you ever stop to think about how you eat a yoghurt?

identify-observe-involve-try - Toby's mantra for successful user-centred innovation.

Thanks for your feedback:
To see my business from customers’ eyes;
I haven’t learned to observe people that come into my shop and perhaps notice what they do;

By Amanda Scott Facilitator

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Successful Donegal entrepreneur Jenni Timoney, of Doolittle Foods came to tell us her story. How a cafe owner (with no specific business training) in Donegal town makes and delivers 8,000 handmade sandwiches to 200 outlets around the country, everyday. Just think of the logistics! That's everyday...
Jenni did this in 5 years and made it to the finals of Ernst and Young Entrepreneur. Winning new clients Aer Arann and Topaz, she is one of a small handful of genuine entrepreneur successes.

We were shocked and saddened to hear only 3 weeks later that Jenni's business had gone into voluntary liquidation. In her talk she hadn't hidden the brutal side of managing cash, expanding in an increasingly competitive and price driven market. We wish Jenni well and we fully expect see her back in business again.

by Amanda Scott Facilitator

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sligo women in Business meet Chamber at Lissadell tearooms

Colourful photos by SWIBN member Frances Muldoon, of a recent network meeting between Sligo Chamber and Sligo Women in Business Network, hosted by Isobel Cassidy at the Lissadell Tea Rooms on Thursday 24th September

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Coffee House evening

Martina Henry hosted an aromatic event at KoKo Latte, Quayside, Sligo. Like all great coffee houses, conversation was the focus for this social summer gathering. To ensure the evening had a business focus, we re-created our Agony Aunt problem solving circles which had been so popular the month before. Members were able to get fresh perspectives on their business needs while offering up new ideas to others.
Help desk: Debbie Woodward and Cristina Luminea (who kindly created our blog - thank you) our member IT experts, set-up a help desk in the corner of the cafe, for members grappling with how to create a LinkedIn profile and use the SWIBN group for the first time.

By Amanda Scott Facilitator

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Social Networking and Conversation Marketing

Johnny Beirne introduced members to social networking and conversation marketing in a masterclass which aimed to highlight the revolution in of 'word of mouse' connections. The event prompted so much interest that we invited Johnny back in September, to do two half-day workshops for 20 enthusiastic members. On the back of this initiative, we launched our SWIBN LinkedIn Group. We are delighted to see so many members engaging in minute by minute social networking activities.

By Amanda Scott Facilitator

Monday, June 29, 2009

John Teeling Chairman Cooley distillery guest speaker

Nobody disagrees with John Teeling's 4 core themes for entrepreneurship -vision, ability to gather resources, handle risk and uncertainty, energy and determination.

When it comes to discussing risk however John’s traditional view perpetuates the old myth - women, he believes are less likely to take risks and this is one reason we have fewer female entrepreneurs, than male ones he insists.

“ They have an appetite for risk alright, but need to ensure that the level of uncertainty is as low as it can be. Perhaps it’s women’s instinct to protect the nest that influences this! “ Says Oonagh Monahan, facilitator of SWIBN.

Fortunately members took a robust attitude to John Teeling’s pragmatism and commented positively on the key elements they got from his talk. ‘Run with your vision’ said one member and ‘maintain it’. ‘Failure isn’t that big a deal’ said another and finally ‘embrace uncertainty’. A practical note, gender neutral and one we could all do with remembering.

by Amanda Scott - SWIBN facilitator

Friday, May 29, 2009

SWIBN re-launch May 2009

Photographer Carl Brennan/The Sligo Champion

35 businesswomen created a real buzz at the first meeting at the Glasshouse in May. Terri Scott , President of the IT arrived saying that she didn't have to ask the way, she followed the noise to the top floor. A 'Just a minute networking' activity gave everyone the chance to perfect their 'business pitch'. Linda Moffitt from Vision Interiors, commented on what she'd learned from the event: " get the business message across and not to be embarrassed about it". Affirming this Oona Doherty, successful salon owner, says "be definite in asking for business".
Asked about the benefits of an active women's network in Sligo, Joan Ward of Sligo Office Supplies, believes that even if you are established, there are always new customers. Helena Perceval, one half of culinary business venture, Quirky Cooks says the network is ideal for getting women taking about her new Temple House,, cookery demonstrations.

by Amanda Scott Facilitator