Female entrepreneurs make colossal contribution to commerce – Pengelly and McCann

Junior Ministers Emma Pengelly and Jennifer McCann today addressed an event to mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day at the Lyric, Belfast.

The Breakfast was hosted by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and Ulster Bank and included students embarking on the working world, those starting up a business, established business owners, employees and stakeholders.

Speaking at the event Junior Minister Emma Pengelly said: “We have to break down the hurdles that many women encounter in bringing their talent, determination and skills to the fore for the benefit of all the citizens of Northern Ireland. Throughout history many of our key moments have been dominated by men, now is the time for women to write the future. Let us change this world for the better. We must harness our collective intelligence, passion and compassion to make positive changes that will shape this world for good. 

“I want women to step up and realise their full potential. Judging from the energy and enthusiasm of those here today I know we are well on the way to building a better future for all women in Northern Ireland.” 

Junior Minister, Jennifer McCann added: “Today’s event on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day recognises the colossal contribution women make to commerce. 

“Commerce like politics needs diversity, fresh ideas and contributions from a wide range of people. We must not frustrate or waste the talents of women; instead we must harness talent and inspire women. 

“We must all work hard to eradicate any social or economic barriers women face. If we increase the economic and social opportunities for all women we increase the collective economic potential of society.

“I thank the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and Ulster Bank for making today’s event happen. Events like today will excite women empowering them to be confident, ambitious and our future entrepreneurs.”

Female Business Experts Mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day With Special Mentoring Breakfast

TEN Northern Ireland female business experts will host a series of mentoring sessions this week to mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

Hosted by the The Centre for Peace and Democracy and Ulster Bank at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast on Thursday November 19, the Business Breakfast is part of a series of global events.

Running across 144 countries worldwide Women’s Entrepreneurship Day celebrates the unwavering positivity women bring to the global economy, as well as empowering and supporting future generations.

Northern Ireland Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and CEO of The Centre for Peace & Democracy Eva Grosman said: “The breakfast event this Thursday will bring together influential business leaders, entrepreneurs, change-makers and social innovators to empower over 120 women in business and inspire the next generation across Northern Ireland.

Speakers at the event include media consultant Sarah Travers, Junior Ministers Emma Pengelly MLA and Jennifer McCann MLA, Shauna Burns from the Commercial Banking section at Ulster Bank and a special keynote address from a high profiled legal expert.

Shauna Burns, Head of Mid Ulster & Fermanagh Business Centre at Ulster Bank, said: “Ulster Bank is committed to supporting female entrepreneurship and this event has provided a welcome showcase for some best-in-class local businesses.

“I’d encourage anyone who has an idea to talk to us about how we can help turn their ambition into a reality. We have the people and the products in place to support women-led businesses across Northern Ireland and help to foster a culture of entrepreneurship – as we’ll see in the Women-Led Business Category at our upcoming Business Achievers Awards.”

Mentors who will be taking various sessions throughout the morning include Cathy Martin (PR and Fashion), Ellvena Graham (Banker), Jackie Henry (Accountant), Maeve Monaghan (Social Entrepreneur), Maria O’Loane (Lawyer), Nisha Tandon (Arts and Culture), Sarah Travers (Media), Suzanne Wylie (Public Sector), Sue McAllister (Prison Service) and Tina McKenzie (Business).

Find out more about Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on Thursday November 19 by logging on to www.womenseday.org, follow on Twitter @WomensEDay or join the conversation using the hashtag #WomenWOW


Belfast to mark the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

Northern Ireland will join 144 countries across the globe to mark the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on the 19th November 2015 as Eva Grosman, CDPB CEO has recently been appointed as NI Ambassador for this initiative.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day celebrates the unwavering positivity women bring to the global economy, as well as empowering and supporting future generations.

To mark this occasion, The Centre for Peace and Democracy and Ulster Bank are hosting an exciting breakfast event which will bring together influential business leaders, entrepreneurs, change-makers and social innovators to empower women in business and inspire the next generation across Northern Ireland.

Following breakfast and networking at the impressive Lyric Theatre, an inspirational keynote address will be delivered by our special guest. There will be a unique opportunity to partake in our exciting ‘speed mentoring’ sessions, led by some of Northern Ireland’s most successful female leaders.

Guests will also be treated to the first screening of a specially commissioned video, which showcases talented female entrepreneurs from across Northern Ireland, sharing their advice and learnings.

There will also be an opportunity to find out more about some of the organisations who support women in business and female entrepreneurship across Northern Ireland.

Connecting us globally, inspiring us locally.


What: Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

When: 19th November 830am – 1030am

Where: Lyric Theatre, 55 Ridgeway St, Belfast, BT9 5FB

Book your tickets: https://getinvited.to/cdpb/wed/


Eva Grosman talks TEDxStormontWomen

NI Business Now spoke to Eva Grosman, Chief Executive of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, ahead of the TEDxStormontWomen event which will take place in Belfast later this month.

Describe your daily role:

By working with people in other areas of conflict we hope to contribute to rekindling momentum in the Peace Process and by linking with partners in political and civil society here, bring some fresh approaches to understanding conflict and addressing the legacy problems which still stand in the way of a stable, shared and inclusive society.

A think-tank component of the Centre’s activities is developed through collaboration with local academic institutions and with Oxford, Harvard and other universities. The Centre also promotes local initiatives and campaigns, such as ‘Unite Against Hate’ – a programme challenging prejudice and hate crime.

What is the best part of your job?

I work with fantastic individuals, who share similar values and vision of building a better future for the next generations, here in Northern Ireland and beyond. My job allows me to travel, to work with people from different backgrounds and cultures. I also enjoy the freedom, flexibility and independence.

Outside of your 9-5 you work on another project – tell me about that?

Yes, I’m an organiser and curator of TEDxStormont events. I’m a massive fan of TED. It is a great way to get inspired, to explore interesting concepts and to connect with people and ideas from across the globe.

What led you to start this?

I was also lucky enough to attend the TED Global conference few years ago and meet Chris Anderson, Head of TED and Bruno Giussani, European Director of TED. I applied for a free TEDx licence while working on Politics Plus at the Northern Ireland Assembly. I thought it would be an excellent way of becoming a part of the global conversation.

What events are in the pipeline?

I’m currently curating TEDxStormontWomen event, which is part of TEDWomen 2015 that focuses on women and women’s issues. The overall theme is “Momentum. Moving forward. Gaining speed. Building traction”. We’ll explore some bold ideas that create momentum in how we think, live and work. Our event is one of many TEDx events happening around the globe. It will include 10 live speakers/performers and we will also stream videos from TEDWomen in Monterey, California (including talks by Mary Robinson, Jimmy Carter and many others). The event will take place in Stormont Castle on Friday, 29 May from 2pm to 5.30pm followed by the networking reception from 5.30pm to 7pm.

How do you manage to find the time to accomplish so much?

It is all about good time management and delegation. And of course being passionate about what you do and having fun, too.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

One of the extra special achievements was definitely Gary Lightbody’s support for TEDxStormont. I had e-mailed him about getting involved – not only did he agree to speak at our event, he also wrote a song, which he performed with a younger generation of Northern Ireland finest musicians, including SOAK, David C Clements, Silhouette and the Wonder Villains. He then donated all proceeds from the record sales to the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Fund. Gary often speaks of the invisible tribe – organising TEDx is like bringing the invisible tribe together.

What is your goal for the year ahead?

I want to continue to spark exciting conversation, to reach out to wider audiences, to inspire future generations and attract TED Global to Belfast in the near future.

If you had to give one piece of business/life advice, what would it be?

Work hard, do some good and have fun!

We cannot begin to tackle hate crime and bigotry without a shared vision

A young Lithuanian woman has been left to pick up the pieces of her business – a nail bar in east Belfast – following a racially-motivated arson attack, which left the small business burnt to the ground.

This sickening attack follows on the heels of incidents in north Belfast, where Polish residents were targeted because of their race.

A few days ago, the local media reported a 43% increase in hate-related crime incidents, following the attacks on members of the Polish community; it went almost unnoticed.

During his first historic visit to Northern Ireland the then US President Bill Clinton said: “Countries are just like people with their personalities, hopes and nightmares.”

So, using his analogy, I tried to imagine Northern Ireland as a person – an insecure teenager, rather aggressive on occasions, who finds it extremely difficult to take responsibility for his own actions and is constantly blaming others. He is spoiled rotten by the rich uncles in London and an older, not rich, aunt in Dublin. He is driven, fun-loving with a great sense of humour. He even shows major potential, yet he is still unsure about his own identity, worth and future.

The question I have now is this: as a society attempting to evolve from the dark days of the Troubles into a more multi-cultural country, how can we try to mature together? We cannot begin to address hate crime, bigotry and other social problems here without a vision or a shared sense of commonality. Differences are important, but common humanity matters more.

The problem is in Northern Ireland so much is fragmented. There is so much talk about “multi-agency approach” involving strategies and action plans, but it seems that very little progress is being made. I suppose it’s part of our fledgling society which is still trying to grow up.

Perhaps we all need to take a leaf out of President Clinton’s book. He did not talk about the old, bureaucratic and mediocre networks, but a new, creative approach to leadership.

We need a new approach if we want an inclusive society here. The world is changing – and so, too, is Northern Ireland.

Together, perhaps, we can turn the immature teenager into a tolerant and responsible grown-up.