The beautiful surrounds of Rockhill House Estate was the setting for a very festive Christmas lunch hosted by the Donegal Women in Business Network on Tuesday.
Members and guests gathered for a networking afternoon with a celebratory twist, as it was the final event of the 20th Anniversary year of the non-profit peer support group.
Donegal’s women in business have a lot of achievements to look back on in 2019. The anniversary year saw the network host monthly events, launch an eBook and hold a major conference with some of Donegal’s best-known businesswomen in October.
The Christmas lunch event at The Church Restaurant was a time for members to catch up on the year gone by, to thank each other for collaborations and referrals and to build more contacts for 2020.
PRO Evelyn Mc Glynn highlighted the remarkable level of connection that was shared during events and online networking throughout the year. Evelyn also shared a taste of what’s to come in 2020, including the first event of the year at Bank of Ireland Letterkenny and a February event with Rural Enterprise Skillnet.
Guest speakers at the lunch included Brenda Hegarty from Donegal Local Enterprise Office and Isobel Cunningham from the Department of Business Studies at Letterkenny Institute of Technology.
On behalf of the local enterprise office, Brenda Hegarty commended the Donegal Women in Business Network for all their fine work in their anniversary year and added that LEO was proud to support the network.
Brenda outlined the range of financial and non-financial supports that LEO offers for people planning, starting and growing their business. Supports such as direct grants, feasibility studies, mentoring and trading online vouchers are all provided to help local businesses start or grow.
Isobel Cunningham commented that she was ‘flabbergasted’ by the great work that she saw was being done by the Donegal Women in Business after she attended the 20th anniversary conference.
Isobel commended the female entrepreneurs who generate revenue for their locality and discussed the LYIT’s strategic plan to enhance entrepreneurship education and to grow the understanding of entrepreneurs.
In her role, Isobel said that her focus is on female entrepreneurship, while some of her research Masters students are working to collaborate with the network and research into members. Their studies aim to provide helpful knowledge for entrepreneurs to do their business better.
Isobel called on members to get in contact and provide vital insight for the studies, in order to inform policymakers.
The Christmas lunch was a mix of merry celebrations and valuable networking. Businesses provided prizes for a raffle and many members shared gifts for a popular Secret Santa.
Members were also treated to a tour of the main building at Rockhill House, where they learned about the centuries of rich history behind the restored building.
The tour guides, including Katheryn Molloy, shared stories from the estate dating back to the 17th century and showcased the many carefully preserved elements of the original property, which has now been transformed into a luxury hotel and venue on the outskirts of Letterkenny.
There’s a lot to look forward too with the Donegal Women in Business Network in 2020. With a new committee, new events and new members always welcome, there’s never a dull moment with this vibrant and diverse group.
Find out more about the network and membership at: https://donegalwomeninbusiness.com/
See more photos from the event below: