The Donegal Women in Business Network adapted to the ‘new normal’ of networking for a successful online event today.
Collaborating with LYIT DICE Labs, the network brought more than 100 people together for a large scale Zoom call to shine a light on the Entrepreneurial Mindset. That very mindset has been running in full tilt in many women in business in recent months as they face these turbulent times.
The webinar event, presented by Dr Isobel Cunningham of LYIT Department of Business and Donegal Women in Business PRO Evelyn Mc Glynn, focused on how unique qualities are already instilled in every entrepreneur, they just need to act on them.
The structure of the event itself was a strong example of resilience and resourcefulness. With no budget or no extra technology supports, the LYIT and DWBN gathered men and women from across the country for the virtual meeting, and it was very much business as usual on the novel platform for many.
Behind the scenes, Ruth Lennon of LYIT Department of Computing provided tech support and DWBN Secretary Trish Mc Ginley took care of admin.
Four Donegal businesswomen shared their inspirational stories on how they made their business and non-profit projects work during Covid-19. The stories of innovation, grit and resilience served as a reflection of all people in business today who are thinking outside the box to face challenges and seize opportunities.
Karen Gallinagh Murphy from Karen Murphy Speech, Drama & Communications rose above restrictions this spring to teach her drama lessons online. It’s been a win-win for herself and her clients as Karen overcame her ‘technophobic’ thinking to open up a much wider potential client base.
“It was that or nothing” for Karen after her face-to-face classes had to be cancelled and schools closed. But she used her entrepreneurial ability to adapt and to make her business work in a new way.
Another resourceful local woman, Barbara Edwards, switched her WellExpo business model from a health-based event into an online platform for SME supports.
Barbara’s twice-weekly webcasts now connect people who provide assistance by sharing information with others during Covid-19. The new approach all grew from Barbara’s re-thinking of her brand and recourses at a time of need. Now, she is happy to do something that is of value and benefit to others.
Donegal Town restaurant owner Jo Daly brings huge value to her community during Covid-19 via ChefAid Donegal. Jo co-founded the Quay West restaurant in 2016 alongside Debbie O’Reilly. They were looking forward to a positive 2020 until Covid-19 came along.
However, the day after their temporary closure, Jo co-founded ChefAid with other local chefs to provide hot meals to the elderly and vulnerable at home.
The initiative reflects Jo’s own entrepreneurial mindset of always “forging ahead” and problem-solving. She kept going with a positive attitude and now leads a successful project that has expanded to help thousands of people across Donegal.
Edel Mac Bride has also built a community project in response to Covid-19 after her business plans were put on hold. The renowned knitwear designer collaborated with Moville Clothing in March to set up #PledgeScrubs – a gifting initiative that has provided 2,000 uniforms to frontline workers.
Edel’s idea worked because she gave people a clear opportunity to help the Covid-19 fight and offered her services to make it happen. “I always wondered how it felt if you took your own need to one side and looked at what you could grow in a different way,” Edel said.
The entrepreneurs’ stories all prove that a crisis can be turned into an opportunity to experiment and take action. The webinar also revealed data from a survey conducted by LYIT Research Masters student Yousra Kabir on how local women in business have reacted to the crisis. The findings, based on the responses of 113 women, also showed a shared resilience to setbacks.
The morning event, through local stories and research, offered attendees an opportunity to focus on their own skills and develop their entrepreneurial mindset for the ‘new normal’ we face in the year to come.
Donegal Women in Business is a voluntary not for profit support group for all women in business or with an interest in business and the events are member led. They are always welcoming new and returning members.
For further information, or to join the network visit the Donegal Women in Business Network website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.