Starting Strong is the most recent in the suite of complementary initiatives and is designed for ambitious female entrepreneurs who are at an early stage in the development of their business. The business will typically be in the early revenue or pre-revenue stage, but will have moved well beyond the concept stage. Starting Strong is aimed at exceptional female entrepreneurs, whose length of pre- revenue development, degree of innovation and growth potential are all significantly greater than the norm.
It was recognised that Starting Strong participants would have less resources available to them than Going for Growth participants, as many of them are at an early revenue or pre-revenue stage and would need further supports. Accordingly, as well as the funding for Going for Growth, which underpins the basic costs of running Starting Strong, additional sources of funding were sought to meet these additional needs.
We are delighted that the following corporate sponsors have become Starting Strong Supporters for 2018 – Beauchamps, Boots, Citi, Glandore, KPMG, Megazyme, Paypal and Softco. The support by these corporates meant that Starting Strong participants have a specially tailored programme; they will attend several relevant topic based workshop. A major celebratory event will also be held at the end of the cycle.
The 2 Lead Entrepreneurs facilitating the Starting Strong Round tables in 2018 are:
Below are some testimonials from the Starting Strong Participants:
Áine Mulloy GirlCrew
The Starting Strong programme gives a great foundation for building your business.Its fantastic to be able to connect with other founders and discuss problems you are facing together. Its great to share the highs and lows of work life with others who are thinking of taking their company to the next level.
Andrea Linehan GRID Finance
The peer learning in Starting Strong was phenomenal. The entrepreneurs in my group were smart, ambitious and generous with their support and experience. The learnings from these sessions will continue to influence my decision making as GRID scales.
Aoibheann O’Brien Bia Food Initiative
Starting Strong is a great opportunity to meet entrepreneurs at a similar stage of development, to share challenges, opportunities and connections and to support each other, all under the watchful stewardship of a Lead Entrepreneur who has come through the other side!
Bernice Moran The Be Sweet Company
Starting Strong will forever have a positive impact on the future of The Be Sweet Company. The cycle nurtures significant aspiration for growth and builds relevant knowledge and skills, through workshops, a National Forum and monthly meetings with a Lead Entrepreneur. Starting Strong has educated me and brought my company from a pipe dream to a fast growing global business. Paula Fitzsimons and her team excel themselves with their well-balanced communication, professionalism and their unwavering belief in us. I am so grateful to have been a part of this community.
Christine Carolan Carolan Gifts Limited/Happy Nest
The Starting Strong program was by far one of the most beneficial programs I have attanded since starting my own business. Having a Lead Entrepreneur really gave me direct line to the experts. Our Lead was extremely open and honest and was ready to tell it how it is, giving at times constructive feedback and other times praise when goals where achieved. As a group of female entrepreneurs together it was a perfect oppourtunity to share our trails and tribulations, offer advice, support and friendship. I will stay in touch with my fellow Starting Strong candidates and look forward to our next meeting.
Ciara OHalloran The Redbank Food Company
Starting Strong has benefited me by opening up my peer network and support to include strong, ambitious and influential women in business which in turn encourages me to aspire to similar levels.
Elaine Cohalan The Dublin Cookie Company
I would highly recommend this programme. It opened up our minds, ambitions and focus as well as enabling us to forge pathways to achieve our goals.
Elaine Lavery Improper Butter
I was delighted to be involved in the Starting Strong initiative. it was a privilege to meet such a great group of business women from a variety of backgrounds. It has been truly inspiring to watch each other's businesses grow, from overcoming the lows to relishing the highs. The programme has really given me the strength to persevere with my goals. Each session topped up my confidence and encouraged me to push on in achieving my own ambitions.
Elizabeth Fingleton Obeo Ltd.
Starting Strong gave me the opportunity to meet inspirational entrepreneurs who I could share the difficulties I was facing in my business. I received practical advice and direction on how to overcome these issues and I really benefited from the topic based workshops during the programme. I would highly recommend it.
Gina Cassidy Purcell & Woodcock
Starting Strong is a unique opportunity to gain invaluable advice from hugely successful businesswomen who give their time and energy so generously. It will force you to step back from the operations of the business and challenge you to believe that anything is possible. It will offer networking opportunities at the highest level and the insights into proven business models and strategies will be instrumental to your business. I cannot recommend the Programme highly enough to ambitious entrepreneurs. I am confident that Purcell & Woodcock has started strong and I look forward to continuing my journey within this fabulous community.
Irene Queally Pip & Pear
I found Starting Strong a huge benefit to me and my company. There was so much learning from the group and from the Lead Entrepreneur. It can be a lonely place setting up a new business and all the stress that goes with it. I found great support in the fact that I wasn't alone in making mistakes and through the process found lots solutions. The programme is practical and professional and I am very glad to have been able to be part of it.
Isolde Johnson The Cool Bean Company
This programme has been an amazing learning curve for myself and for Cool Beans. Starting Strong enabled me to take a step back from the daily operations and focus my attention on developing strategies, long term planning and business goals in a supportive and cooperative environment.
Jennie McGinn Opsh
Starting Strong has transformed how we think about Opsh. We are more strategic than ever before - culturally, operationally, commercially. The programme has helped increase our commercial opportunity by 400%. In addition to that, we have made great contacts, advisors & have even managed to do business with some of our peers the best kind of result!
Jennifer Rock CleanseOffMitt
Its refreshing to be among like-minded women with huge global dreams no apologies, just determination. Its also given me a network that has been, and will be, invaluable to my business. I found the whole experience challenging and insightful.
Jillian Stout Jills Kitchen
I feel that you get out what you put in. Like anything in life, taking part in Starting Strong is about taking the advice and nuggets of information, applying it to your own business and moving forward with it. I learnt that the worse thing you can do is stand still for fear of making a mistake. The only mistakes to be made are in not taking any steps towards your business goals.
Joan Woods Waters + Wild Organic Perfumery
Starting Strong has been a great experience. Meeting like minded women going through the same trails, tribulations and highs of running your own business. Sharing information honestly and supportively with the help of a knowledgeable leader. An invaluable experience.
Joanne Casey Glow Metrics
I have throughly enjoyed Going for Growth. The support and my Lead Entrepreneur's advice has given me greater confidence to make better business decisions. The roundtable discussions provided a platform for each of us to share similar challenges and oppourtunities we face when running a business and has allowed me to build a concrete netowrk of fellow women entrepreneurs.
Lucinda Kelly Popertee
I have met some of the most ambitious, focused and kind girls who have similar motivations to me, looking to grow a global business. Having this strong network has enabled us to bounce ideas o? each other, learn specialised topics as part of our sessions and ultimatelyhas contributed to the successful closing of the Popertee seed round during the course of the programme
Martina Skelly YellowSchedule
Joining a network of passionate, committed and extraordinarily ambitious female entrepreneurs has motivated me to think bigger and push harder in my own business. The structured topic-based meetings enable participants to distil the key learnings and apply them to their business. I am privileged to have taken part this year. I highly recommend participation to female entrepreneurs who are serious about building their business.
Mary Meyler K+M Aquatic Plant Entreprises/Ocean Leaves
Starting Strong is an exceptional program. It gave me the oppurtunities to network with sucessful female entrepreneurs and to be able to learn from their experiences. Participating in the programme gave me the moral support I was looking for. The round table sessions were helpful for brainstorming ideas and delving into our business strategies, helping us to focus on growth for the future. It was also inspirational to meet so many talented people with amazing entrepreneurial skills.
Mary O’ Brien VideoDoc
I loved Starting Strong experience. The whole process is brilliant, we had an amazing Lead Entrepreneur, who inspired us by showing us what was possible and being so generous with her time, advice and feedback. I moved to setting realistic and concrete goals as a result on the participation in Starting Strong. What's great is you not only get to work with your own Lead but it is a brilliant oppurtunity to meet other business leaders. The programme is a really unique environment and I would highly recommend anyone starting out to apply, everyone you meet are incredibly generous with time, advice and sharing their own experience.
Moira Kiely Xhail
Starting Strong was a fantastic experience. The comradery between the participants was extremely positive. The group provided a sanity check when I needed it most. They were a great support.
Olivia Hartigan BONAGREW
Starting Strong is an opportunity unlike any other to examine your business in the confidence of like-minded individuals with a shared goal, to learn and succeed together. Despite missing one session to give birth to my second son, I have found the program fundamental in keeping me focused on my goals. The leadership and participants involved are inspiring and informing. With real-life challenges and solutions shared from a variety of business models, I feel more confident that my business is starting strong. I hope to continue to be involved with this great network of women.
Ollwyn Moran Creeper Crawlers
Being a participant on this years Starting Strong programme has been a transformative experience. I have changed the way I view myself in business. I feel more empowered, focused, energised and brave. Having Susan Spence as my Lead Entrepreneur was absolutely inspiring and having such a wonderful group of peers around the table, was not only supportive but eye opening to realise that despite being in different fields, we all were experiencing the same struggles.
Pamela laird MOXI LOVES
Having like minded peers you can pick up the phone to or send over an email to looking for feedback is invaluable! No man is an island and I now feel part of a community.
Roz Martin Martin Biotech
Taking part in Starting Strong has helped me define a clearer, more focused strategy on how to scale our business and in particular design the architecture how to do that the way we want to do it. At the beginning of the course, I was somewhat apprehensive that we would all come out of Starting Strong with a prescribed, one size fits all business model, and one that I didn't want to adopt. However, working with our Lead Entrepreneur, I began to develop the business model that not only suits our business but also makes it a profitable and scalable one. It has reignited the excitement in the business. I have come away from Starting Strong with a top level view of the business, as a business owner rather than a day to day business operator.
Siobhan’ ni’ Chofaigh Mint Tek Circuits
Starting Strong for me was a monthly check in with people of diverse experience and expertise. They positively asked 'why' when I struggled and applauded when I suceeded. I hope I did the same for them. I made some brave decisions in their protective custody.
Susan Talbot SkyTango Ltd
Six months of Starting Strong has been a huge confidence booster. You don't know, what you don't know, and Starting Strong filled in some of the blanks. It enabled me to ask questions and get practical answers in a very safe and supportive environment. I would say it should be a prerequisite for any female entrepreneur embarking on this journey, because it takes a village....!
Tara Van Zyl Seamless
Being the founder of a very early stage start-up, I knew I wanted to be a part of the Starting Strong programme. Early is the best time to surround yourself with success. My eyes were opened to new possibilities and my aspiration has grown to the greatest proportions. My mind has been opened to achieving great success. I was lifted to new heights, as seeing success around you makes it easier to believe you can do it to. I got so much more from the Starting Strong programme than I imagined I would. It was entirely inspiring, and educating, it has prepared me for my new career. The early stage support and encouragement has been so valuable, especially going forward and trying something new.
Valerie Vetter Afterhere Ltd
As an early stage start up business, I have an awful lot to learn. However having had the incredible oppourtunity to be a participant in the Starting Strong programme, I've found my progress has now fast tracked. I am very grateful for the genrously-shared knowledge of this network of formidable women and experienced mentorship. There's no doubt that Starting Strong has rescued me from countless potential future pitfalls on my entrpreneurial journey.
Vanessa Creaven Spotlight Whitening
Beginning the cycle I expected I would gain a lot of expertise, but I had no idea as to the extent of that expertise, or the friendships I would make along the way. Thank you.