In the run up to Local Enterprise Week 2016, which takes place from 7th – 11th March and is being organised by the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, three participants on the current LEO Wicklow Start Your Own Business Course talk about their decision to start their own business. The Local Enterprise Office Wicklow runs six of these ‘Start Your Own Business’ (SYOB) courses per year, and each course takes place one evening per week for ten weeks. The aim of the course is to help participants establish whether or not their business idea is viable, and to give them an understanding of the different elements required to start a business.
Aoife Mullane of A.mullanedesign designs luxurious and unique textiles for interiors. Aoife recently graduated from NCAD, where she studied printed textiles. As she was getting lots of inquiries from potential buyers, Aoife decided to seize the moment and start producing more work. ‘While my creativity is a key business component, I wanted to do the SYOB course to find out all about the ins and outs of running a business. At the course I am gaining a wealth of information that is relevant to my start up. It is giving me a great helping hand – there are so many things that you might not think of’, says Aoife.
When asked how LEO Wicklow has helped her, Aoife comments: ‘I have found all my encounters at LEO very helpful. As well as attending the SYOB course, I have also been attending meetings regarding my business plan. It is a great service to get advice on your business idea, and the funding opportunities that are available. I also attended a trading online seminar, which I found really engaging and would definitely recommend.’
Aoife proudest moment so far is winning an international award for her designs at a ceremony in London. Dame Zandra Rhodes was one of the judges and Aoife was stunned when she was announced as the winner. Aoife is determined to keep her business growing and her products can soon be found on www.instagram.com/a.mullane_design/
Another participant on LEO Wicklow’s SYOB course is Tommy Gray, who has been working as a free lance drummer for the past five years. Like a lot of musicians, Tommy began playing at a young age, having been inspired by the music he was listening to. He studied in Newpark Music Centre on the BA in Jazz Performance Degree Programme. When asked why he decided to sign up for the SYOB course, Tommy answered: ‘To start a successful business, you need something which you are passionate about, and a plan to make that profitable. I have the first part in the bag. At this course I’m learning more about the second part’.
‘LEO Wicklow provide a great service by running these courses. I plan on enrolling in a bookeeping and taxation course once I finish this one. Our teacher, Jacqui McNabb, has been doing a really great job in class, and has even helped me via email with some queries I had in regard to operating as a sole trader’.
You can find more information about Tommy Gray on: www.tommygraymusic.com
Another fine example of the entrepreneurial talent emerging from County Wicklow is Saorla Gallagher of Cártaí Rúbaí. Cártaí Rúbaí sell Irish language greeting cards online and in various shops around Ireland. Saorla has recently taken over this business from her sister who started it. She is passionate about design and her intention for the future is to grow this quirky Irish language greeting card business into a brand.
Saorla’s advice to other start-ups is: ‘Be prepared to work hard, believe in what you do and trust your own instincts. Have an original idea and love it!’
For more information on this truly Irish business see: www.cartairubai.ie