07/06/2012

Inspirational Women Helping To Boost The Rural Economy

Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill today highlighted the opportunities available for rural women to set up in business.

The Minister was speaking at a seminar in Cookstown entitled ’ 'Yes We're Worth It!' which featured a range of businesswoman who have capitalised on their rural roots and are now successful entrepreneurs. Organised by Rural Network NI, the seminar featured speakers whose entrepreneurial spirit has been supported by the NI Rural Development Programme.

The Minister said: "Despite the economic gloom and their busy lives, often involving the responsibility of childcare and eldercare, the women presenting at today’s seminar have been able to capitalise on their personal skills and ambition to create fruitful rural enterprises.

"I would encourage any would-be female entrepreneurs to be inspired by these inspirational women, and to transform their business ideas into reality and to make use of the opportunities that exist under the Rural Development Programme. Whether it be diversifying a farm business, creating or developing a business or becoming involved in social enterprises which help our rural communities survive and thrive, rural women have the potential to help grow our economy."

The Minister added: "Women are a key target group for the Rural Development Programme with over 200 projects where women lead or are involved in having received a letter of offer. To ensure that the views of women are represented in the decision making process for the award of funding in local areas, a total of 66 women sit on Local Action Groups across the north. In addition to the positive work taken forward through this Programme, my Department has set itself challenging gender targets to reach by 2016, across all of its business functions. I am confident, that by working together we can increase the involvement and participation of rural women generally, and ensure that they have strong voices and seats at all decision-making tables."

(CD)

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