The Queen’s Students’ Union’s Enterprise SU team has supported 21 female students through the Innovateher programme; an initiative to encourage female entrepreneurship and teach vital business skills to undergraduate and postgraduate students at Queen’s.
Throughout the programme, the students have received mentorship in the areas of Idea Generation, Finance, Marketing, Pitching and Leadership. They also took part in an Inspire Me session where they heard from three local business leaders; Naomh McElhatton from the She Said Club and Stimul.ai, Cara Doherty from Maverick Marketing, and Victoria Patterson from the Mayfair Group and conducted a business visit to ByCaitlyn Cosmetics where they heard from Bangor-based female entrepreneur, Caitlyn Lendrum.
Praising the InnovateHer programme, Megan-Caitlin Dallat, MSc Software Development student said:
“Before joining the course, the idea of becoming an entrepreneur had never really crossed my mind, and I guess I had never thought it would ever be an option for me. However, after attending so many insightful sessions and practical workshops I’m now finding myself referring to a lot of the course material for new projects, like many of the other amazing women I met. It’s opened up so many options to me and has been one of the highlights from my year of returning to education.”
Business Management student, Georgia Hoy, notes:
“So happy to have completed the InnovateHer 2021/22 Programme! The past 12 weeks have given me a real insight into entrepreneurship, while also teaching me countless transferable skills and introducing me to many inspiring women in business. It has been a pleasure to work with such a great group of girls, who helped make the experience all the more memorable.”
The programme has been sponsored for a third year in-a-row by local legal firm, Baker McKenzie, as well as by long-standing supporter, Woman in Business. Following graduation, the female students have received a years’ worth of free Women in Business membership to the Young Women’s network allowing them to develop their careers and network with fellow women in business through the organisation.
Maeve Gorman, HR Business Partner from Baker McKenzie, has said:
“Baker McKenzie have been delighted to sponsor InnovateHer for the past 3 years and have been very impressed with the calibre of students and the enthusiasm they have portrayed throughout the programme. We are very committed to supporting the next generation of female leaders and hope that those that have completed it, develop skills that will assist them in whatever career path they choose. After the last few years, I am excited to meet the next year of students and am delighted that we will get a chance to hold the sessions and graduation in person!”
Speaking about her role as InnovateHer programme manager, Francesca Morelli, Enterprise SU Development Officer, said;
“I was really pleased to be able to deliver the programme through a blended approach this year, allowing the girls to work remotely as well as meet up for in-person events. They really appreciated being able to meet up and network with like-minded females after two years of a remote university experience. The feedback from the programme has been incredible, and we’re really grateful to our partners, Baker McKenzie and Women in Business, for enabling the programme to happen. We’d also like to extend a sincere thanks to Enterprise SU Entrepreneur in Residence, Helen Keys, who supports the girls in mentorship throughout the programme. We wish the cohort the best of luck for the future!”
The graduation saw each team take away a share of £1000 as a prize for their business ideas that had been pitched to a panel of judges the day previous, awarding the most innovative idea, best pitch, best use of technology, judges’ choice, and best social enterprise. We hope to receive a positive uptake in the programme again next year by way of high volume and quality applications.