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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Co Antrim start-up scoops top prize at all-Island pitching competition

Group of businesswomen

A County Antrim businesswoman has been crowned as one of two winners of the Yes You Can £4,000 pitching competition which reached its grand finale at Friday’s All-Island Entrepreneurs Conference, presented by Women in Business.

Louise Adams from Glarryford in Ballymena was one of 10 all-Ireland winners to emerge from the Yes You Can female enterprise programme, who each pitched live in the Slieve Donard Hotel, Co. Down, for additional funding to support their entrepreneurial endeavours.

As voted by the audience, Louise scooped the Northern Ireland prize with her business Cultshe, a clothing and lifestyle brand for the female rural worker and women who love the countryside. The local entrepreneur walked away with an impressive £2,000 to support the development of her business.

Commenting after being announced as Ni winner, Louise said:

"Today I was pitching at the Women in Business NI All Island Entrepreneurs Conference in the Yes You Can Pitching finals 2023 alongside five other fabulous female founders.

"This years theme was "Dare to Compete" and that's just what I did.

"I am delighted to have been voted this years winner! Thank you to everyone who offered me words of support, encouragement and congratulations. I am truly blown away."

Catherine Devine took home the same prize fund for her Republic of Ireland based business Pumpskynz.

Lorraine Acheson, Managing Director at the WIB Group, said:

“It’s a real privilege to help propel the next generation of women-led start-ups at what was our 7th All-Island Entrepreneurs Conference.

"On behalf of the Women in Business team, I would like to congratulate all our Yes You Can finalists who demonstrated not only their innovation but their courage and determination to pitch live to an all-island audience.

"A special shout out must go to our overall winners, Louise and Catherine, whose businesses are true innovators within their respective fields. I am excited to see all our finalists flourish in the years ahead.”

A stage for start-up success, the Women in Business All-Island Entrepreneurs Conference welcomed over 300 delegates from all across Ireland, including business owners and entrepreneurs, to promote cross border opportunities.

The only all-island conference on the entrepreneurial scene, event host Naomh McElhatton welcomed a line-up of inspirational speakers to the stage, including Alex Depledge MBE (Resi), Norah Casey (Planet Woman and former RTE Dragon), Aisling Bremner (top NI marketing consultant), Francesca Morelli (VAVA Influence) and Melanie Breslin (The Elite Mindset Academy).

Commenting on the importance of this year’s all-island conference, Lorraine added:

“By signposting opportunities and support structures we can unlock new opportunities for female enterprise on an island-wide scale. Under this year’s theme, Dare to Compete, we encouraged entrepreneurs from all sectors to grow their business, expand their market and connect with key investors. I am delighted that Women in Business is celebrating entrepreneurial role models and leading in the discussion on the opportunities and challenges that female entrepreneurs face when scaling their businesses.”

The Women in Business 2023 All-Island Entrepreneurs Conference was sponsored by InterTradeIreland, Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, Glandore, and the Yes You Can programme.

For further information on Women in Business and the Yes You Can programme visit:


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