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The Business Development Programme (BDP) is a special Community Employment (CE) which is in operation since the late 1990's. The BDP enables unemployed people considering self-employment to undergo an accredited business development programme (FETAC Level 5) while developing their business idea and their business plan.

The course is funded by the Department of Social Protection's CE programme and it runs for a period of 24 weeks, alternating between Athlone and Mullingar. Participants attend the course one day per week, and receive one to one sessions with the coordinator and tutor and outside advisors if required.

The course is one of a number of supports that WCD has in place to support new businesses being established by people on the live register. To find out more about these supports visit our Enterprise Supports.

For further information on the BDP contact:

Dan Grehan on 044 9348571 or email: dgrehan@westcd.ie

Seamus McKenna on 090 6494555 or email: smckenna@westcd.ie

Presentation of certificates to Westmeath Community Development Business Graduates

On Monday December 10th last, the most recent graduates of the Westmeath Community Development Business Development Programme were presented with their FETAC certificates. The course, which had been run over 6 months, and was funded by the Dept. of Social Protection/Fas and  the Local and Community Development programme.  Eighteen people completed the programme and 15 have now gone on to establish their businesses. 



Graduates of the FETAC accredited Business Development Programme run by Westmeath Community Development in conjunction with the Department of Social Protection/Fas and the Local and Community Development Programme: Back Row - Dan Grehan, Programme Manager, Nicholas Cooney, Justin Ryan, Patrick Kilmurray, Seamus Caulfield Tutor, Noel Boyce, and Joe Potter CEO Westmeath Community Development. Front Row – Rosaleen Coates, Wendy Clinton, Imelda O’Donnell, Margaret Hargraves FETAC Co-ordinator & Angela Maher.

The Business Development Programme is a special CE scheme that has been running in Westmeath for over 10 years. It enables unemployed people considering self-employment to undergo an accredited business development programme while developing their business idea and their Business Plan. Dan Grehan, Programme Manager, commented “the course is one of a number of supports that Westmeath Community Development has in place to support new businesses being established by people on the live register. In 2012 we have had over 100 people establish new enterprises, primarily through the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance schemes that we operate in conjunction with the Dept. of Social Protection.” 

CEO of Westmeath Community Development, Joe Potter, complemented the graduates and wished them well in their ventures “in the current climate it can seem quite daunting to go into self-employment, but the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well in Westmeath and Westmeath Community Development, through the Rural Development and Local Development Programme,  and the other agencies in the county, like the County Enterprise Board, will continue to provide supports for new businesses, as the micro enterprise sector will be key to getting the country out of recession.” 

The course tutor, Seamus Caulfield, of Metamorphosis Consultants, noted that this was a particularly strong group. “The dynamic in this group was very good, while the businesses are in diverse sectors, this can assist the small business in identifying their own strengths and weaknesses and the challenges they are likely to face in their ventures”.  

The businesses established included – Gluten Free Bakery, Photography, Wood Craft, Landscape Gardening, Guitar Teacher, Hairdressing, New Build Project Management, Herbal Healing, Chimney /Stove Cleaning, Home Healthcare, Plumbing Service & Career Guidance Coach.

For further information on the Business Development Programme, or on supports available from Westmeath Community Development, please contact Dan Grehan on 0449348571 or Seamus McKenna on 090649455.

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