Presentation of Certs to WCD to Business Graduates in Athlone

In the picture: Back Row: from left - Oliver Kelly, Vinny Bagnall, Keith Dunne, Viktor Podcernin, Seamus Caulfield (tutor), Seamus Dolan, Tony Flannery, Shane Gavin . Front Row from left – Seamus McKenna (Westmeath Community Development), Maria Bourke, Margaret Hargraves (FETAC Co-Ordinator), Dan Grehan (Programme Manager), Siobhan Redmond & John Kelly.

On Monday April 22nd, 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. Sixteen people completed the programme and 11 have now gone on to establish their businesses and one has since gone into full-time employment.

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 120 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 – Personal Development Coach, Psychic Readings, Landscape/Gardener, Pub Rental, Home Maintenance, Fitness Instructor, Electrical Service, Wooden Floor Sales/Fitting & Restoration, and Carpentry Service.

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.