Back Row Left - Right: Darragh Keegan, Noel Broderick, John Neilly, Helen English, and Dan Grehan W.C.D. Seamus McKenna W.C.D. Seamus Caulfield Tutor.

Frint Row Left - Right: Concepta Conlon, Margaret Hargraves W.C.D. Laura Leonard W.C.D. & Nicola Murray.

On Monday September 1st, the most recent graduates of the Westmeath Community Development Business Development Programme in Athlone were presented with their FETAC certificates. The course, which had been run over 6 months, and was funded by the Dept. of Social Protection and the Local and Community Development programme. Fourteen people completed the programme and ten 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.  To date we have had over 150 participants establish new enterprises, primarily through the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance schemes that we operate in conjunction with the Dept. of Social Protection.”

Laura Fallon – Financial Controller W.C.D. presented the FETAC Certs and 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 Co Westmeath with Westmeath Community Development’s Rural Development and Local Development Programme, as well as 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.”

Course tutor, Seamus Caulfield, of Metamorphosis Consultants, stated that this year’s group was particularly strong “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”.

Nail Technician,Personal Development Coach, Psychic Readings, Landscape/Gardener, Cooper, 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 044 93 48571 or Seamus McKenna on 090 64 9455.