The festive season is in full swing with many Christmas events happening city and county wide. On Tuesday the 5th of December the Waterford Micro Business Network (WMBN) together with the Waterford Social Enterprise Network (WSEN) ended the year with a fantastic Festive Business Showcase in the St Patrick’s Gateway Centre. The event included great entertainment, food, speakers and 33 local micro and social enterprise businesses all displaying their products and services while making new connections and enjoying the evening.
The evening began with the wonderful musical talent from some members of the Island of Ireland Peace Choir who created a joyful and relaxing atmosphere with their festive tunes. The St Patrick’s Gateway Centre was also filled with the smells of mulled wine, home baked cakes, canapes provided by Mezze and GIY, along with the laughter and chat of all the attendees enjoying the evening. Irene Treacy from Smovey Health remarked that ‘the atmosphere was brilliant, everybody was in high spirits, the businesses did great stalls providing such a selection of food, drinks, beauty and health services’ adding that ‘the choir were unreal.’
The MC for the evening was local business woman Nichola Beresford from Anchor Spirits Ireland ltd who kept the whole proceedings running smoothly. After the event Nichola remarked that it was ‘Great to see collaboration among businesses of all types in Waterford. It was great fun.’
Liz Riches from the Waterford Area Partnership and WSEN spoke about the importance of social enterprises for our society, how they seek innovative solutions to impact on complex social issues, provide employment opportunities to sustain communities and re-invest traded income back into the business mission. Liz introduced Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award winner 2017, Tammy Darcy from the Shona Project. Tammy shared her personal story that led to the start-up of her social enterprise which provides resources for young women to develop leadership, support each other in achieving goals and overcome bullying. Cllr. Eddie Mulligan who attended the evening expressed that he was ‘inspired by a fantastic brave personal insight by Tammy’.
Waterford Chamber Skillnet Coordinator Kelly Cummins introduced the new Collaborative Enterprise Network for Business Start-Up Services in Waterford. The Waterford Area Partnership, Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Waterford Local Enterprise Office, Waterford Leader Partnership, Waterford & Wexford Education & Training Board and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, have all teamed up to provide information on services available in Waterford to anyone starting up their own business.
The evening ended with an inspiring, poetic and empowering speech from a very relaxed Waterford Senior Hurling Manager Derek McGrath. Derek compared his management skills to running a business, how he and his team have dealt with the ups and downs of the sport, the importance of understanding what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes and tips on how he inspires his team to improve on their performances.
WMBN committee member Carmel Grant from Events by Carmel said ‘the Festive Business Showcase was a huge success because of the wonderful support from all participating businesses, the choir and the beautiful venue which all added a joyful and relaxed atmosphere.’ ‘WMBN networking events are always very informal, relaxed and ideal for anyone starting or running their own micro business and need some support’ said WMBN chairperson Joyce O’Carroll from Wigworld, ‘and the festive business showcase was a fantastic way to end a great year of networking.’ The event was sponsored and supported by the Waterford Area Partnership and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. To attend any of the WMBN events go to www.waterfordmbn.com for more details. For further information on WSEN contact Liz Riches at Waterford Area Partnership.
Photographs by Noel Browne