Women highlight innovative routes to business success

Invest Northern Ireland’s Innovation Week continued today with business women showcasing how they have harnessed innovation to maximise their contribution to industry.

Today’s events highlighted how by doing things differently, women have enormous potential to succeed, even in industries traditionally dominated by males. The day’s events were completely dedicated to profiling these women as role models to show how they have embraced the concept of innovation. So far, around 1000 local business people have been registered to take part in Innovation Week 2007, attending events held across Northern Ireland.

At a breakfast event this morning, delegates heard how entrepreneur Maria Clarke, Managing Director of Kilrea based Classic Walls, has proven that there are no longer any no-go areas for women in business. Joining Maria was Dr Shauna Herron, another successful female entrepreneur and innovator, and Managing Director of Insituform Environmental Technologies, an award winning civil engineering company with 22 staff. Shauna has been the driving force in civil engineering; a sector that is generally male dominated.

Patricia O’Hagan of Core Systems Ltd and Dr Sharon O’Kane of Renovo spoke at this afternoon’s event. Both women are leaders of science-based companies, and both have something else in common, they ‘think outside the box’.

Tracy Meharg, Managing Director of Innovation and Capability at Invest NI, says: “Many sectors are traditionally driven by men, and successfully so, but research has shown that women are more likely to be innovative and creative with their ideas. When this is twinned with the fact that innovation is a key driver in today’s scientific and technological business environment, it is clear that we have a huge untapped resource for business growth in Northern Ireland.

“Through profiling successful role models, we hope to challenge women to enhance their contribution to a range of sectors by exploiting the innovation within.”

Innovation Week ’07 continues on Thursday with regional events in Belfast, Ballymena, Londonderry, Newry and Omagh. Friday’s event at W5 looks at ‘Young People and the Future of Work’.