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Support for Women in Business and Tech in NI

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by Startacus Admin


Female founder or woman in business, looking to start, grow or scale a business in Northern Ireland? Here are a few of the resources, organisations and networks that should help...

Starting and growing a business can be challenging but the key thing is that you needn’t do it alone. Aside from the traditional governmental bodies and enterprise agencies, support is out there - it’s simply a matter of knowing where to find it. We want to help you do just that. And since #StayAtHome has been one of the most prevalent hashtags of the year and as Startacus HQ is based in Northern Ireland, we thought we would start close to home. So, if you’re thinking about starting or growing your business in Northern Ireland, here are a few of the resources, support organisations and networks that will most certainly help...

Support for Women in Business and Tech in NI 

Women In Business

WIB NIAs Northern Ireland’s largest business support network for women, Women in Business NI has a focus on everything from personal and professional development programmes as well as providing countless networking and mentoring opportunities. And whilst they may not be currently hosting events in real life, they have plenty of virtual events and webinars worth exploring.

Awaken Hub

AwakenHub logoThe recently-launched social enterprise AwakenHub is on “a mission to promote and support entrepreneurs and women founders across the Island of Ireland and beyond”. Their events to date have covered a range of topics including raising seed funding and growing your dream network. With invaluable insights and advice sharing, this growing community is certainly one to connect with.

Impacting Founders

Impacting foundersIn partnership with Young Enterprise NI, the Startacus team are facilitating Impacting Founders, a new 10-week startup programme for Derry City, NW and NI-based female founders, that is supported by Ulster Bank.

As well as providing key startup knowledge via local and international speakers, our aim is to help you build relevant business connections both in NI and beyond and ultimately to provide a legacy for future female founders in Northern Ireland. If you’re interested in joining us, register your details now!

Women in Enterprise

WIE logoThe not-for-profit organisation Women in Enterprise aims to give inspiration and encouragement for women across Northern Ireland to see self- employment as a real and viable option. Working with like-minded peers, they focus on networking, training opportunities and sharing relevant business information. Their goal is to inspire, connect and share and they do just that!

Women in Tech Belfast

women in tech belfastThe Women in Tech Belfast group is a Lean In circle for women who work in any area of the tech industry. Their aim is to support each other and learn new skills. They also host events - all virtual for now as you’d expect!

Lean in Belfast

leanin belfastInspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s book, the Lean in Belfast group provides support, promotes opportunities, hosts events, facilitates community initiatives and most importantly helps build networks.


corgiThe Belfast-based group Corgi is an online community and meet-up group for undergraduate women in tech. They aim to give technology students the opportunity to connect, learn and support each other in the early stages of their careers.

Women Who Code Belfast

womenwho code belfastThis is the Belfast network for the global organisation aimed at empowering women to excel in technology. They share knowledge, resources, provide networking opportunities and host events - virtual for now.

Queens University

qubsu picIf you’re a female student at Queens, the InnovateHer programme is definitely worth exploring. The programme consists of workshops on everything from design thinking to pitching, networking opportunities as well as helping students to build and develop skills. The university also has a range of other programmes for all founders at all stages.

The support and programmes offered by the organisations below are aimed at all founders and they’re certainly worth checking out...


igniteBelfast-based Ignite offers two programmes for startups - Propel which is aimed at early-stage technology companies that are in development, or have only just launched and the Accelerator programme which is aimed more at established technology companies which need help scaling and raising further investment. Both programmes offer a range of support including funding, mentoring and networking opportunities and are currently open for their next intake.

Raise Ventures

raise ventures logoThe 6-month Raise Ventures accelerator helps startups to innovate, validate, accelerate and of course raise investment. In addition to offering support and educational sessions on a range of business topics - from marketing to finance, it also offers extensive opportunities for networking and access to investors


Innovation is key with Techstart which provides two Proof of Concept Grant Funds to support entrepreneurs to explore the viability and commercial potential of their concepts and ideas; the Concept Grant which offers funding up to £10k and the Concept Plus Grant which provides funding up to £35k. Both are currently open for applications.

Local Colleges

Colleges niThe local colleges in Northern Ireland offer an extensive range of support on innovation for early stage startups and established businesses alike, covering everything from new product development, research and development through to bespoke training and upskilling. The links below outline the nature and range of support offered by each college.

North West Regional College
South West College
Northern Regional College
South Eastern Regional College
Belfast Metropolitan College
Southern Regional College

Ulster University

uustartUlster University delivers a range of programmes aimed at supporting students develop their business ideas including UUStart. This programme helps students at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey to launch their businesses and is well worth a look if you’re studying at one of their campuses.

Please note - this is not an exhaustive list, so do feel free to let us know at if you think there is another organisation, resource or support body that we should highlight.

And, don't forget about Impacting Founders, the new 10-week startup programme for Derry City, NW and NI-based female founders.

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Published on: 22nd September 2020

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