A COOKSTOWN woman who set up a new business during the pandemic, has praised the impact of a local start-up support programme
Former social worker and mum of three Ashlene McNamee launched her own holistic therapy business through the Go For It programme in association with Mid Ulster District Council.
She set up Ashlene Rosanne Holistic, offering reflexology, reiki healing and also delivering sound meditation classes in Cookstown, Dungannon and online.
She delivers reflexology to clients in her premises outside Cookstown and also in the community for cancer patients with Care for Cancer in Omagh.
November 2020 was when the mum-of-three considered changing career in order to have more time at home with her children. Ashlene said, “It was lockdown and the children were being home-schooled at that stage. I was having to pay somebody to come to the house to home-school them because I was out at work and my husband was working and farming.
“So I just made the decision that I would leave work and when lockdown lifted, I would give it a proper go.”
Ashlene got in touch with the Go For It programme on the advice of her sister who had previously set up her own business.
“She said to give Go For It a ring as they might have grants. Go For It didn’t have grants, but they could do a business plan and I thought I might need that wee bit of backbone,” she says.
“I never had any issue with doing the work, but I was finding it a bit scary to push myself for more work. I hoped it would give me the confidence to keep going and that was it – the business plan.”
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Córa Corry, congratulated Ashlene on her success, “The Council is delighted to support new businesses like Ashlene’s. She is a perfect example of what is possible with just one great business idea and the proper support. We are proud of our strong entrepreneurial culture – of which Ashlene is a fantastic example. I wish her and her thriving business every success in the future.”
Business adviser Shauna Rooney said, “The business plan really helped Ashlene focus on the financial aspect of running a business such as developing a two-year financial forecast and costings for her target market, as well as the necessary sales and marketing techniques required to get the business up and running.
“It is fantastic to see Ashlene’s business grow, and we have no doubt that it will continue to flourish, we wish her every success for the future.”