Empowering Rural Women

...to build their startups &
positively impact the social norms.

JOIN US LIVE ONLINE FOR A WEEK OF ADDED INSPIRATION from Wednesday 19 January until THE SEED FORMULA FINALE - Wednesday 26 January 2022

THE SEED FORMULA SUMMIT - Empowering Rural Women

LEDCOM, a leading business enterprise centre and social enterprise based in Larne and Ballyclare together with THE SIMPLE SERIES, a entrepreneurial business consultancy, launched ‘THE SEED FORMULA’ early September 2021 to support rural women through-out Northern Ireland. With the programme nearing completion we would love to share our open events leading up to the finale.

The speaker events and workshops are for people who are active or interested in startups, entrepreneurship and ideally in the rural community throughout Northern Ireland. 

All events are FREE, however you must register in advance.

Ulster Bank have awarded LEDCOM a grant to support the project.

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with our Finale on Wednesday 26 January 11am - 1pm


SERIES 1 – Wednesday, 19 January 12noon 

>Building your dream business with Olivia Burns

SERIES 2 – Thursday, 20 January 12noon

>The new farm entrepreneur for a new era with Susan Chestnutt & Judy Vaz

SERIES 3 – Friday 21 January 12noon

>Creating the vision of a successful start-up with Heather Russell & vision board workshop

SERIES 4 – Monday 24 January 12noon

>Grand ideas with property in mind with Laura Bayley and Eimear Gourley

SERIES 5 – Tuesday 25 January 12noon

>Coffee, Le Mans & Flying with Victoria Sheppard, Rebecca Jackson & Chris Haycock

THE SEED FORMULA SUMMIT - Empowering Rural Women
With a mix of speaking, networking and workshop events, you will hear from a number of fantastic speakers, panelists and experts who will be sharing best practices and their thoughts on entrepreneurship and the growth of rural businesses in NI.
FINALE – Wednesday 26 January 11am
  • 11.00 – 11.10  Welcome from Ken Nelson & Shirley Palmer
  • 11.10 – 11.15  John Ferris – Ulster Bank
  • 11.15 – 11.25  Special Guest
  • 11.25 – 11.50 Pitches 1 – 7
  • 11.50 – 12.00 Coffee & breakout sessions 
  • 12.00 – 12.25 Pitches 8 – 14
  • 12.25 – 12.55  Panel and Q & A 
  • 12.55  Closing remarks

Check back soon for added speakers and panelists info.

Our Host, Speakers, Panelists and Special Guests from TV Presenters, Digital Marketing Experts, Property Experts, Coffee Lovers, Professors, Foodies, Racing Drivers, Educational Advocates, Techies, Startup Lovers, Farmers to Serial Entrepreneurs & more .....

Award-winning serial entrepreneur Shirley Palmer has a passion for entrepreneurship and supporting individuals and SMEs to think outside of the box, focus on their talents, build conscious teams and brands that truly support the customers. Her vision for The Seed Formula continues to expand.
Judy and Terry started Hearty Growers early 2021. Besides cultivating fresh gourmet mushrooms, they also offer oyster mushroom grow kits ranging from pink, ivory, yellow/gold, grey to Indian oyster mushrooms. They have future plans to offer a one-day gourmet mushroom growing workshops at their mushroom farm which will give potential growers a hands-on low-tech method of growing their own gourmet mushrooms.
A chance meeting at the Highland Show in 2015 was the beginnings of the vision for what is known today at the Seaview Farm brand and business. One of the first regenerative farms in Northern Ireland run by a fantastic team and couple Shay O’Neill and Susan Chestnutt. They pride themselves in a range of products that are pasture and humanely raised, antibiotic free and 100% grass-fed.
Laura Bayley has created a magical and mystical place where family and friends can come and escape the hustle and bustle of day-today life, in an idyllic environment and always be greeted with a smile – it is call Fodder. There is a shop in a container, with a tipi for a café, situated in the middle of a wood beside a lake. It not just about the food but the experience that is created all year round.
Racing Driver, Motoring Journalist, TV Presenter, and serial entrepreneur Rebecca Jackson knows what it takes to build a brand and business in today’s environment. Having achieved phenomenal success through-out her career she continues to inspire other young women to fulfil their dreams and achieve their goals. Whilst Rebecca is now the proud Mum of twins, she has found a great equilibrium between her love of cars, presenting, writing children’s books, her charity work, creating some exciting new ventures and being a conscious parent.
Olivia Burns has always been a self-confessed candle lover. She followed her passion in 2019 and has created a fabulous range of scented candles inspired by her own scent memories and continues to live the dream as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Olivia’s Haven.
John Ferris is the Entrepreneur Development Manager who delivers Ulster Bank’s Entrepreneurship strategy across Northern Ireland. His coaching and mentoring skills has helped create 1000+ jobs, £30m+ in funding whilst supporting 650+ entrepreneurs to build and scale their start-ups. He has a brilliant and intrinsic skill as a connector and collaborator to bring people together for the greater good.
Chris Haycock is a digital marketing strategist with a quarter of a century experience designing, building and marketing businesses online. He is the founder of CliqTo Media, a digital publishing company with a portfolio of online brands that are used by 1 in 6 of the UK population.
Victoria Sheppard is the Founder and co-owner of Queens of Mayfair - London’s finest coffee shop. She has won various awards including - Top 30 under 30 in Marketing - January 2019, Top 30 under 30 in Media - Daily Mail and Mediaweek and serves as a Board Director in the luxury property / construction sector.
Carol Fitzsimons MBE has been Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Northern Ireland since 2009. Having previously specialised in learning and development in the private sector, she is a strong advocate for the benefits of providing young people with the opportunity to develop entrepreneurship skills from a young age. She is committed to providing young people in Northern Ireland with the best preparation for success in the new economy through her work at Young Enterprise – Northern Ireland’s leading business education charity.
Victoria & Grace, sisters who have a passion for entrepreneurship, business, fulfilling your passion and a love of coffee!
Eimear Gourley created KEEGO Investments in April 2020. She offers a bespoke service to those wanting to start a property portfolio with no prior knowledge. Utilising her expertise to walk you through the entire process, not only does she make it simple but also specialises in sourcing off market leads for properties saving you time, money and hassle.
Jonathan Wallace is Professor of Innovation at Ulster University and has an immense passion for entrepreneurship and business. He can often be found supporting start-ups in his spare time and is also the Deputy Chair of the NI Science Festival and the Chairperson of Antrim Enterprise.
Heather Russell and her father James Russell created Excavator Fork Lift to solve the simple logistic problem that many people in the construction, landscaping and groundworks sectors need today. Whilst it is early days for this ingenious and prize-winning design piece of equipment, they have a vision for a global brand to support the industry and not only save time but money too.


Whilst empowering rural women in Northern Ireland has been a notable policy and key factor for discussion for many years, Northern Ireland ranks as the lowest country with the overall level of female entrepreneurship in the UK. According to the UENI UK-wide study in January 2020 figures, just 27.49% of small businesses in the country are run by women, lower than the current national average. 

Did you know that –

35% of the population of Northern Ireland (NI) live in rural areas.


Let’s work together and showcase Northern Ireland to be awash with inspiring entrepreneurs and flourishing rural businesses to create more income and job opportunities.

Traditionally we may have seen some of the problems to be:

  • Lack of access to childcare facilities;
  • Poor transport infrastructure;
  • Lack of access to employment possibilities;
  • Rural women are a less mobile workforce compared to men, mainly reflecting childcare responsibilities;
  • Those most at risk of poverty include lone parents, usually women, minority ethnic women and older women; and
  • There are few job opportunities in rural areas, particularly, for women returning to work.
“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. Let’s raise each other up, be courageous, be strong and above all be kind and compassionate.”

However, in the digital age of today things are improving giving many women the ability to start a business from home and as the last 18 months have shown many women have done just that.

Over the course of the morning of THE SEED FORMULA summit we will discuss how prevalent these problems still are and how they can be better tackled. In addition, we will share added thoughts on how our programme can support you to build your dream business.

Our brilliant line up of influential speakers will help you feel inspired and motivated as they share their view and business knowledge. Their stories will undoubtedly encourage you to follow your love, passion and dream of setting up your very own business too.

With more than 1m missing SME businesses and £250bn of additional value for the UK economy. Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, March 2019.

Book Your Place

We look forward to welcoming you along to our array of events leading up to THE FINALE OF THE SEED FORMULA PROGRAMME.

You will feel inspired, motivated and  benefit from the speakers’ presentations, together with the breakouts, workshops and Q & A sessions, and all from the comfort of your own home!

Please feel free to share this event signup using the icons below for a chance to win a free place on our next  SEED FORMULA programme.

With one simple click we will invite you to all the events and you can decide which ones you wish to attend.

*Your details are used for registration purposes for the event and will not be shared.