Laura lights a spark in female workwear

Yes You Can, the female enterprise support initiative delivered by Women in Business in collaboration with Invest NI and 11 Councils, announced its overall winner for the 2021 £20k Pitching Competition during the inaugural All-Island Female Entrepreneurs Conference.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 1:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 1:30 pm
Pictured are Nicky Scott (Head of Programmes at Women in Business), Laura Mulkeen (Founder of Hex Workwear), and Sarah Travers (Former BBC News Journalist and Event Host).
Pictured are Nicky Scott (Head of Programmes at Women in Business), Laura Mulkeen (Founder of Hex Workwear), and Sarah Travers (Former BBC News Journalist and Event Host).

Laura Mulkeen from Londonderry was awarded £5,000 for her business, Hex Workwear, which specialises in creating purpose-built workwear for women within STEM Industries.

After spending years as a coded pipe welder, Laura put her first-hand experience of the challenges caused by poor workwear, including burns and other hazards, to good use to create the company.

With the extra financial support from the Yes You Can programme, she aims to light a spark and bring about change for the STEM industry, creating workwear for women in response to the limited selection of professional, high-quality clothing for tradeswomen in hot-working and electrical industries. Laura was among this year’s six regional winners, who each pitched their businesses during the All-Island Female Entrepreneurs Conference that took place earlier this month. Each runner up also won £3,000 for their respective business ventures and include: Rachel Coulter of Stable Manager, Jenny Greg of Crafted Equestrian, Michelle Donnelly of Freds Threads, Catherine Deegan of Doc Elite and Lynette Valerie McHendry of Spear and Arrow Bone Broth.

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Yes You Can is a three year business start-up and growth initiative designed to support, encourage and inspire female entrepreneurs from the early stage through to growth. The programme is a collaboration between the 11 local councils, Invest NI and Women in Business.

Nicky Scott Head of Programmes, Women in Business, said: “This is what the Yes You Can initiative is all about – empowering female entrepreneurs and business owners to platform their business ideas and gain invaluable feedback from their peers. A big congratulations to Laura for her inspirational pitch, and to our five regional winners this year who dared to say, ‘Yes I can’.”

Laura Mulkeen, Founder of Hex Workwear, added: “I am absolutely thrilled. The Yes You Can programme, and this year’s five finalists have all taught me so much, and it was an honour to pitch alongside them. Winning the Pitching Competition will support me greatly in two ways - to test and manufacture the products and also to deliver an effective launch. I am currently in talks with an established manufacturer which has received the highest global awards for ethics and sustainability. It will also enable me to collaborate with a marketing agency to build awareness and anticipation around the brand to win customers globally, something I could not otherwise hope to do.”

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