Donegal Women In Business

For this month’s ezine, we caught up with Jo Daly, President of the Donegal Women in Business Network. Jo is an active member of the Donegal Food Coast and is well known in the Donegal business and hospitality sector; she and business partner Debbie O’Reilly run the award winning Quay West restaurant in Donegal Town. Originally from Clonard, Co. Meath, Jo has made her home in Donegal since 1987 when she arrived to train as a chef at the LYIT School of Tourism in Killybegs.

Donegal Women In Business

Tell us a little about the Donegal Women in Business Network.

We are a non-profit network that provides support for women looking to start up in business in Donegal, as well as those already in business, no matter what level they are at.

Donegal Women in Business is there to help provide support and mentoring and offers women in business the chance to network and liaise with each other and share knowledge.

We celebrated our 21st anniversary last year. We have over 200 members in the network with a vast range of experience and knowledge that we share with members.

Can you describe the typical working week in your role as President of the Donegal Women in Business Network.

I regularly liaise with PRO Evelyn McGlynn and the secretary Patricia McGinley and we host monthly committee meetings to determine how we can improve the network, how to help women improve and promote their business in some way. We also spend quite a bit of time discussing what courses or online training we can offer to members.

Food Coast Donegal

What are the benefits of being involved in the network?

Membership is definitely advantageous because we actively promote and support each other. Having your business listed on our website and the mentoring and advice members receive are obvious benefits along with the exposure on social media and our private network page. I believe networking among members either physically or virtually is of great benefit. Our coffee mornings, hosted by Evelyn McGlynn, are an amazing opportunity where we can meet new members and keep up to date with what each other is doing. We are a very close community. We send business each other’s way. If a member has a question, somebody in the network will be able to assist and provide answers.

How are businesses navigating through the pandemic?

There is no doubt that businesses everywhere have been dramatically affected, particularly in my own sector, hospitality. But there has been a steady increase in new members during the past year and a half because many women realised they needed more support and help in their business and they came to us. We also work closely with the team at Local Enterprise Office Donegal and they have been of great support to our network members especially during the pandemic. There has also been a huge increase in remote working because of lockdown and many people have relocated to Donegal over the last year, which has also led to more interest in our network. There were a couple of ladies who relocated to the county over the past couple of years and the network has been really important to them, giving them a place to belong. They felt they arrived home when they joined the network and made new friends and contacts. I really enjoy working with the Donegal Women in Business Network and I am extremely proud of the work we have done over the years in helping women to follow their business dreams.


Donegal Women In Business