Chique Sport owner appears on popular television show after benefiting from Council’s business mentoring programme
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has congratulated Coleraine business owner Jenna McCorkell following her positive experience on BBC One’s Dragons’ Den.
Councillor Ivor Wallace met with the former Olympian who recently appeared on the programme to showcase her brand ‘Chique Sport’ and its bespoke range of stylish figure skating training wear.
Jenna enjoyed a fantastic reaction on the programme, with all Dragons unanimous in their support. Instead of offering financial investment, they gave Jenna a confidence boosting acknowledgement of her success to date, and a belief that she didn’t have to share her business with them to generate further growth.
Speaking after their meeting, the Mayor said: “Council is very proud to have played a part in Jenna’s business journey. She was one of the first participants in our Alchemy business mentoring programme in 2015, and since then she has been a worthy ambassador for the scheme.
“Her experience on Dragons’ Den will prove to be much more valuable than investment, and I am sure that the excellent feedback she received will only serve to give her greater confidence.
“We are very fortunate to have innovative entrepreneurs like Jenna based in our Borough, and I want to wish her well as her business continues to grow.”
Jenna’s venture began after her retirement from a very successful figure skating career which saw her named British Women’s Figure Skating Champion 11 times.
Frustrated by a lack of suitable training wear, she formulated her own innovative ideas for garment design.
Jenna said: “The Alchemy programme marked a huge step for me, taking my business idea and turning it into a reality. This gave me the opportunity to work with my mentor Paul Millar and put a plan in place to activate my business. I am still working with Paul today, and greatly value the help I have received.
“The discipline of working through my action plan was crucial to achieving progress with the development of my first products and setting up my business. I knew that I would be questioned by my Alchemy mentor at our regular meetings as to why something hadn’t been done – it was like being back in training for the Olympics!”
With support from Alchemy scheme, Jenna was able to make a successful application to the TechstartNI Proof of Concept fund, and build a relationship with Invest NI, which resulted in a Silver Award for Innovation through Innovate NI.
“We are delighted and excited to have received encouraging customer feedback and increased sales from the leading countries in figure skating and are planning on further growth over the next couple of years,” Jenna added.
If you have been inspired by Jenna’s story, you can find out more about Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Alchemy programme and other business support opportunities from pre-start to growth by visiting www.causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk/work