MADE in Mourne helping creative talent
We talked to Jenna Stevenson about how MADE in Mourne came about
In 2008 I went travelling and spent some time in Australia. While there, I worked on Pukara Estate’s Olive Grove, where I developed a real passion for artisan food. I fell in love with the product and saw an opportunity to import the Oils & Vinegars, and so did that upon my return home to Northern Ireland.
While selling my products at artisan markets in noticed that many of the makers had difficulty getting their product to market. From there I came up with a new business idea BITETOSAVOUR an online/offline artisan food business specialising in craft food boxes containing Northern Irish artisan food and drink.
While developing my own business I also set up the Mourne Entrepreneur’s Network, feeling a need for support from like-minded young business professionals and realising that they probably felt the same.
After having children I decided to move my business back to Kilkeel as I found that commuting to Belfast wasn’t sustainable. Although it was a necessary move, I found myself trying to build an online business in a barn in the countryside. As a result felt isolated and very unmotivated.
I used the network to discuss how I, and the other young entrepreneurs involved, should and could come together to create a communal workspace to base ourselves and grow our businesses together. An inspiring and stimulating environment. From this we realised the need for a creative hub in Kilkeel.
MADE in Mourne was created
We went from concept to opening in just 98 days! MADE in Mourne has been a real community project, with an estimated £25,000 given in the form of both financial offerings and donations.
You could say MADE in Mourne was built by the community; the coffee area was donated, as was the till area labour was donated, even the cushions and blinds were donated. As a result, the community feel invested in MADE in Mourne and it’s future.
What happens at MADE in Mourne
The Shop - which provides a practical route to market for 50 local makers.
The Hub - where any local start ups can come and work.
The Studio - with nine resident small and start up businesses
The Community - creative community groups of artists, photographers, poets and film makers
The ambition for MADE in Mourne
We have developed an Economic Strategy and a Tourism Strategy. Our Mourne 2021 economic strategy has the ambition to get £1million investment and launch 21 new creative start-ups in the Mourne region. We have already helped 5 companies get started and see the target of 21 as achievable.
We are currently working towards getting an online shop up and running and hope to launch in early 2019.
How can the Mourne Diaspora get involved?
Tell the world with pride where you come from and help us put Mourne on the world map and if you are at home visiting, please pop in and say hello.
We need your stories to inspire future young entrepreneurs.
We recently had Johnny Ward from OneStep4Ward drop in with us during a recent visit home. Johnny is the face and founder of a hugely successful travel blog. While here, Johnny used our Creative Hub to catch up on emails and also share his story with local entrepreneurs at one of our networking events.
Keep up to date with what’s happening by signing up to the MADE in Mourne Newsletter or following us on social media.