On a mission to build one of the biggest healthy lifestyle communities in the country, Olympian Derval O’Rourke is Going for Growth with Derval.ie.
Going for Growth, a programme jointly run by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, assists ambitious women entrepreneurs to achieve their growth ambitions.
So far more than 850 Irish women entrepreneurs have participated in the award-winning programme, including Áine Kerr of Kinzen. The 14th cycle of Going for Growth reported significant results for its 57 participants. Combined turnover increased from €35m at the start of the cycle to €43m by the end, a 23% increase in just six months.
“The last two years have been tough on so many people, but the pandemic has also massively accelerated interest levels in digital health and wellness as everyone tries to put the worst behind us”
Going for Growth is now inviting ambitious women entrepreneurs to take part in its 15th cycle with the deadline for applications set for Friday 18 November.
As a three-time Olympian and former world champion, Derval O’Rourke does not need any introduction to an Irish audience. And her background in the world of athletics uniquely positions her to have a voice of authority in the world of fitness, food and wellness.
Established in 2017, Derval.ie is a healthy lifestyle platform where Derval shares her learnings from her former professional career as well as expert voices from the world of wellbeing.
The website is an innovative Business to Consumer (B-C) subscription-based model that offers members an affordable platform where they gain access to expert advice and community support. While other online platforms focus on either food, fitness or wellness, Derval.ie has a unique blend of advice from a range of experts on all three.
As an athlete, Derval was operating as a sole trader and always knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur. “I had lots of ideas for a business going through my head during this time. I wrote a cookery book, which was more of a passion project than a business idea, but it was successful and that was where the seed was sown.”
Derval works with her business partner Greg O’Gorman and together they have grown Derval.ie to a subscription base of 12,000+, which is available in both the Apple Store and Play Store. The company has also recently launched a Business to Business (B-B) offering. It’s in the B-B space where Derval sees further opportunities for growth.
“The last two years have been tough on so many people, but the pandemic has also massively accelerated interest levels in digital health and wellness as everyone tries to put the worst behind us” says Derval. “Not only do people really want to continue to engage online about health and wellness, but businesses are now so much more aware of the importance of their people to their company’s success and how vital it is to focus on the wellbeing of their workforce.”
Derval is passionate about expanding the business to deliver wellness into the B-B market and repeat for businesses the success Derval.ie has had with its B-C members. She intends to also pivot her online shop so that it is aligned with her B-B ambitions in the future.
Derval was on the 9th cycle of Going for Growth with Caroline Keeling as her Lead Entrepreneur. She also participated in Going for Growth’s follow-on programme, Continuing the Momentum, in 2020 with Breege O’Donoghue as her Lead.
“The key to the business is building a community of people that support each other. Our aim at Derval.ie is to be the biggest online community in the country and to keep delivering real value at a relatively low price. Going for Growth massively helped me to grow and develop the business. It pointed out to me where the gaps in my business were and I loved that as, where there are gaps, there is room to grow.”
The call is open for applications from female entrepreneurs who would welcome peer support to take their businesses to the next level by taking part in the Going for Growth programme. This is the 15th year of Going for Growth and more than 850 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the programme. Sixty places will be available for the 15th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2021 and the deadline for applications is Friday 18 November 2022. There is no charge for those selected.
Anyone interested is encouraged to register on the website goingforgrowth.com