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18/11/20 Business Showcase #MEABusinessStars – ONUS


MEABC Business grows through COVID-19

ONUS was established as a social enterprise by Women’s Aid Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey (ABCLN) in 2007 and offers specialist training and consultancy services on domestic violence or abuse.

The range of supported  pathways for participation enable everyone to play their part and the business works with a wide range of organisations, including employers, community groups Churches and schools, to provide training and resources in recognising and responding to domestic abuse and referring on to appropriate services.

COVID 19 significantly restricted the ability for ONUS to continue the day-to-day delivery of this extremely vital service as all training and consultancy was provided face to face. However, through engagement with one of Council’s Business Client Managers, ONUS was matched with a specialist mentor on the Business Escalator Programme.  Through 21 hours of mentoring support, ONUS were able to quickly review their operations and alter their business model to respond to the new working environment, enabling them to deliver training, workshops and seminars online to individuals from the comfort of their own homes.

ONUS continues to grow its client base significantly and despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, continues to go from strength to strength. The support has enabled them to enter new markets with the expansion of their offering to individuals and groups based in ROI and GB.

Colette Stewart, Onus Chief Executive, says the “Covid Crisis presented many challenges for Onus and we recognised the need more than ever to continue to provide our range of specialist services and time was off the essence.  Thanks to the support from Mid and East  Antrim Borough Council and in particular our Business Client Manager Ally McGarry, we were immedialtely offered a range of business support programmes to suit our individual needs and enable us to transition from face to face provision to online .  The stepping stone was the Business Escalator programme followed by the Digitial Boost programme to progress us on our journey.  We were also offered additional progression routes and have also availed of Emerge by Intertrade Ireland to assist us with our expansion into the ROI.  This support has ensured not only the future sustainability of Onus but the opportunity for growth.  I would highly recommend all of the programmes and the mentor support has been exceptional.”