A WEST Cork woman in her eighties turned her dream of starting a business into reality thanks to an initiative by Age Action.
Betty Smith's efforts earned her the Hobbies on the Net Award at the 2017 open eir Silver Surfer Awards.
In the last five years, the Bandon woman has transferred the technical skills she acquired from a Silver Surfer course by sourcing ingredients and negotiating with suppliers online for her business Poitín Marmalade. The award-winning product is now available in 35 stores across Southern Ireland. Not content with just being an entrepreneur, Betty is also on a mission to make Bandon an Age-Friendly town.
She spoke of how the Silver Surfer initiative changed her life in an Age Action blog.
"I began learning how to email and use the computer in 2012 in Bandon with the lovely Julie Oates," she wrote. "Later that year my husband and I were faced with a large bill from the local vet. I came up with the idea of using what was to hand-namely a bottle of poitín and a large tin of orange pulp and out of that came poitín Marmalade."
Speaking at the awards, Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee TD praised the initiative adding:
“Going online can have enormous benefits for older people and I would encourage everyone to embrace technology. If we do it can open up a whole new world of opportunity, helping to reduce social isolation, allowing us to develop and pursue new hobbies and interests, as well as making new friends. Our later years can be a time of continued learning, of new experiences and adventures, of challenging ourselves to gain new skills and follow new pursuits. We all need to break down those stereotypes of older people as vulnerable, sick, and dependent.”