Dragon Profile - Ramona Nicholas
Ramona is 35 years old, a mother and extremely dynamic. She grew up in a small village in Co Tyrone-Ardboe, and attended St Patrick's Girls Academy Grammar School in Dungannon, where she achieved 3 A's in her A-Levels allowing her to progress to Queens University in Belfast where she studied Pharmacy for three years, before qualifying as a Pharmacist in 1999.
Entrepreneurship has been a trait Ramona has demonstrated from her early childhood. She funded her Pharmacy Degree by providing Piano lessons every Saturday and giving coaching sessions to undergrads. She began investing in the property market at just 20 years of age, the profits from the sale of her first home was used to part finance the purchase of her first business, which she acquired at the age of 24.
Ramona set up the company Cara Pharmacy in September 2002, with her now husband Canice, and the business experienced, an extensive expansion phase through organic growth and acquisition very rapidly. The group now owns 15 businesses- 12 Pharmacies, with a turnover ¤24.6M and CARA HOME, three stores which are already trading extremely well despite the Brand age profile of less than 12 months. This brand alone has future plans for expansion into greenfield sites throughout the nation, as does Cara Pharmacy.
The Company has achieved numerous awards over the last number of years including being a 'Deloitte Best Managed Company 2012', in the Final 3 Companies in Ireland in the REI Company of the Year Award, under the category of Industry Leaders and the Final 3 in e-Commerce under the category of Innovation. A classic, self-made Entrepreneur, Ramona is not afraid to take chances and work to make these commercially fruitful successes. Ramona remains abreast of modern retail successes and takes a particular interest in online retailing and the role of social media in promoting modern day business. She is extremely competitive and will ensure that everything she puts her touch on becomes a success in every way.
Having invested and worked in many areas to include fast moving consumer goods, Luxury and High-end Retail, Home & Giftware, and many services to include Healthcare, Skincare and Dentistry, Ramona's skillset is extremely diverse. Ramona has spent the last two years grooming the senior management team into roles which has allowed her to remove herself from the business to delve into other areas which she feels highly passionate about. A working mother herself, Ramona feels strongly about encouraging Female Entrepreneurship and the many 'Balancing Act' issues, facing modern women today.