Fifteen LEO-led events taking place across the country on Thursday, 12th October to encourage more women in Ireland to ‘open doors to new markets’ for their businesses.
An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. has launched the biggest-ever programme of events to mark National Women’s Enterprise Day (NWED), which is being organised by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) on Thursday, 12 October 2017.
All 31 LEOs, which jointly supported over 14,000 female entrepreneurs in 2016, are behind the initiative. They have enlisted the help of established female entrepreneurs to act as Local Ambassadors and share their success stories. Networking events featuring presentations by over 60 successful female entrepreneurs and business professionals will be held all over the country, from Cork to Donegal and from Mayo to Dublin.
The focus of National Women’s Enterprise Day for 2017 is on facilitating and encouraging access to new markets by female entrepreneurs. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) reports that 27% of early stage female entrepreneurs in Ireland expect to get more than a quarter of their revenues from overseas work. The LEOs have a range of supports that can help businesses to realise those expectations and the NWED events will feature female ambassadors who have already successfully availed of some of those supports.
Announcing the full programme of events for October 12th, An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD said: “I am delighted to launch the biggest-ever programme of events to mark National Women’s Enterprise Day in October. ‘Open doors to new markets’ is a very fitting theme for this year’s National Women’s Enterprise Day. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor research shows that women in Ireland are ambitious to grow their businesses internationally and my Department, through the relevant agencies, are providing the necessary supports to help businesses explore and maximise the market opportunities available further afield. I would encourage even more women to use their LEO to avail of the many supports and help them maximise the potential of their business in new markets.”
Also attending the event, Enterprise Ireland’s Female Entrepreneurship Manager, Sarita Johnston, said: “Working with ambitious female led start-ups remains a key focus for Enterprise Ireland and we are very keen to work with women starting innovative businesses that are focused on building scale and expanding reach in new markets. In partnership with the LEOs and Local Authorities, Enterprise Ireland will continue to support and increase the number of female entrepreneurs with the global ambition to scale and succeed.”
Speaking on behalf of the Local Authorities, Philomena Poole, Chief Executive of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, said: “We encourage female business owners and potential entrepreneurs to engage with their LEO to avail of the many supports available. The increase in the number of new jobs created in 2016 was assisted by LEO targeted initiatives, such as the Enterprising Women’s Network across the country. Female entrepreneurs can help to drive their businesses forward through mentoring and training, financial supports and other tools all of which are available to them through the LEO network nationwide.”
Evelyn Reddin of the Local Enterprise Offices said: “2017 will be the biggest National Women’s Enterprise Day yet with fifteen events taking place all over the country to help open more doors to new markets for Ireland’s female entrepreneurs. Through financial assistance, microfinance loans, mentoring, training and networking, the LEOs support thousands of female entrepreneurs every year and we want to celebrate their inspiring success stories across the country on October 12th.”
This year’s Ambassadors include Mary-Ann O’ Brien of Lily O’ Brien’s Chocolates; Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical; Lady Chanelle McCoy of Chanelle Medical; Fashion Designer Heidi Higgins, Sammy Leslie of Castle Leslie Estate, Dr. Xuemei Germaine of MicroGen; and Fionnuala Ardee of Kilruddery Estate Enterprises.
They’re joined by Frances McArdle of Height for Hire; Caitlin O’ Connor of Accelerating Performance; Deirdre Fee of Medical Mobility; Irene Queally of Pip and Pear; Oonagh Monahan of Alpha Omega Consultants; Sinead Gillard of Jinny’s Bakery in Leitrim; and finally, Margie Burns of Aviation Selection Consultants.
Other entrepreneurial speakers sharing their success stories at National Women’s Enterprise Day events will include Caroline Keeling of Keelings; Ramona Nicholas of Cara Pharmacy Group; Róisin Hogan of HIRO by Róisin; Sonya Lennon of Courtney Lennon; Niamh Sherwin Barry of Irish Fairy Door Company; Margaret O’Connor of Quigleys Bakery; and Deirdre McGlone of Harvey’s Point Hotel.
Tickets for National Women’s Enterprise Day events can be booked from the Local Enterprise Offices through www.nwed.ie and further details are available from @NWED on Twitter and @NWEDIreland on Facebook.