National Women's Enterprise Day - Biggest-ever

Press Release                                                                                                                    04 September 2019

‘Biggest-ever’ National Women’s Enterprise Day set for October, as figures show over 22,000 female entrepreneurs received support last year

National Women's Enterprise Day NWED

  • 17 Local Enterprise Office events on October 17th will celebrate female-led businesses in Ireland
  • Event for female entrepreneurs in CARLOW taking place in Lisnavagh House
  • New figures: 22,000 female entrepreneurs took part in LEO training programmes in 2018
  • 4,500 female entrepreneurs benefited from business mentoring in 2018
  • ‘Making It Happen’ theme for 2019, to help more women start and grow their own business

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D., has launched the biggest-ever programme of events to mark National Women’s Enterprise Day (NWED) on Thursday, October 17th.  Local Enterprise Offices are organising 17 entrepreneurial events across the country under the theme of ‘Making It Happen’, funded by the Government of Ireland in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and Local Authorities.  

To mark National Women’s Enterprise Day, Local Enterprise Office Carlow is organising a major event in Lisnavagh House.  Expected highlights include interactive workshop with Business Commuication Experts from the Core Story.  The guest speakers are former World Champion and now Entrepreneur Derval O Rourke and our local NWED Ambassador for 2019, Kate Gaynor of Advanced Coatings Ltd.

Figures released by Local Enterprise Offices to coincide with the launch reveal that 21, 859 female participants took part in training programmes with their LEO in 2018, an increase of 18% on 2017 figures.  There was also a big increase in the number of female entrepreneurs benefiting from business mentoring through their Local Enterprise Office last year - from 3,832 in 2017 up to 4,565 in 2018 (up by 19%).

On October 17th, NWED Ambassadors will be sharing their success stories at events in Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford, and Wicklow.

Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation said: “I am delighted to announce the biggest ever programme of events for National Women’s Enterprise Day, which will take place at 17 events around the country on Thursday, October 17th. Ireland has some of the world’s finest women in business. We want to showcase their wonderful work to encourage more women to get into business. Supporting and fostering female entrepreneurship is a priority in Future Jobs Ireland, our whole-of-Government plan to prepare our businesses and workers for the future. Last year, the LEOs provided training to 22,000 female entrepreneurs but we want to see these numbers grow even more.”

Kieran Comerford with Local Enterprise Office Carlow said: “The theme for this year’s National Women’s Enterprise Day on October 17th is ‘Making It Happen’ and we want to highlight all the supports that can ‘make it happen’ for women in Carlow that want to start or grow their business over the next year.”

He said “It’s great to see thatnearly 40% of new business owners in Ireland are women, showing that the gender gap is narrowing according to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report**. Through the 31 Local Enterprise Offices, we saw a higher take-up of supports by female entrepreneurs last year – from those that were looking to start a new business venture by themselves to those that wanted to grow an existing family business.”

Minister Humphreys met nine NWED Ambassadors at the NWED programme launch, which was hosted by LEO Cavan at Hotel Kilmore. These included Vicki O’ Toole of JJ O’ Toole in Limerick (Ambassador for LEO Cavan event); Liz Christie of Hand-woven in Ireland in Monaghan (Ambassador for LEO Monaghan event); Kate Gaynor of The Paint Hub in Carlow (Ambassador for LEO Carlow event); Dr. Wendy Oke of TeachKloud in Cork (Ambassador for joint LEO South Cork/ Cork City/ Cork North & West/ Kerry event) and Ann McGee of MIAS Pharma in Fingal (Ambassador for joint LEO Fingal/ LEO Dublin City/ LEO DLR/ South Dublin event).

The Minister also met with Georgia Visnyei of the Art of Coffee in Leitrim (Ambassador for LEO Leitrim event); Emma-Rose Conroy of EuroStallions Ltd in Offaly (Ambassador for joint LEO Offaly, Laois, Longford and Westmeath event), Lorraine Murphy of Lorraine Murphy Coaching and Training  in Meath (Ambassador for LEO Meath and Louth event) and Mary B. Walsh of Ire Wel Pallets Ltd in Wexford (Ambassador for LEO Wexford event).

Local Enterprise Offices were represented at the programme launch by Orla Martin of LEO Offaly, Marcella Rudden of LEO Cavan, ; Enterprise Ireland was represented by Gillian Slattery of its HPSU Division and Local Authorities were represented by Lynda McGavigan of Cavan County Council.

For more information on National Women’s Enterprise Day and to find out how to book tickets at events nationwide, go to or search #NWED on social media.



*Figures released by the Local Enterprise Offices (and compiled by Enterprise Ireland)

2018       Number of female participants in LEO-run training programmes: 21,859                                                       

               Number of female participants in LEO-run mentoring programmes: 4,565

2017       Number of female participants in LEO-run training programmes: 18,536                                                              

               Number of female participants in LEO-run mentoring programmes: 3,832

**Figures from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2018

Authors: Paula Fitzsimons (Fitzsimons Consulting) and Colm O’ Gorman (Dublin City University) / Sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Link to GEM Monitor for Ireland 2018  -

Please refer to ‘Gender and Entrepreneurship’ chapter – page 35 of pdf.

For further information and booking, please contact your Local Enterprise Office - Gabrielle Carroll  - Email:   Tel 087 3483364 / 059 9129783 

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