National Women's Enterprise Day 2019




The largest-ever programme of events for National Women’s Enterprise Day has taken place across the country this week (on October 17th). An annual initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), including LEO Clare, the theme for this year’s event was “Making It Happen” with the aim of inspiring more women in Ireland to start and grow their own business.



Organised by the Local Enterprise Offices in Clare, Limerick and Tipperary, the networking event for entrepreneurs took place in Dromoland Castle. Over 160 local entrepreneurs and businesswomen participated and speakers included: Jean McCabe – Willow, Fiond Steed – former Rugby International and Sonya Lennon – Designer, Broadcaster and Entrepreneur. MC for the event was Ciana Campbell.


Other special guests on the day were Birgitta Curtin of the Burren Smokehouse, Caroline Mitchell of Caroline Mitchell Knitwear and Florrie Purcell of The Scullery. The networking on the day was facilitated by Jackie Gowran of Business Weaving.


National Women’s Enterprise Day was officially opened by Pat Breen T.D., Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, who attended the Dublin event in Fingal. He said: “It is important for Ireland as a country that there should be a far greater participation of females in our entrepreneurial landscape and it is very positive to see the stats moving in the right direction. Events like National Women’s Enterprise Day play a key role in continuing that momentum.  Ireland has a marvelous entrepreneurial culture that is evident across the world and we need more females to become part of the journey.  Today is about celebrating those who have already done it and encouraging others to take the first step. I would encourage all budding female entrepreneurs to contact their Local Enterprise Office and check out the range of supports that are available.”


Padraic McElwee of Local Enterprise Office Clare, said; “Now in its thirteenth year, National Women’s Enterprise Day is an important milestone in the Local Enterprise Office calendar. It gives us the opportunity to highlight the success stories of women in Clare who continue to do amazing things in business, across every sector. The day itself is also an opportunity for businesswomen to network, engage, share tips and advice and to find out what supports are available for their business through their Local Enterprise Office.”



National Women’s Enterprise Day has grown year-on-year with 17 events taking place across the country with over 1,700 female entrepreneurs in attendance. This growth in popularity has been reflected in the national growth in female entrepreneurship across the country. There was an 18% increase in female entrepreneurs taking Local Enterprise Office training programmes last year as almost 22,000 female entrepreneurs and businesswomen engaged with their LEO on supports in 2018. The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report for Ireland also shows that nearly 40% of new business owners in 2018 were women.


On National Women’s Enterprise Day, some of Ireland’s best-known female entrepreneurs shared their experience at events in Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow. Those taking part included; Fashion tech entrepreneur Sonya Lennon, former world champion and digital health and wellness entrepreneur Derval O’Rourke, Sonia Deasy of Pestle & Mortar, food entrepreneur Catherine Fulvio, Caroline Keeling of Keelings, Vicki O’Toole of J.J. O’Toole, Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical and Rhona Togher of Restored Hearing.


National Women’s Enterprise Day is just one of the initiatives of the Local Enterprise Offices aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and assisting companies to start up and grow. Others include Local Enterprise Week, the National Enterprise Awards, the Student Enterprise Programme, Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE), Local Enterprise Showcase in the RDS and the Local Enterprise Village at the National Ploughing Championships.


Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities are funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland