Biggest-ever National Women’s Enterprise Day taking place on October 18th

Local Enterprise Office Laois is encouraging more women to go from ‘local to global’ with their businesses by helping to organise events around the country, with over 1,000 female entrepreneurs expected

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D., has launched the national programme of events for National Women’s Enterprise Day (NWED) 2018 taking place on Thursday 18th October with 16 major entrepreneurial events planned across the country, including an event for women in the Midlands region to be held in the Backstage Theatre in Longford.

This initiative is led by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide, and funded by the Government of Ireland, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and Local Authorities. The Local Enterprise Offices have organised a programme of events under the theme “From Local To Global” aimed at inspiring the next generation of female business leaders to take their local ideas and make them a global success.

In 2017, the Local Enterprise Offices played a key role in supporting female entrepreneurs across the country to start, and grow, their business.  Over 18,500 female entrepreneurs took part in training, mentoring and networking programmes with their Local Enterprise Office in 2017.  The Local Enterprise Offices also supported over 280 female-run businesses with funding last year to help them startand grow their business. 

On October 18th, the event for Laois female entrepreneurs is taking place in the Backstage Theatre in Longford and speakers include Alison Ritchie of Polar Ice in Portarlington, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, Louise Lovett of Longford Women’s Link, Ciara Donlon of THEYA Healthcare, Dr. Ciara Kelly, Journalist & Broadcaster, Dr. Anne Cusack of Critical Healthcare, with broadcaster Sinead Hussey.

Encouraging local entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners to attend, Evelyn Reddin the Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Laois said: “‘From Local To Global’ as a theme for National Women’s Enterprise Day 2018 is very apt, especially with all the uncertainty around Brexit.  We want to encourage more female entrepreneurs to diversify and to let them know that their Local Enterprise Office can give them the support they need to explore new markets.  Last year alone, the Local Enterprise Offices provided training, mentoring and networking to over 18,500 female entrepreneurs along with providing grant assistance to over 280 female-run businesses and these figurescontinue to grow.”  

Minister Humphreys launched the full programme of events for National Women’s Enterprise Day in Dublin this week, alongside Amanda Mills of the Local Enterprise Offices, Julie Sinnamon of Enterprise Ireland and Anna Marie Delaney of the Local Government Economic, Enterprise and Tourism Committee. They were joined by several entrepreneurs who were appointed as National Women’s Enterprise Day ‘Ambassadors’ by their Local Enterprise Office, including: Oonagh O’Hagan (Managing Director, Meagher’s Pharmacy), Vicki O’Toole (Managing Director, JJ O’Toole Ltd), Vanessa Tierney (Co-Founder and Owner, Abodoo), Sarah Slazenger (Managing Director, Powerscourt Estate), Martina Hamilton (Founder and Owner The Cat and the Moon), Louise Lovett (Chief Executive, Longford Women’s Link CLG), Joan Walsh (Founder and Managing Director, Partnership International), Chiara Keating (Founder and Managing Director, Uniformal Ltd) and Anne Reilly (Founder and Managing Director, Paycheck Plus)

Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation said; “I am honoured to launch the largest ever National Women’s Enterprise Day.  We have some of the world’s finest business women in Ireland, who are inspiring the next generation.  It is important we ensure that female entrepreneurs have access to the training, funding and supports that they need to start and grow their business.  These female entrepreneurs should not just be thinking about these shores, they should be looking to go global, and my Department, through the relevant agencies, is ensuring they have the support they need to become world leaders in their sector.”

Pat Breen T.D., Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection said; The upcoming events demonstrate the LEOs commitment to encouraging more female-led businesses to grow and expand into new international markets.  Our vision is for Ireland to be among the most entrepreneurial nations in the world and one that supports women to start and grow a business. My message for female entrepreneurs today is to take up the supports that are on offer through Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland to help them on their entrepreneurial journey.

Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland, said; “More than one in three start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland last year were led by women – that compares to just one in ten start-ups in 2012. While this increase is significant and very positive, we are committed to continuing the growth of the number of businesses with women at the helm. Working in partnership with the LEOs, Enterprise Ireland is supporting the global ambition of our innovative Irish women entrepreneurs, building their competitive capabilities and helping them grow and reach global markets.”

Anna Marie Delaney, Offaly County Council Chief Executive and Chair of the CCMA Economic, Enterprise, Community & Culture Committee said; “We know there is a way to go towards increasing women’s representation in business, but the tide is turning, aided by initiatives like National Women’s Enterprise Day and the supports available to female entrepreneurs through their Local Enterprise Office. As the saying goes, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ and National Women’s Enterprise Day is a great chance to take encouragement from women who have succeeded in business and perhaps get inspired to take that first step in establishing your own business or to take the next steps in growing your enterprise.”

The 16 NWED events on October 18th are taking place in: Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Meath, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow and are expected to attract over 1,000 women in business and female entrepreneurs nationwide.

To book tickets for the Midlands event, which cost €15, please visit