Going for Growth, Ireland’s leading female entrepreneurship initiative, seeks 60 ambitious female entrepreneurs to take part in 2016 programme

Going for Growth, one of Ireland’s leading female entrepreneurship support programmes, is seeking applications from ambitious female entrepreneurs who would like to be considered for participation on the 8th cycle of the programme from January – June 2016. The initiative is designed to support women who are serious about growing their businesses and is sponsored by KPMG and Enterprise Ireland. There is no charge to those selected.

Established in 2009, seven Going for Growth programmes have already taken place, with over 400 female entrepreneurs from across the country taking part in the initiative. A survey of the most recent Going for Growth group showed that in addition to a boost in confidence, ambition and motivation, 82% of participants increased their turnover by an average of 30% over the course of the programme, bringing the total turnover of the group to over €51.5 million. An additional 94 jobs were created by the participants (+13%), bringing the combined employment to 828. There was also a 25% increase in the number of exporters among the group.

The Going for Growth programme runs over six months and involves a time commitment of two full days (January and June) and four half days (February – May). Those selected to participate in Going for Growth are expected to attend all events. Going for Growth is based on the philosophy of entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs and the belief that entrepreneurs learn best from each other. To facilitate this, a number of successful businesswomen, who have already experienced the growth journey on which the participants are embarking, take up the role of ‘Lead Entrepreneurs’ and act as role models to the selected participants and share their knowledge and experience with them on a completely voluntary basis. Each ‘Lead Entrepreneur’ invites up to eight candidates to join her at a monthly round table. Successful businesswomen who have committed to become Lead Entrepreneurs for the next cycle of Going for Growth include:

  • Áine Denn, The TAS Group
  • Caroline Keeling, Keelings 
  • Deirdre Smith, Green Point
  • Heather Reynolds, Eishtec
  • Louise Phelan, PayPal
  • Miriam Byrne, City Analysts
  • Siofra Flood, Drop Kitchen
  • Susan Spence, SoftCo

The selection process is competitive and successful applicants need to demonstrate significant aspirations for growth and should already be the owner manager of a business of which she is a major shareholder and key influencer. Applicants should be working full time on the business, which must be located in the Republic of Ireland. It is expected that the business will have been trading for at least two years. In exceptional cases, applications will be considered from those who have been trading for a shorter period, but in those cases applicants must demonstrate that the product/service is highly innovative in nature, has a longer development cycle than the norm and has exceptional growth potential. The initiative will kick off on Thursday 21 January 2016 with a National Launch Forum and all successful participants must be available to attend this event.

The deadline for receipt of completed applications for the next Going for Growth programme is 25 November.

Those interested in applying, can register their interest on www.goingforgrowth.com and an application form will be sent out immediately.

The highly successful Going for Growth programme was recently announced as a finalist at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, which showcases the most successful promoters of enterprise and entrepreneurship around Europe. Going for Growth was selected in the top 3 in the Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category out of hundreds of projects, with a record number of 32 countries entering the Awards this year. The overall winner will be announced in November at the EU SME Assembly taking place in Luxembourg.

With just 37% of women in Ireland having a positive view of their entrepreneurial capabilities and fewer women than men indicating significant growth ambitions for their businesses, (GEM Report 2014)*, there is a clear requirement for initiatives such as Going For Growth, which provides a unique peer learning environment for female entrepreneurs, with a focus on achieving growth goals and time defined milestones. Of the 20,400 individuals who started a business in Ireland in 2014, 14,400 are men (70.5%) and 6,000 are women (29.5%).

Paula Fitzsimons, the National Director and Founder of Going for Growth, says there is still significant untapped entrepreneurial potential among women in Ireland, particularly in terms of getting more women to grow their businesses: “Our mission in Going for Growth is to support female entrepreneurs to achieve their growth ambitions and to get more female owner managers into a growth frame of mind.”

Lead Entrepreneur, Caroline Keeling, CEO of Irish fruit company Keelings, said: “I am delighted to give my time to this worthwhile initiative on a voluntary basis. I look forward to working with a group of ambitious female entrepreneurs in a collaborative peer-based environment, focused on growth goals and sharing experiences.”

Cora Murphy of the Care Team, a participant on the most recent cycle, commented on her experience: “Going for Growth had an extremely positive impact on the development of my business in 2015. The whole experience was really supportive and inspiring.  Meeting with other like-minded business women was instrumental in achieving my goals. So far this year, I have bought a second company, increased my turnover by 120 % and now employ over 200 people.”

Shaun Murphy, Managing Partner of KPMG, said: “Going for Growth is an exceptional initiative with a proven track record in supporting women in business. It helps female entrepreneurs to achieve their full potential and we’re delighted to continue our support for this hugely valuable programme.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said: “Supporting business to scale and compete on export markets is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland. In Ireland, female founders have traditionally been under-represented in their participation in businesses focused on significant growth. We have been working with Paula Fitzsimons and the wider Going for Growth community for a almost a decade, to address this imbalance.  The Going for Growth initiative provides invaluable support for ambitious business women, encouraging them to grow their businesses to their full potential. Going for Growth has been a positive partner for Enterprise Ireland in key strategic initiatives and objectives to support female founders and together we have driven Irish female participation rates towards parity with international best practice. Enterprise Ireland endorses Going for Growth as a powerful peer-to-peer initiative in promoting entrepreneurship and diversity in business generally.”

Check out the website for more details

Going for Growth