Ireland’s female entrepreneurs mean business as more women access enterprise supports

The number of Irish women entrepreneurs receiving business supports from Local Enterprise Offices increased by 20 per cent last year, according to figures highlighted to mark the 10th annual National Women’s Enterprise Day.

The trend clearly indicates that more Irish women than ever mean business and are taking the leap to grow their own businesses. Figures show that last year, Local Enterprise Offices in partnership with the Local Authorities provided financial and mentoring supports to more than 6,250 female-run businesses, while more than 11,000 female entrepreneurs participated in specialist training programmes.

Seven events are taking place to mark the 10th annual National Women’s Enterprise Day on Wednesday October 19th in Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Meath, Westmeath, Dublin and Cavan. All 31 Local Enterprise Offices are supporting the initiative, with established female entrepreneurs acting as Regional Ambassadors, sharing their inspiring success stories.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’ Connor T.D., said “Women have a huge amount to contribute to business in Ireland, and they must be encouraged to start innovative enterprises that are focused on exports, growth and job creation.   I want more ambitious women across every region to start their entrepreneurship journey and take that first step. Female entrepreneurs are needed to further enhance our economy by creating more quality jobs in Ireland. The changes to the taxation treatment of entrepreneurs, self-employed and SMEs announced in Budget 2017 will also be welcomed by women entrepreneurs. Specifically, the extra funding announced for the Local Enterprise Offices will see their capital funding grow by 22% to €22.5m. This is in recognition of their pivotal role in supporting start-ups and job creation at local level”. 

Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices highlighted the wide range of enterprise supports on offer, and encouraged aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owners to attend one of the seven National Women’s Enterprise Day Events around the country.

“There has never been a better time to access enterprise supports. Through financial assistance, microfinance loans, mentoring, training and networking, the Local Enterprise Offices in partnership with the Local Authorities supported 1,000 more female-run enterprises last year, compared with 2014, which is a 20 per cent increase. We would love to see this figure increase even further this year,” she said.

National Womens Enterprise Day this week

The Regional Ambassadors for 2016 are: Hannah Wrixon of Last Minute Minders in Limerick (Mid West Region), Audrey Gaffney of Audrey Gaffney Associates in Meath (Mid East Region), Aisling Hanley of Keenwah Quinoa in Galway (West Region) ,Regina Bushell of Grovelands Childcare in Westmeath (Midlands Region), Rachel Doyle of the Arboretum (South East Region), Nicola Byrne of 11890 and Cloud 90 (Dublin Region), Valerie Kingston of Glenilen Farm in Cork (South West Region) and Margaret Reilly of CTR Manufacturing in Louth (Border Region).

Guest speakers at National Women’s Enterprise Day events around the country include the Fashion Designer - Heidi Higgins, Sonya Lennon of Lennon Courtney, Susan Spence of Softco and Susan Hayes Culleton of the Positive Economist.

They will be joined by more than twenty other entrepreneurs, such as Alison Ritchie of Polar Ice, Rosie Mansfied of GoCambio, Designer Úna Burke and Breda Butler of Cuinneog.

Tickets for National Women’s Enterprise Day events can be booked from the Local Enterprise Offices through and cost between €30 and €50 each.