Record number of female entrepreneurs participate in National Women’s Enterprise Day

Press release                                          Wednesday, October 19th 2016

More than eight hundred businesswomen take part in inspiring events

A record 800 Irish businesswomen are today (Wednesday October 19th) taking part in inspiring events all over the country to mark the 10th annual National Women’s Enterprise Day.


Organised by Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), the events are being attended by some of Ireland’s most successful business leaders who are sharing their stories and offering advice to women on how to achieve success.


The number of Irish female entrepreneurs receiving business supports from the LEOs increased by 20 per cent last year. More than than 6,250 female-run businesses received financial and mentoring supports in 2015, whilst more than 11,000 participated in specialist training programmes.


The National Women’s Enterprise Day events are taking place in Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Meath, Westmeath, Dublin and Cavan. All 31 LEOs are supporting the initiative, with established female entrepreneurs acting as Regional Ambassadors and sharing their inspiring success stories. 

Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said it was heartening to see more women than ever seeking support from the LEOs.

“I welcome the fact that more female entrepreneurs are seeking advice and support with starting their own business.   Women have a huge amount to contribute to business in Ireland and are very important to our economy. Female entrepreneurs are creating jobs right across the country in every town and village across Ireland creating innovative enterprises that are focused on exports, growth and job creation. I want to encourage more women to set up businesses across our regions, with the help of their Local Enterprise Offices. This event today is a fantastic networking event which offers continued support to those female entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business and those developing and expanding their business.”  

The Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan T.D., said the huge interest in this year’s National Women’s Enterprise Day certainly is an encouraging sign that more women are considering entrepreneurship as a career.


“I am delighted to support today’s National Women’s Enterprise Day.  The events taking place around the country today are a great platform for aspiring female entrepreneurs who can learn from experienced businesswomen who will share their stories. They will get support, advice and inspiration to guide them in setting up their own businesses. Encouraging more entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas is what we want to do so that jobs can be created across Ireland.” 

Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices said it is clear that women’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Ireland. “It is our job to nurture that spirit and to give women in business all the help and guidance they need. It is important that they are aware of the huge supports available to them through Local Enterprise Offices. “

She urged as many women either in business or considering starting their own business to attend one of the seven events around the country today to mark National Women’s Enterprise Day. “These events will be an invaluable help to women who will be both inspired and informed.”

This year’s National Women’s Day  Regional Ambassadors are: Valerie Kingston of Glenilen Farm in Cork (South West Region); Hannah Wrixon of Last Minute Minders in Limerick (Mid West Region); Nicola Byrne of 11890 and Cloud 90 (Dublin 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) and Margaret Reilly of CTR Manufacturing in Louth (Border Region).

Guest speakers at National Women’s Enterprise Day events around the country include fashion designers Heidi Higgins, Úna Burke and Sonya Lennon of Lennon Courtney. Women entrepreneurs will also hear from Sherri Brennan of Skip Trans Waste Management, Patricia Callan of the Small Firms Association, Orla Barry of Barry Express, Kathryn Byrne of Your Image, Deirdre Uí Chathmhaoil of Rí na Mara, and Maura Hunter of MH Designs

Details about the supports available to entrepreneurs through the Local Enterprise Offices are available from