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

Local Enterprise Offices – including LEOs in Cork and Kerry -  are encouraging more women to go from ‘Local to Global’ with their businesses by helping to organize 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 the Cork/Kerry region.

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 South West event will also receive funding through the Enterprise Europe Network.  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 start and grow their business. 

On October 18th, the event for the Cork/Kerry region female entrepreneurs is taking place in the Meetings and Events Centre, Clayton Hotel, Silver Springs, Tivoli, Cork and special guests include:

  • Joan Walsh, Partnership International – Ambassador for the South West NWED
  • Eleanor McEvoy of Budget Energy and RTE’s Dragons’ Den
  • Rachel Sarah Murphy of Irish Film Academy and Free the Way Cleaning
  • Sharon McDermott, Ky Ky Kids
  • Indrid De Doncker, iDDea
  • Estelle Power, Irish Door Systems Ltd.
  • Michelle Keane, Mibeau Interiors
  • Margaret Kelly, Cork Chamber

Encouraging local entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners to attend, Sean O’Sullivan, Local Enterprise Office South Cork  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 figures continue 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.”

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 Cork/Kerry event, which cost €30 please visit

Or telephone:

  • LEO South Cork – 021 4285200
  • LEO Cork North & West – 022 43235 (Mallow Office), 023 8834700 (Clonakilty Office)
  • LEO Cork City – 021 4961828
  • LEO Kerry – 066 7183522



A LEO Cavan evening event with supper, in association with Enterprise Europe Network, at Hotel Kilmore.

Special Guest: Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. (Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation). Featuring: Mary McKenna of Tour America and Ann Rudden of Áine Handmade Chocolate.



A full day event organised by LEOs in Cork City, Cork North and West, South Cork and Kerry at the Meetings & Events Centre, Clayton Hotel Silver Springs, Tivoli in Cork City.

Featuring: Joan Walsh of Partnership International, Eleanor McEvoy of Budget Energy and Dragons’ Den, Rachel Sarah Murphy of Irish Film Academy and Free the Way Cleaning, Sharon McDermott of Ky Ky Kids, Ingrid De Doncker of iDDea, Estelle Power of Irish Door Systems Ltd., Michelle Keane of Mibeau Interiors and Margaret Kelly of Cork Chamber.



A LEO Donegal full-day event with networking lunch, in association with Enterprise Europe Network, at An Grianan Hotel in Burt, Co. Donegal.

Featuring: Larissa Feeney of Accountant Online, Jenny Holloway of Fashion Capital and Fashion Enter in London and Maire Morris of Morris Fashion Consultancy.


Dublin  A half-day event with networking lunch organised by LEOs in South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and Dublin City at Citywest Hotel in Saggart, Co. Dublin.

Special Guest:  Minister Pat Breen T.D. Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection

Guest Speakers: Oonagh O’Hagan – Meaghers Pharmacy, Helen Smyth of Facebook and Julie Sinnamon of Enterprise Ireland 

Featuring: Chiara Keating of Uniformal Ltd, Caroline Gleeson of BidRecruit, Síle Ginnane of Liberty Bell,  Sarah-Jane Brangam of Cult Drinks with broadcaster Colette Fitzpatrick..



An afternoon tea celebration organised by LEO Kildare in association with Enterprise Europe Network and Network Kildare with panel of speakers and networking at the Celbridge Manor Hotel.

Featuring: Sonia Deasy of Pestle and Mortar (Ambassador and Keynote Speaker), Nikki Collins of NMP Collins Innovations Ltd, Susan Sexton of Kildare Farm Foods and Special Guest former Government Minister, Mary O’ Rourke.



A full day event organised by LEOs in Kilkenny and Carlow at Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.

Featuring: Catherine Roycroft of Cartoon Saloon, Actress Deirdre O’ Kane and Guinness World Record Holder and visually impaired Athlete, Dr. Sinead Kane.         



A LEO Leitrim lunch-time event at The Landmark Hotel in Carrick-On-Shannon.

Featuring: Aoife and Detta McNiffe of McNiffe’s Bakery, Norah Casey of Harmonia Publishing Group, and Orla Casey of Momentum Marketing.



A full day event with lunch organised by LEOs in Limerick, Tipperary and Clare at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort in Co. Limerick.

Featuring: Vicki O’ Toole of JJ O’ Toole Ltd, Marissa Carter of Cocoa Brown, Caroline McEnery of the H.R. Suite, Amanda Cahir O’ Donnell of Tio Consulting, Dr. Mary Ryan (Consultant Endocrinologist), Aisling Maher Milliner), Clodagh Cavanagh of Abbey Machinery, Valerie Murphy of Valerie’s Breast Care (President of Network Ireland Limerick), Aine Gleeson of and Annemarie Neville of Data Display.



A half day event with lunch organised by LEOs in Longford, Laois, Offaly and Westmeath at the Backstage Theatre, Farneyhoogan in Co. Longford.

Special Guest: Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD

Featuring: Louise Lovett of Longford Women’s Link, Ciara Donlon of THEYA Healthcare, Dr. Ciara Kelly, Journalist & Broadcaster, Dr. Anne Cusack of Critical Healthcare, Alison Ritchie of Polar Ice with broadcaster Sinead Hussey.



A half day event with lunch organised by LEOs in Meath and Louth at the City North Hotel and Conference Centre in Gormanston, Co. Meath.

Featuring: Anne Reilly of Paycheck Plus, Professor Colette Henry of the Department of Business Studies at Dundalk Institute of Technology and Louise Caulfield of Caulfield Country Boards.



A LEO Monaghan evening event with buffet supper at the Hillgrove Hotel on the Old Armagh Road. Special Guest: Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. (Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation). Featuring: Marie Mohan of Greenfield Foods, Noelle O’Connor of Tan Organics and Theresa Lowe of Lowe Communications.



An evening event with buffet dinner organised by LEOs in Roscommon, Galway and Mayo at Kilronan Castle, Ballyfarnon, Co Roscommon.  

Featuring:  Ambassador – Michelle Daly of P & G Cards; Magaly Murray of Gran Grans Foods; Aisling Flanagan of Velvet Cloud and Loretta Ní Ghabháin of Lorg Media.



A LEO Sligo evening event at the Radisson Hotel in Ballincar.

Featuring: Martina Hamilton of the Martina Hamilton Collection, The Hamilton Gallery and The Cat and The Moon, Bernie Butler of Good4U foods and Oonagh Monahan of Alpha Omega Consultants.



A LEO Waterford evening event with dinner in Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Club.

Featuring: Jennifer O’Connell of O’Connell Ivory Communications, Gina London, Emmy Award winning Ex CNN anchor, Frances Roche, Business & Life Coach Transformational Speaker, Claire Brennan of Parolla, Sinead Quealy of Virtual Vet, Bebhinn McGrath of Bebhinn.



A LEO Wexford evening event with dinner in Wells House and Gardens in Gorey.

Featuring: Vanessa Tierney of Abodoo, Niamh Sherwin Barry of The Irish Fairy Door Company, Ciara Donlon, THEYA Healthcare, Sabine Rosler of Wells House and Gardens and Bláithín Ennis, Jewellery Designer.



A LEO Wicklow event with Afternoon Tea at Powerscourt House in Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry.  Featuring: Sarah Slazenger of Powerscourt House and Aisling Hurley of The Business Fairy.