Caroline Dunlea optimises for growth

Shannon-based Core Optimisation has grown its revenues 400%, says Going for Growth alumni Caroline Dunlea.

Going for Growth, a programme jointly run by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, assists ambitious women entrepreneurs to achieve their growth ambitions.

So far more than 850 Irish women entrepreneurs have participated in the award-winning programme, including Áine Kerr of Kinzen. The 14th cycle of Going for Growth reported significant results for its 57 participants. Combined turnover increased from €35m at the start of the cycle to €43m by the end, a 23% increase in just six months.

“Core Optimisation was born from my love of the region, the industry, and delivering tangible results for clients ”

Going for Growth is now inviting ambitious women entrepreneurs to take part in its 15th cycle with the deadline for applications set for Friday 18 November.

Caroline Dunlea, Core Optimisation 

Caroline Dunlea has had a singular focus on clients and a robust drive for results throughout her career. Delivering for her clients was always most important to Caroline and that holds true today.

While Caroline would not have described herself as a “typical entrepreneur”, she and her co-founder, David Brett had worked together since 2009 in a technology company, and in 2015 “decided to go for it” and set up their own Digital Marketing business, Core Optimisation.

Core Optimisation is a mid-west-based award-winning digital marketing agency which Caroline says, “was born from my love of the region, the industry, and delivering tangible results for clients”.

Core Optimisation works with its clients to deliver digital growth through a combination of digital marketing and conversion optimisation strategies. “Getting and staying close to our clients is key to our company’s success. They trust us to help drive profitable and sustainable growth for them, effectively working as an extension of their team”.

The company’s Irish clients include Failte Ireland, Riverdance, Expert Electrical, Louis Copeland, Meaghers Pharmacy, Press Up Group and Kilkenny Shop in addition to several five-star hotels. In the UK their portfolio includes The Currency Club.

Core Optimisation has continued to grow its revenues, achieving a 400% revenue growth in 2021. It has also grown its Shannon-based team to 43 people of which over 50% are female – such is the importance of gender balance to Caroline; it remains a key internal metric within the company. Core is also moving to larger premises in Shannon, further stamping its mark in the mid-west region.

The company is also targeting further expansion in the UK and recently launched Core Consults in London. Core Consults’ business development team helps clients with digital transformation and with digital marketing strategy development and implementation.

Core Optimisation has strong growth targets in place for Ireland, the UK and for Europe too. The company has recently developed its own comprehensive digital maturity model to help clients understand where they currently are on their digital transformation journey and help them to move forward from there.

Caroline was on the 11th cycle of Going for Growth and Monica Flood was her Lead Entrepreneur. “Monica was a fantastic lead – from the very first meeting, we focused on vision, what success looks like for each of us and what our key milestones were for the future. The programme really gave me the opportunity to look ahead, spend valuable time out of the business, and work on the business. With Monica and the other round table colleagues, we all benefited from having open and safe conversations on common problems and challenges as well as learning from each other’s perspectives.”

Core is a Google Partner Agency and Meta Partner Agency and has been recognised at numerous industry awards including the Spider Awards in 2018. Caroline herself was honoured at Dublin Tech Summit Women in Tech with Entrepreneur of the year 2019 following on from being named as well as Network Ireland’s Digital Woman of the Year in 2018. She is also a current finalist in EY Ireland’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Emerging Category.

The call is open for applications from female entrepreneurs who would welcome peer support to take their businesses to the next level by taking part in the Going for Growth programme. This is the 15th year of Going for Growth and more than 850 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the programme. Sixty places will be available for the 15th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2021 and the deadline for applications is Friday 18 November 2022. There is no charge for those selected.

Anyone interested is encouraged to register on the website

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