EI launch grant to grow the number of women in senior positions

The new grant supports a key objective in Enterprise Ireland’s Action Plan for Women in Business to increase the number of women in leadership roles.

Enterprise Ireland has launched a new grant which will support the recruitment of part-time senior managers in client companies.

The grant will be available to both men and women, however, it is expected to attract more women into senior management roles.

The Part-Time Key Manager grant will cover up to 50 per cent of eligible salary costs for a new senior manager, who will play a significant strategic role in the future growth of the company and is intended to encourage businesses to take positive steps to attract talent at a senior level.

Examples of key manager positions include chief financial officer, chief technical officer, research and development manager and production manager.

“There is significant international research which clearly demonstrates that companies with gender diversity in decision making and leadership positions perform better”

The introduction of the grant is key action in Enterprise Ireland’s recently published 2020 Action Plan for Women in Business which aims to improve diversity in the leadership of Irish SMEs. Increasing the number of women in senior management and leadership roles in Irish companies is one of the four key objectives detailed in the Women in Business action plan.

The percentage of women on company boards in Ireland currently stands at 21 per cent, with 26 new women appointed to non-exec boards in 2019, bringing the total number to 95, indicating a 4pc increase on the previous year’s figure.

However, Ireland is still considerably off the target put forward by the European Commission which proposed a 40 per cent objective for women on boards by 2020, a target that only France has managed to achieve to date.

Commenting on the new Part-Time Key Manager grant, Sheelagh Daly, entrepreneurship manager at Enterprise Ireland said; “There is significant international research including McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, the IMF and the International Labour office among others, which clearly demonstrates that companies with gender diversity in decision making and leadership positions perform better – they are more profitable, more productive and deliver better returns on assets.

“Secondly, we know that people who have senior management experience are more likely to see an opportunity for an innovative new enterprise, and are more likely to have the confidence and capability to do something about that opportunity, as well as having a network of connections to support the realisation of the opportunity, including better access to finance.

“Put simply, greater gender diversity in senior roles means better businesses and more entrepreneurs,” she concluded.

The Part-Time Key Manager grant is open for applications from Enterprise Ireland supported companies, and more details can be found here.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 12 March, 2020