Going for Growth backed 850 women entrepreneurs in 15 years

Going for Growth assists ambitious women entrepreneurs to achieve their growth ambitions.

More than 850 Irish women entrepreneurs have participated in the award-winning Going for Growth programme over the past 15 years.

The Enterprise Ireland and KPMG-backed programme is now inviting ambitious women entrepreneurs to take part in its 15th cycle with the deadline for applications set for Friday 18 November.

“The objective of Going for Growth is to encourage female entrepreneurs to become more ambitious”

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. Their combined workforce increased by 41 people over the cycle, while 27 participants began exporting their products and services for the first time. 

Some of the past participants include Aimee Connolly of Sculpted by Aimee; Áine Kerr of Kinzen (just acquired by Spotify); Jennifer Corley of Equitrace; Louella Morton of TestReach; Tara Beattie of Mange Tout and Prepsheets.com; and Vanessa Creaven of Spotlight Oral Care. 

Driving women-led businesses forward

Going for Growth, which was launched in 2008 to help women drive their business forward, has been repeatedly recognised by the EU, OECD, and European Institute of Gender Equality as a key initiative in the effort to foster greater ambition among female entrepreneurs and to support their growth aspirations. 

15 years ago, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research clearly showed that men were more ambitious than women in respect of their new businesses – 5.5 times as many men had growth aspirations. 

The most recently published GEM research (July 2022) shows there is an increasing number of women starting businesses, about 1,400 every month. Even more importantly, the proportion of those with growth aspirations has significantly increased; this ratio now stands at 2.5:1, with an increasing aspiration for growth evident among female entrepreneurs.

“Going for Growth has recognised from the outset that it is not just about the numbers of men and women that are starting a business that is important,” said Paula Fitzsimons, founder and national director of Going for Growth.

“That is only one part of the challenge. The other challenge relates to the potential impact of the entrepreneurial effort of those men and women, not only in the early days but over the life of the business. 

“The objective of Going for Growth is to encourage female entrepreneurs to become more ambitious; to support them to achieve their growth aspirations; and to realise the full potential of their businesses, on Irish and export markets, throughout the lifetime of their business.”

Continuing the work to help women achieve their business growth ambitions, the call has gone out today for applications for the next group of Going for Growth participants to take part in the 15th cycle of the programme.

Visit www.goingforgrowth.com for more details.

Up to 60 places will be available and organisers are seeking applications from female entrepreneurs across all sectors who are strongly focused on growth. The deadline for applications is Friday, 18 November, 2022. There is no charge for those selected and the six-month initiative will begin in January 2023.

“Increasing support for ambitious female entrepreneurship is a key national priority and Enterprise Ireland is proud to support Going for Growth,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy. “I believe our close partnership with Going for Growth provides excellent support to our incredible women entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses and achieving global ambition.

“Strong peer groups, wonderful Lead Entrepreneurs, excellent formal learning opportunities and frameworks for business growth make this a ‘must consider’ for anyone seeking to accelerate her business.”

The programme brings together female entrepreneurs for monthly peer-to-peer roundtable discussions led by successful Lead Entrepreneurs with the aim of growing their business. The participation of Lead Entrepreneurs is completely voluntary and five of this year’s Lead Entrepreneurs are former Going for Growth participants themselves. 

This year’s voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs include Anne Cusack, formerly Critical Healthcare; Chupi Sweetman-Durney, Chupi; Jeananne O’Brien, Artizan Food Co.; Leonora O’Brien, formerly Pharmapod; Louise Phelan, Phelan Energy Group; Monica Flood, formerly Olas IT; and Oonagh O’Hagan, Meaghers Pharmacy Group.

“KPMG is committed to encouraging domestic entrepreneurship and supporting female entrepreneurs in achieving their growth aspirations,” said KPMG partner Olivia O’Leary. As part of our commitment to diversity we are passionate about ensuring females have the supports they need to succeed.

“We are delighted to continue supporting Going for Growth; this is an exceptional programme for ambitious women looking to take their businesses to the next level. With the invaluable expertise and encouragement of the Lead Entrepreneurs, this programme engages participants with insights and experiences to succeed and connects them with their peers to boost entrepreneurship in Ireland.”

Main image at top: Chupi Sweetman-Durney, founder of Chupi and Going for Growth Lead Entrepreneur; Leo Clancy, CEO Enterprise Ireland; Olivia Lynch, Partner KPMG and Jennifer Corley, founder of Equitrace and Going for Growth past participant. Picture by Shane O’Neill, Coalesce

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.