The call is now open for 60 businesswomen to join the 14th cycle of the Going for Growth programme which will run from January to June 2022.
Figures released today (8 November) show that the 56 participants who took part in the 13th Going for Growth programme this year grew net employment during the six months of the programme by 163 – an additional 93 full-time and 70 part-time jobs.
They had a combined turnover of almost €162m at the start of the cycle, which had grown to €176.25m at its conclusion – representing an increase of €14.25m (8.8pc).
“The way the participants have pivoted, identified new opportunities, and changed to meet the needs of their market, shows great resilience and a true entrepreneurial spirit”
A total of 91pc of participants on the Going for Growth programme reported that they pivoted their businesses to adapt to prevailing circumstances, and an overwhelming 98pc said that their participation in the programme brought about practical change within their business.
The figures, which were gathered in their end of cycle survey, show the resilience and determination of the entrepreneurs on the programme – and the value of the peer support they received while participating.
“The achievements of the participants in growing revenue, increasing jobs and beginning exporting during some of the darkest days of the pandemic are a credit to the peer support that they got from each other and from the Lead Entrepreneurs,” said Paula Fitzsimons, founder and managing director of Fitzsimons Consulting.
“The way the participants have pivoted, identified new opportunities, and changed to meet the needs of their market, shows great resilience and a true entrepreneurial spirit. The strength of the network, developed over the last 13 years, has proven to be a great resource in the most challenging times, as it is when the environment is more benign.”
The survey also found that seven participants from the programme started exporting for the first time – which is a considerable feat during a global pandemic.
“The results of this year’s programme speak to the remarkable resilience of these women in the most challenging of market circumstances”
“Increasing support for ambitious female entrepreneurship is a key national priority and Enterprise Ireland is proud to support Going for Growth,” said Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.
“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.”
Going for Growth participants found that the roundtable sessions they participated in translated into practical changes in their business. All participants said they would recommend the programme to others.
Today’s call marks the start of the 14th year of Going for Growth and more than 800 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the programme. Anyone interested is encouraged to register on the website goingforgrowth.com and a link to the application form will be sent to them.
Ideally, businesses applying should be well established. In exceptional cases, businesses at an earlier stage will be considered if they are generating sales, and it is felt that the business is highly innovative, plans to have export customers and the entrepreneur has significant growth ambitions. If accepted, these participants are included in the ‘Starting Strong’ element of the programme. (Eligibility criteria in notes below)
Those selected for the Going for Growth initiative join interactive round table sessions led by Lead Entrepreneurs. The Lead Entrepreneurs are successful business women with personal experience of growing a business. These high-profile business leaders volunteer their time to encourage participants to set and achieve personalised goals and milestones to address the opportunities and challenges they face in driving growth in their businesses.
Some of this year’s Lead Entrepreneurs include five previous Going for Growth participants: Dr. Anne Cusack, Critical Healthcare; Chupi Sweetman-Durney, Chupi; Gillian O’Dowd, Azon Recruitment Group, Jeananne O’Brien, Artizan Food Co. and Oonagh O’Hagan, Meaghers Pharmacy Group.
“The results of this year’s programme speak to the remarkable resilience of these women in the most challenging of market circumstances,” said Olivia Lynch, partner at KPMG.
“Women in Ireland continue to be underrepresented amongst our entrepreneurship community, but with the right support, have the potential to contribute significantly more to our economy. The many programme participants who have adapted their businesses to become first time exporters and create new jobs are proof of this potential. We look forward to continuing our strong support of the Going for Growth programme and sharing our expertise with the next group of ambitious women looking to take their businesses to the next level.”
Main image at top: Leo Clancy, CEO Enterprise Ireland, Anne Cusack, formally Critical Healthcare, Jeananne O’Brien, Artizan Food Co. and Olivia Lynch, Partner KPMG.