1-in-5 women aim to start a business

Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs series to help Irish women take steps towards making their aspirations a reality.

A series of Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs events will take place in the first half of 2024 to introduce women with entrepreneurial ambitions to the idea of starting their own business.

Supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, the events are part of an initiative called Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs which is now in its second year.

“The objective of this compelling and inspiring initiative is to increase the number of female- led innovative businesses of scale, focused on export markets”

According to the organisers, one in five women in Ireland aspire to start their own business. The Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs initiative is focused on encouraging women to develop business ideas that are scalable, innovative and focused on export markets.

The first event – and the launch of Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs 2024 – will be held at KPMG’s office at Stokes Place, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, on Wednesday, January 24th.

Be inspired

The programme is designed to appeal to women from a range of backgrounds who are seeking a change of direction, including female professionals and women in senior corporate positions, or those with doctoral and postdoctoral qualifications. 

Panel members include: Áine Kerr, co-founder of Kinzen; Áine Denn, co-founder of Altify; Andrea Doolan, co-founder and CEO of Atlantia Clinical Trials; Dr Anne Cusack, co-founder of Critical Healthcare; Dr Barbara Anne Murphy, Head of Equine Science at UCD and Chief Science Officer at Equilume; Dr Emmeline Hill, Professor School of Agriculture and Food Science at UCD and founder of Equinome; Fidelma McGuirk, Founder and CEO of Payslip; Jennifer Corley, founder of EquiTrace; Leonora O’Brien, founder of Pharmapod; Louella Morton, co-founder of TestReach; and Dr Vanessa Creaven, co-founder of Spotlight Oral Care.

“Ireland’s economic success will be driven by harnessing a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem which utilises the skills, ambition and talent of a diverse population, and a key focus of our work is our six-year Women in Business Strategy, which aims to grow the number of women becoming entrepreneurs and leaders in Ireland,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy.

“The ‘Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs’ initiative is all about reaching out to and supporting women who want to become entrepreneurs and build innovative businesses of scale, focused on export markets. Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support this work, which fosters the development of future business leaders.”

There are three stages in the Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs initiative for those wishing to develop a scalable, export-focused business. 

  • Inspiring: Ambitious women interested in hearing directly from those who have successfully taken the step into entrepreneurship are invited to join one of a series of events hosted by partner organisations around the country, so they can judge for themselves if they are interested in starting their own business. Those interested in beginning their own entrepreneurial journey will be offered the opportunity for further support.  
  • Fostering Entrepreneurial Capacity and Peer Networks: Those who can demonstrate that they have an innovative business idea with global ambition will be invited to apply to participate in a series of facilitated round tables and a series of workshops facilitated by Enterprise Ireland, KPMG, and other experts. There will also be an opportunity to develop peer support networks.
  • Continuing Support: Those who complete the programme will be offered membership of the Going for Growth Community for a year, where they will continue to be supported on their early-stage entrepreneurial journey.

“The objective of this compelling and inspiring initiative is to increase the number of female- led innovative businesses of scale, focused on export markets,” said Paula Fitzsimons, director of Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs.

“Through the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research, we know that more women in Ireland are aspiring to start new businesses and that the rate of early-stage female entrepreneurs that aspire for significant growth is also increasing. Building on this fertile ground, we want to introduce the possibility of an entrepreneurial career to particular groups of high achieving women that may not have considered it previously and where we believe untapped, entrepreneurial potential lies.”

Other scheduled events include one hosted by Technological University Dublin at its Grangegorman Campus on St Brigid’s Day, February 1st, as well as an event hosted by PayPal at The Merrion Hotel on March 5th, during International Women’s Week. To register for the Technological University Dublin event, click here and to register for the PayPal event, click here.  

“At KPMG, we believe in fostering innovation and empowering high-achieving women to explore entrepreneurial possibilities,” said KPMG partner Olivia Lynch.

“As proud supporters of the ‘Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs’ initiative, we are excited to host the launch event in Dublin on January 24th. Together with Enterprise Ireland and the panel of 11 Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs, we aim to encourage and support women who aspire to establish new businesses with global ambition. Our experts look forward to facilitating workshops and sharing their insights on raising finance, tax, governance and much more.”

Main image at top: Louella Morton, TestReach; Sinead Lonergan, Enterprise Ireland; Olivia Lynch, KPMG; Áine Denn, formerly Altify; and Fidelma McGuirk, Payslip

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