20,551 women entrepreneurs availed of LEO supports in 2020

More than 20,500 female entrepreneurs have taken part in Local Enterprise Office training programmes and more than 3,560 have benefited from business mentoring so far in 2020.

“We’re stronger together” is the message from the Local Enterprise Offices, at the announcement of events to mark National Women’s Enterprise Day on Wednesday 14 October.

The Local Enterprise Office initiative, now in its 14th year, was launched by An Tánaiste and Minister Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, and is being funded by the Government of Ireland in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and Local Authorities.  

“On National Women’s Enterprise Day on 14 October, we want to show businesses that we’re ‘Stronger Together’”

Figures released by Local Enterprise Offices to coincide with the launch reveal that 20,551 female participants took part in training programmes with their Local Enterprise Office in the first six months of 2020, an increase of 58pc over the same period last year. There is also greater demand for mentoring support this year, with 3,567 female entrepreneurs taking up the support between January and June 2020, an increase of 19pc.

National Women’s Enterprise Day

The interactive events on 14 October for National Women’s Enterprise Day are moving online to LocalEnterprise.ie/NWED and the big themes this year are resilience, self-care, innovation and opportunity. All events in the programme are free of charge and include workshops with experts, panel discussions, a virtual marketplace and facilitated networking to connect more entrepreneurs with each other.

Entrepreneurs that will be sharing their insights and journeys include Olympian-turned-company founder Derval O’ Rourke, Sonia Deasy of the Irish global skincare brand, Pestle & Mortar, Pamela Laird of Moxi Loves who was a finalist on BBC’s The Apprentice and Áine Kerr, the co-founder of Kinzen and RTÉ broadcaster, who is also the M.C. for the day.

“The ‘Stronger Together’ message for National Women’s Enterprise Day has never been more important,” Minister Varadkar said. I look forward to addressing this year’s event and hearing from inspiring female business leaders on how they have managed the past few months, which have been extremely difficult for all business owners and their staff.

“The Government is determined to help more women pursue entrepreneurship as a career and I’m encouraged to see such a significant increase – 58pc, taking up the training programmes that are available. Training and mentorship can make a huge difference to any entrepreneur starting out, on what can often be a lonely journey, and I encourage all women considering setting up their own business to contact their Local Enterprise Office to see how they can help you.”

Orla Martin, chair of the National Women’s Enterprise Day Committee and head of Enterprise with LEO Offaly, said that Local Enterprise Office supports will be highlighted throughout the day to encourage more women to take advantage of them.

“Covid-19 has severely impacted every aspect of doing business in Ireland and there are massive challenges ahead,” Martin said. “Throughout the pandemic, Local Enterprise Offices have been helping small businesses respond to the crisis and over 20,500 female entrepreneurs have taken up supports so far in 2020. On National Women’s Enterprise Day on 14 October, we want to show businesses that we’re ‘Stronger Together.’ We also want to show how small changes can make big impacts, how we can learn from each other, how small businesses can cultivate innovation and how international markets can offer new opportunities.”

Other contributors on the day include Siobhan Kinsella of Chambers Ireland, Alison Richie of Polar Ice, Joanne Hession of LIFT Ireland, Tracy Keogh of Grow Remote, Larissa Feeney of Accountant Online, Deirdre Parkinson of Microfinance Ireland as well as Sheelagh Daly, Anne Lanigan and Marina Donohoe of Enterprise Ireland.

Pictured at top: Sonia Deasy, Pestle & Mortar, National Enterprise winner 2019

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 25 September, 2020