More money and supports should be made available for female-led firms in Ireland.
An Oireachtas enterprise joint committee has called for a €25 million investment fund to be set up. The fund should be available exclusively to female entrepreneurs.
The committee is also calling for better maternity benefits for female entrepreneurs.
The committee’s research shows that women, and young women in particular, are far more reluctant than men to take risks and start a business. “Much of this is down to the barriers associated with balancing career and motherhood,” says senator Mary White, one of the co-authors of the committee’s report.
Key recommendations of the report include:
- An overhaul of the existing maternity benefit scheme by giving female entrepreneurs the same benefits as female employees;
- Financial incentives for women starting their entrepreneurial careers;
- An Enterprise Ireland-led €25 million seed capital fund, exclusively for female-led firms (€25m could support about 50 new female-led companies over a five-year period);
- More female business angel networks established and promoted in the regions;
- A government-led ‘powerful, sustained and clear campaign’ to teach parents, teachers and girls about the benefits of studying STEM subjects.
Enterprise Ireland currently runs a Competitive Start Fund for business women. A €500,000 pool is open to startups run by women. The recent joint committee’s report says the funding should be doubled for the next three years, with a second annual call for applicants added.
The full report is available online.
Also, please read the ThinkBusiness guide for women in business. It includes details of the various female entrepreneur supports available in Ireland.