New Initiative Launched to Encourage Female Professionals to Set Up Their Own Businesses

A new initiative aimed at introducing a new group of females to the idea of setting up their own business has been launched today.

Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs is a programme which aims to inspire female entrepreneurs who have not yet taken the steps towards starting a business.

It is focused on tapping into the entrepreneurial potential of female professionals, women in senior corporate positions, as well as those with doctoral and post-doctoral qualifications, or females seeking a change of direction.

Supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, this programme will support these early-stage entrepreneurs to follow through on their ambitions and go on to establish businesses that are scalable, innovative and focused on export markets.

The first event to showcase Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs will be held today (November 17) hosted by IdeasLab, University of Galway. Attendees will hear from three successful entrepreneurs – Andrea Doolan, co-founder and CEO of Atlantia Food Clinical Trials, Dr. Anne Cusack, co-founder and formerly of Critical Healthcare and Leonora O’Brien, founder and formerly of Pharmapod.

Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs has been developed by the same team behind the award-winning Going for Growth development programme. Key to the initiative is the panel of Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs, a group of successful businesswomen selected to mirror by their achievements the entrepreneurial ambition we are seeking to inspire.

The panel — who are volunteering their time to this initiative — has been selected on the basis of their shared backgrounds in corporate life, the professions and academia, along with their experience building innovative companies across a range of sectors.

They are Áine Denn, founder of Altify; Andrea Doolan, co-founder and CEO of Atlantia Food Clinical Trials; Dr Anne Cusack, 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, founder of TestReach; and Dr Vanessa Creaven, co-founder of Spotlight Oral Care.

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

1 Inspiring: Partner organisations will invite appropriate groups from their networks to come together to hear from a selection of the Inspiring Lead Entrepreneurs – who will mirror their own background. Those interested in beginning their own entrepreneurial journey will be asked to register their interest on the spot via this website.

2 Fostering Entrepreneurial Capacity: Those deemed to have innovative business ideas with global ambition will be invited to participate in a series of workshops facilitated by KPMG and other experts. There will also be a chance to develop peer support networks.

3 Gathering Information: Participants will have the opportunity to attend a meeting with Enterprise Ireland executives to gather information about available supports open to them.

4 Participating on a Round Table: Prospective entrepreneurs who have completed the previous stages will have the opportunity to apply to take part in a series of round tables led by an Inspiring Lead Entrepreneur, who will offer insights on how to start an innovative business focused on growth, with a particular focus on moving from concept to implementation.

5 Continuing Support: Those who complete the series of Inspiring round tables 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.

Entrepreneurs who have completed the Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs programme and have begun to generate revenues will be eligible to apply for Starting Strong, which is a similar programme to Going for Growth for entrepreneurs at an earlier stage of their journey.

Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs is the brainchild of Paula Fitzsimons who is also behind the Going for Growth, Starting Strong, ACORNS and Back for Business development initiatives.

CEO of Enterprise Ireland Leo Clancy said:

“Enterprise Ireland’s six-year Women in Business Strategy aims to increase the participation of women in both entrepreneurship and business leadership. This is because we recognise the potential for boosting economic performance by maximising all of the skills and talent available in Ireland. We’ve set some ambitious targets, including doubling the number of women-led companies in the export market by 2025.

“One of our four key objectives is to ensure that we build a strong pipeline of future entrepreneurs, and ‘Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs’ is all about reaching out to and supporting women who want to become entrepreneurs and build innovative businesses of scale, focused on export markets. I have no doubt that many of these will be the HPSUs of the future.

Partner at KPMG Olivia Lynch said:

“KPMG has a strong track record of supporting women in business, so we are proud to be involved with Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs. We are excited to see all of the opportunities that this initiative will open for women who have a vision to harness their skills to be entrepreneurs growing scalable businesses.

“This tailored initiative will encourage more women to establish innovative businesses focused on growth with global ambition. In addition to the panel of Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs who will offer insights into their entrepreneurial journey, KPMG’s experts will facilitate a series of Inspiring workshops and share their expertise with this year’s ambitious entrepreneurs on a wide range of key business matters such as cyber security, corporate and tax governance, raising finance and much more.”

National Director of Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs, Paula Fitzsimons, said:

“The objective of this new and exciting initiative is to increase the number of female-led innovative businesses of scale, focused on export markets. 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 women that may not have considered it previously and where we believe untapped, entrepreneurial potential lies.”

Director of Entrepreneurial Development, University of Galway, Dr. Natalie Walsh, said:

“The West of Ireland is the Ideal location to showcase inspiring female entrepreneurs. We are surrounded by a strong community of female innovators, entrepreneurs and supporters who embody all that the Inspiring Women programme is about. Later this month, IdeasLab, University of Galway will launch a student female focussed programme that takes inspiration from programmes such as this and Going for Growth to support our female students. This will connect our female students into our wonderful community and give them the best opportunity to consider entrepreneurship as a potential future career”