Series of Inspiring events in 2024 to encourage significant entrepreneurial ambition among women

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. The first in the series will kick off on Wednesday, January 24th.

The events are part of an initiative called Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs which is now in its second year and is supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG. The programme aims to ignite a flame among women with entrepreneurial ambitions to start a business but who may not have yet taken steps towards making their aspiration a reality.

Research tells us that almost 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 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.

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.

Attendees will hear the inspiring stories of successful entrepreneurs Louella Morton, co-founder of TestReach, and Leonora O’Brien, founder and former CEO of Pharmapod. They will be available to answer any questions attendees may have about the realities of starting and growing a global business. A limited number of places are still available for this event, click here to register.

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.

Other events, yet to be announced, will be held through to June 2024.

Key to the initiative is the panel of 11 Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs, a group of successful businesswomen whose achievements mirror the entrepreneurial ambition the programme is seeking to inspire.

Panel members have all volunteered their time to the initiative and have been selected on the basis of their professional experience, their backgrounds in corporate life and academia, and their experience building innovative companies across a range of sectors.

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.

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.

Entrepreneurs who have completed the Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs programme may wish to continue their development through the many accelerator programmes available.

Alternatively, if they have begun to generate revenues or raised significant third-party finance by the end of their participation on Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs, they 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 and the team behind the Going for Growth, Starting Strong, ACORNS and Back for Business development initiatives.

CEO of Enterprise Ireland Leo Clancy said:

“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. 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.”

Partner at KPMG Olivia Lynch said:

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

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

“The objective of this compelling and inspiring 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 high achieving women that may not have considered it previously and where we believe untapped, entrepreneurial potential lies.”

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