National Women’s Enterprise Day highlights success stories

By William O' Connor 

Female entrepreneurs from across the Dublin Region took part in Ireland’s largest National Women’s Enterprise Day when they attended their local event at Citywest Hotel on Thursday October 18. 

An initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices, and now in its 12th year, over 1,400 female entrepreneurs attended National Women’s Enterprise Day events across the country.

International Womens Enterprise Day 04

Julie Sinnamon, Niamh Sherwin Barry, Chiara Keating and Blaithin Ennis at the event in Citywest

Over 200 local entrepreneurs were in attendance in Citywest Hotel to hear the thoughts of some very inspirational and motivational speakers including Helen Smyth of Facebook, Julie Sinnamon of Enterprise Ireland and Oonagh O’Hagan of Meaghers Pharmacies.

Master of ceremonies for the day was renowned TV and radio broadcaster Colette Fitzpatrick and other special guests included Danny McLoughlin, Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council, Councillor Charlie O’Connor, Chairperson of the Tallaght Area Committee and Pat Breen T.D., Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection.

The National Women’s Enterprise Day initiative is led by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide, and funded by the Government of Ireland, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, Local Authorities and the Enterprise Europe Network.

The theme of this year’s National Women’s Enterprise Day was “From Local To Global”, aiming to highlight the success stories of female entrepreneurs who have taken their local ideas and turned them into global success stories with the hope of inspiring more women to do the same.

 In 2017, the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) played a key role in supporting female entrepreneurs at all stages of their business journey with over 18,500 female entrepreneurs taking part in LEO-led training, mentoring and networking programmes, while LEO provided direct funding to 280 female-led businesses.

Over 14,500 female entrepreneurs have already received training or mentoring through their Local Enterprise Office this year alone.

Amanda Mills, Senior Enterprise Development Officer with LEO South Dublin, said, “National Women’s Enterprise Day is a key milestone for Local Enterprise Offices around the country. Since it started twelve years ago, the popularity of NWED has grown and every year we have more female success stories in business to highlight.

"The events are as important as ever, as they connect female entrepreneurs and give them the opportunity to learn from each other and share business challenges and solutions.

“For any female entrepreneurs in business or starting one up, our advice is to come and talk to the team at the Local Enterprise Office and we will quickly put you on a path to the right enterprise supports.

“Just start the conversation with your Local Enterprise office and we can guide you from there.” 

Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland, said: “Supporting ambitious business women to achieve their full potential is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland.  We have made significant strides in recent years; in 2017 more than one in three start-ups in Ireland were led by women, an increase from one in ten just five years ago. Role models are important as they inspire others to come forward. 

“Enterprise Ireland are working closely with the Local Enterprise Offices to profile successful businesswomen, and to create an entrepreneurial environment that encourages and nurtures the business talents of women across the country. 

“We will continue to support these business women and encourage their global ambition to follow the path of many great Irish businesswomen before them.”                          

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