Female entrepreneurs more optimistic in terms of employment

Westmeath County Enterprise Board aims to decrease gender divide among Irish entrepreneurs

Female entrepreneurs in Ireland are becoming more optimistic about the growth of their businesses. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM ) report for 2012 report shows that the number of female early stage entrepreneurs who expect to have at least 10 employed people within five years has almost doubled, to 23 per cent. Conversely, the percentage of male entrepreneurs expecting to have at least 10 jobs within five years has dropped from 36 to 27 per cent.

Women across the county are being encouraged and assisted by Westmeath County Enterprise Board in starting their own business in an effort to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in Ireland, which is currently around half the rate of male entrepreneur start-ups.

Minister Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People has announced plans for National Women’s Enterprise Day 2013 which will provide information and advice to women who run their own small or medium-sized business, whether in the start-up stage or more established. The event is taking place in Portlaoise, at the Heritage Hotel, on Wednesday October 16 and Thursday October 17 and is being jointly organised by the Westmeath County Enterprise Board.

Ireland has a much higher rate of men setting up their own company than women, according to the GEM report for 2012. The report revealed that although the number of female entrepreneurs is steady, it is around half that of male entrepreneurship. During 2012, 4 per cent of early stage entrepreneurs were women, compared to 8.3 per cent of men. The report also revealed that 4.7 per cent of established owner-managers are women while the figure for their male counterparts is 11.8 per cent.

The GEM report for Ireland indicates that the level of women’s entrepreneurial activity has remained steady but their expectations for the growth of their businesses have increased very significantly, especially with regards to future employment prospects.

Westmeath County Enterprise Board, which offers a range of supports to small and medium-sized businesses, is encouraging more women to use their skills to set up a business.

Christine Charlton, chief executive officer of Westmeath County Enterprise Board said: “The aim of National Women’s Enterprise Day is to improve confidence among female entrepreneurs and women thinking of setting up a business. One of the main reasons cited by women as a barrier to start up is a lack of confidence. The fact that more women are starting businesses reflects the increased effort among policy makers and development agencies to encourage women to become involved in entrepreneurial activity and to be ambitious for their new businesses.”

The two keynote speakers at National Women’s Enterprise Day are Dragon’s Den’s Ramona Nicholas, who runs Cara Pharmacies and Alyson Hogg, founder and CEO of Vita Liberata.

Other successful female entrepreneurs involved in the event are: Rosaria Piseri of AlgaAran in County Donegal, which produces a range of organic seaweed products; Mags Kirwan of Goatsbridge Irish Trout from County Kilkenny; internationally acclaimed milliner Davina Lynch from County Cavan; and Pauline Naughton of P and G Cards in County Roscommon.

Co-funded by the European Social Fund with support from the Department of Justice and Equality through the Equality for Women measure, the aim of National Women’s Enterprise Day is to give national recognition to the role of female entrepreneurship.

The conference fee of €100 allows attendance at the half-day conference on Wednesday October 16, including conference supper and the full-day conference, including lunch, on Thursday October 17. Delegates can also pre-book a 30-minute mentor session, free of charge.

Booking forms and more details are available from www.nwed.ie


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