Increase in women entrepreneurs

8 Aug 2005

There has been an increase in the number of women early-stage entrepreneurs, the Irish report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) looking back on 2004 reports. Women early-stage entrepreneurs in 2004 were 5pc of all entrepreneurs, compared with 3.7pc in 2003.

The higher level of activity is substantially accounted for by an increase in the number of women actively planning to set up a new business.

The proportion of women who have recently set up new businesses in Ireland is low, however, compared to the number set up by men and is also low compared to the percentage of women starting up in other high-income countries, the report revealed.

As in previous years, the level of entrepreneurial activity in Ireland remains to the fore among European countries and is second only to Poland among the participating EU member states.

However, there remains a gap between Europe and other high-income OECD countries such as the US, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand and Australia.

Key informants interviewed for the purpose of the study once again highlighted culture as the most significant factor in creating an environment conducive to entrepreneurial activity in Ireland.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheàl Martin, commented: “The GEM report confirms that the enterprise culture in Ireland remains strong. Choosing to start a business is regarded in a highly positive light and we have the support structures in place to encourage further growth through Enterprise Ireland and the County Enterprise Boards.

“In terms of regional development, it is critical that entrepreneurs emerge in all regions across Ireland. New start-up companies in towns and villages across the country can provide high skilled and challenging employment and generate valuable spin-off business opportunities in local areas.”

Enterprise Ireland’s Colm Hackett said that the consolidation of the venture capital market and the improvement in the global economic environment means that opportunities for growth are now better than ever. “In the past year Enterprise Ireland has identified returning ex-pats as a rich source of new start-up companies. The research in the GEM report this year indicates an increase in entrepreneurial activity among women.

“The challenge for us in the development agencies is to ensure that the business ideas emerging from all these sources are translated into self-sustaining, ambitious companies,” Hackett said.

By John Kennedy