Five women-led companies selected for scale-up programme

2 Feb 2023

From left: Sandra Healy, Chupi Sweetman, Claire McHugh, Aine Kilkenny, Fiona Parfrey. Image: Naoise Culhane

One of the selected start-ups, Inclusio, recently announced plans to create 80 jobs on the back of a major investment.

Five companies founded by women have been selected for a programme that aims to give mentorship and guidance to ambitious women entrepreneurs in Ireland.

Run by Endeavour Ireland, a not-for-profit that works to accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs by connecting them with talent, capital and a worldwide network, the programme is offering 10 one-on-one mentorships over the next five months.

Endeavour runs ‘scale-up’ programmes around the world. This is the first time the programme is being rolled out in Ireland. Endeavour, which is offering the programme in conjunction with law firm Philip Lee, opened its Irish office in 2019.

Following a call for applications last October, the five selected companies are Chupi, Axonista, Orphan Drug Consulting, Riley and Inclusio.

Last month, diversity and inclusion platform Inclusio announced plans to create 80 jobs over the next two years on the back of a major investment. It was founded by Sandra Healy in 2020.

“Endeavor is a not-for-profit organisation with a focus on supporting entrepreneurs with high-impact potential to scale up, and to ultimately provide a societal benefit for Ireland,” said Rory Guinan, managing director of Endeavor Ireland.

“We’ve been very impressed with the entrepreneurs we’ve worked with since establishing in Ireland and eleven founders have now come through the rigorous selection process for our core entrepreneur programme.”

A TechIreland report from earlier this year found that while women-led start-ups received significantly more funding in 2021 than previous years, they still only got 13pc of the total investment into Irish tech.

A report from European Women in VC on gender diversity in VC funding in Europe suggested women general partners have significantly less investment power than men.

In October, tech founder Enrika Moore spoke to ahead of National Women’s Enterprise Day, about how the Local Enterprise Office can help move the needle for women in business.

The Endeavour programme kicked off with a session in Dublin led by Anne Heraty, who is on the board of Endeavour Ireland, and Anna Hickey, a partner at Philip Lee. The programme will run until May 2023.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic