Enterprise Ireland will invest €600,000 in 12 female-led businesses as part of the Competitive Start Fund for Female Entrepreneurs, Minister for Small Businesses John Perry revealed at the launch for the first online networking platform for female entrepreneurs in Ireland.
The successful applicants will span a variety of sectors including Consumer Products, Enterprise Software, Medical Devices, E-Health, Online Applications and Internationally Traded Services.
The agency also launched a new online initiative that will support female entrepreneurs by facilitating greater communication and connectivity between the growing number of female entrepreneurs supported by Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland, helping them exploit opportunities to grow their businesses in Ireland and in international markets.
A spokesperson described the online initiative as a closed peer-to-peer platform for female entrepreneurs.
“A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is encouraging more businesses to start-up, grow, and create jobs,” Minister Perry said.
“Making sure that we have an increase in the number of female-led start-ups is part of that strategy. In line with this strategy Enterprise Ireland launched a new women-in-business drive to support female entrepreneurs, which attracted a very high level of applicants with ambitious and innovative projects.
“The launch of the peer to peer online networking platform, supporting female led companies will help to continue to significantly boost the number of high potential female-led business start-ups. This initiative is part of a drive by Enterprise Ireland to boost the number of innovative, export-oriented businesses being set up and led by female entrepreneurs,” Perry added.
100pc increase in number of female-led HPSU investments
Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said that 2013 saw a 100pc increase in the number of female-led HPSU investments.
“The development of high-potential start-up businesses is core to Enterprise Ireland’s role in developing sustainable export-oriented companies,” Sinnamon explained.
“The 100pc increase in female-led businesses is extremely encouraging and I am confident that the online networking platform will support female entrepreneurs to expand their business horizons and set up innovative international companies that can win business abroad and create jobs at home.”
Sinnamon said a key priority in 2014 is to accelerate this growth through the Business Women 4 International Growth initiative which includes:
Going for Growth: Open to female entrepreneurs with a strong focus on growth, this initiative supports female entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas. Applicants must own at least 50pc of their business, be trading in that business for at least two years, and work full-time in that business. Note: closing date for receipt of completed application forms is Monday 27th January 2014.
Female Propeller Programme for High Fliers: this accelerator programme for female led start-ups specifically addresses the challenges facing female entrepreneurs. Run over 13 weeks, the programme consists of 1 day per week, classroom-based and one-to-one mentoring, networking events and grant assistance. Note: closing date for receipt of completed application forms is Monday 27th January 2014.
Enterprise Ireland’s partnered with Going for Growth, DCU Ryan Academy, Cork Institute of Technology and the NDRC to deliver these programmes.
Female-led start-up businesses:
Female business leader image via Shutterstock