The new National Mentoring Programme for Female Entrepreneurs is aiming to boost female entrepreneurship and to recognise and support women’s start-ups throughout their first year of being in business.
Minister for Small Business John Perry, TD, launched the programme today.
The Galway Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the four Chambers of Commerce in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Sligo have led the initiative, which matches early-stage female entrepreneurs with a mentor for one year.
In addition to the programme, a series of clinics will be held throughout Ireland, which are open to all female entrepreneurs to meet with the panel of mentors.
“The establishment of the Irish Network of Mentors for Female Entrepreneurs is an important step in providing the right environment to foster the development of female entrepreneurial talent across all sectors of Irish business," Perry said.
“As SME envoy for Ireland, one of my roles is to work towards ensuring that policies at national, regional and local level are enterprise friendly. One of the outcomes of the European Commissions’ Report of the Investment Readiness for Women Entrepreneurs Workshop concluded that female entrepreneurs often have different goals for their business and face greater difficulties than men in accessing finance," Perry added.
“It is now up to the banking sector to recognise their full responsibilities by providing the economy with the services and credit it needs. They must work closely with, and actively support, viable small businesses that are driving forward recovery in the real economy. As the voice of small business to Government, I will do my part to ensure that the concerns of small businesses are brought to the attention of the banking sector.
President of Galway Chamber Carmel Brennan said its selection by the European Commission to roll out a nationwide programme to early stage female entrepreneurs reinforces its commitment to supporting local entrepreneurs.
"Working in partnership with the four other Chambers, we will be providing a valuable opportunity to female entrepreneurs to connect with, and learn from, business mentors," Brennan said.
The Mentoring Programme is part of a wider EU Commission initiative called European Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs.
Participation on the programme is by application only. The eligibility criteria and application forms are available online.
Applications are also invited from business owners (male or female) to join the panel of mentors for the programme. Details are available on the website.