Percentage of Irish start-ups with women leaders has tripled, reveals Enterprise Ireland CEO

1 Jul 2016

Julie Sinnamon on stage at Inspirefest 2016. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

There has been an exponential rise in the percentage of Irish start-ups with women in leadership positions, with this figure more than tripling from 7pc in 2011 to 22pc last year, the CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon, told Inspirefest 2016.

Speaking during a panel on Board Participation and Leadership at Inspirefest 2016, Sinnmon said that the percentage of women leaders in start-ups has tripled since 2011.

“Enterprise Ireland supports over 200 start-ups a year. But, up until 2011, only 7pc had a female on the leadership team.

“This is not much out of line, slightly behind, international levels.”

She said that Enterprise Ireland doubled down on the issue and through a focus on issues such as lack of confidence and role models, change was ignited.

“Females are more impacted by role models than men. We worked on each one of those [issues] and, last year, figures showed that 22pc of Irish start-ups have women leaders.

“This is encouraging and we are going to keep our focus on this and we will try to get to that magic 50/50 figure,” Sinnamon said.

In recent weeks, Enterprise Ireland revealed that exports by Irish companies had exceeded €20bn for the first time.

However, with the fallout from Brexit, it remains to be seen what impact it will have on exports by Irish companies. Last week, Enterprise Ireland revealed a number of supports for UK-focused Irish companies that may be impacted.

Enterprise Ireland has risen to become an influential global player on the funding scene and, last year, the state agency was ranked third in the world by Pitchbook for its seed investment activity, ahead of powerful investors Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years