The Going for Growth programme is looking to help ambitious Irish female entrepreneurs develop their business.
The programme is open to women who are at least two years in business, own at least 50pc of their company and who are working full time.
They will be offered a peer-led learning environment with experience Irish businesswomen who act as lead entrepreneurs for the duration of the initiative, which begins in January 2012.
Lead entrepreneurs involved in the next Going for Growth cycle include Colette Twomey, chief executive of the Clonakilty Black Pudding Company, Eileen Bergin, founder of Butler’s Pantry, Elaine Coughlan, Partner Atlantic Bridge, Fiona O’Carroll, Executive Vice President of the New Ventures/Innovation Group, Julie Colclough, Founder and CEO of Eurobase, Lulu O’Sullivan Executive Chairman and founder of GiftsDirect.com, Mary McKenna founder and Managing Director of Tour America and Monica Flood, founder of OlasIT.
Paula Fitzsimons, national director and founder of Going for Growth, said that the recession has not stopped the huge entrepreneurial spirit existing amongst Irish businesswomen.
“Ireland needs all the entrepreneurial talent available to it and Irish women have a major role to play in delivering the economic benefits and job creation opportunities that successful entrepreneurship can bring. Going for Growth is designed to support women to fully exploit their entrepreneurial talent and potential,” she said.
The sixty businesswomen who took part in the last Going for growth cycle had a combined turnover of €42m and employed almost 450 people.
During the programme, the majority of participants increased their turnover by an average of 10pc and created 45 extra jobs. Several became exporters for the first time.
GEM report on women
The recent 2010 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report for Ireland, co-authored by Fitzsimons, found that women represent just 29pc of early stage entrepreneurs.
Forty-two percent of women are confident that they have the skills and knowledge to start a business, compared to 57pc of men. Forty-three percent of women say the fear of failure prevents them from starting a business, whereas just 34pc of men feel the same way.
The research also found that women who know an entrepreneurial role model are five times more likely to become entrepreneurs themselves.
The Going for Growth programme is funded by the European Social Fund, Enterprise Ireland and the Equality for Women Measure Department of Justice and Equality.
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