Women in Business Manager, Enterprise Ireland
Ireland’s economic success will be driven by harnessing a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem which utilises the skills, ambition and talent of a diverse population.
Numerous studies have shown that gender-balanced teams and businesses perform better. This is one of the many reasons why Enterprise Ireland has a strong focus on increasing the participation of women in entrepreneurship and leadership roles.
Women in entrepreneurship
Enterprise Ireland’s ‘Women in Business’ six-year action plan is a wide-ranging strategy with the objective of increasing the number of women who are starting, leading and growing businesses in Ireland.
This strategy is underpinned by the four key objectives of increasing the number of:
- Women becoming entrepreneurs
- Women founders in High Potential Start-Ups (HPSU)
- Women-led companies growing internationally
- Women in senior leadership positions in companies in Ireland
This strategy builds on Enterprise Ireland’s significant experience over the last decade in addressing the deficit in women-led HPSUs and includes a range of initiatives, along with capability development and financial support.
These efforts are paying off, and progress is clear. For instance, in 2011, just 7% of the HPSUs we funded at the first seed stage included a woman on the founding team; but in 2022, this had risen to 37%.
Numerous studies have shown that gender-balanced teams and businesses perform better.
Network of supports
Despite the positive momentum and progress, there is room for further growth in this area, and our organisation continues to focus on how we can support that.
For example, we have developed the ‘The Level Project,’ which includes an Action Planning Toolkit which is freely available to all companies online, allowing them to assess the gender balance in their organisations and put in place practical actions to enhance the balance in their senior teams.
Our Women in Business strategy is also a priority for our overseas teams in our network of 40 international offices. For example, this month, we are co-hosting a Women in Technology event at Ireland House in San Francisco. And last year, we hosted a Women in Business event in Washington DC as part of our programme of activities for St Patrick’s Day.
We also work with partners to support several ongoing initiatives focused on supporting women in business, including the ‘Going for Growth’ programme and the recently launched ‘Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs’ initiative. By supporting the expertise of our diverse population, it will result in better businesses and sustainable economic growth.