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Women in Business 2022

Initiatives promote more women to lead businesses in Ireland

iStock / Getty Images Plus / gorodenkoff

Sheelagh Daly

Entrepreneurship Manager, Enterprise Ireland

Extensive research shows that companies with gender balance in leadership positions perform better in terms of profitability, productivity, innovation and growth.

In an era when competition for talent has dramatically intensified, companies with a more diversified and balanced team will be more attractive to a wider pool of talent.

Diversity for the economy

Enterprise Ireland works to accelerate the development of world-class Irish companies to achieve leading positions in global markets. A key goal of our strategy ‘Leading in a Changing World 2022–2024,’ is to ensure at least 30% participation by women in our significant management development programmes.

Ensuring that women realise their full business potential is critical to economic prosperity. We offer support to help Irish companies assess their needs as they address the current gaps and future plans.

Initiative for women

Last year, we launched The Level Project. This initiative comes from the organisation’s six-year strategy for Women in Business and is designed to increase the number of women in leadership and senior management positions in Irish SMEs.

Ensuring that women realise their full business potential is critical to economic prosperity.

The Level Project Action Planning Toolkit, which is just one example of our recent work in this area, provides a practical online resource. It is freely available to all businesses, which they can utilise to develop a gender balance action plan tailored to them.

Entrepreneurship programmes

Over the past decade, we have been delivering several initiatives to encourage diversity, promote women’s entrepreneurship and increase the number of women-led High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs). This includes dedicated funding for early-stage women entrepreneurs, showcasing role models and capability building combined with peer-to-peer networking. In addition, in collaboration with the Irish Venture Capital Association, we are rolling out a new programme this year, aimed at enabling women entrepreneurs to raise venture capital finance.

While there is still work to do, positive momentum has already been achieved.

Recent achievements

Since 2013, 75% of the funds supported through the Seed and Venture Capital investment scheme have a woman at the partner/investment manager level. Last October, European tech magazine SIFTED listed Enterprise Ireland as the number one VC in Europe by deal counts in female founders over the past five years. Overall, the proportion of women-founded Enterprise Ireland HPSUs has risen from just 7% in 2011 to 29% in 2021.

By harnessing the full talent and expertise of Ireland’s diverse population and enhancing the gender balance of senior teams, Irish companies can build strong leadership, attract talent and improve their business performance.

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