News & Events

Record number of female entrepreneurs participate in National Women’s Enterprise Day

More than eight hundred businesswomen take part in inspiring events

A record 800 Irish businesswomen are today (Wednesday October 19th) taking part in inspiring events all over the country to mark the 10th annual National Women’s Enterprise Day.

Organised by Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), the events are being attended by some of Ireland’s most successful business leaders who are sharing their stories and offering advice to women on how to achieve success.

The number of Irish female entrepreneurs receiving business supports from the LEOs increased by 20 per cent last year. More than than 6,250 female-run businesses received financial and mentoring supports in 2015, whilst more than 11,000 participated in specialist training programmes.

The National Women’s Enterprise Day events are taking place in Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Meath, Westmeath, Dublin and Cavan. All 31 LEOs are supporting the initiative, with established female entrepreneurs acting as Regional Ambassadors and sharing their inspiring success stories. 

Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said it was heartening to see more women than ever seeking support from the LEOs.

“I welcome the fact that more female entrepreneurs are seeking advice and support with starting their own business. Women have a huge amount to contribute to business in Ireland and are very important to our economy. Female entrepreneurs are creating jobs right across the country in every town and village across Ireland creating innovative enterprises that are focused on exports, growth and job creation. I want to encourage more women to set up businesses across our regions, with the help of their Local Enterprise Offices. This event today is a fantastic networking event which offers continued support to those female entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business and those developing and expanding their business.”

The Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, said the huge interest in this year’s National Women’s Enterprise Day certainly is an encouraging sign that more women are considering entrepreneurship as a career.

“I am delighted to support today’s National Women’s Enterprise Day. The events taking place around the country today are a great platform for aspiring female entrepreneurs who can learn from experienced businesswomen who will share their stories. They will get support, advice and inspiration to guide them in setting up their own businesses. Encouraging more entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas is what we want to do so that jobs can be created across Ireland.”

Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices said it is clear that women’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Ireland. “It is our job to nurture that spirit and to give women in business all the help and guidance they need. It is important that they are aware of the huge supports available to them through Local Enterprise Offices. “

She urged as many women either in business or considering starting their own business to attend one of the seven events around the country today to mark National Women’s Enterprise Day. “These events will be an invaluable help to women who will be both inspired and informed.”

This year’s National Women’s Day Regional Ambassadors are: Valerie Kingston of Glenilen Farm in Cork (South West Region); Hannah Wrixon of Last Minute Minders in Limerick (Mid West Region); Nicola Byrne of 11890 and Cloud 90 (Dublin Region); Audrey Gaffney of Audrey Gaffney Associates in Meath (Mid East Region); Aisling Hanley of Keenwah Quinoa in Galway (West Region); Regina Bushell of Grovelands Childcare in Westmeath (Midlands Region); Rachel Doyle of the Arboretum (South East Region) and Margaret Reilly of CTR Manufacturing in Louth (Border Region).

Guest speakers at National Women’s Enterprise Day events around the country include fashion designers Heidi Higgins, Úna Burke and Sonya Lennon of Lennon Courtney. Women entrepreneurs will also hear from Sherri Brennan of Skip Trans Waste Management, Patricia Callan of the Small Firms Association, Orla Barry of Barry Express, Kathryn Byrne of Your Image, Deirdre Uí Chathmhaoil of Rí na Mara, and Maura Hunter of MH Designs

Details about the supports available to entrepreneurs through the Local Enterprise Offices are available from


For all media queries around National Women’s Enterprise Day, please contact Engage Ireland Sarah Bohan or John Compton on Tel: 01 427 8388 / 087 65 39936 /

Notes to Editor:

* Facts and Figures: Number of participants of Local Enterprise Office training programmes, broken down by gender. Source: Centre of Excellence, Enterprise Ireland

Gender: FemaleYear 2014: 9,773 Year 2015: 11,088Increase: 1,315Number of enterprises receiving Local Enterprise Office supports, broken down by gender. Source: Centre of Excellence, Enterprise Ireland

Gender: FemaleYear 2014: 5,207Year 2015: 6,258Increase: 1,051

Photography Note:

Reproduction-free images from all National Women’s Enterprise Day events are available. Please request these through Engage Ireland.

National Women’s Enterprise Day events, organised by the Local Enterprise Offices (

Seven events taking place on Wednesday, October 19th 2016 ( / #NWED)Theme: The Road To Success

 West Region (Galway, Mayo and Roscommon)

Get inspired and empowered over Afternoon Tea at the g Hotel

Regional Ambassador: Aisling Hanley of Keenwah Quinoa and Aisling’s Bakery

Destination: The g Hotel, Wellpark in Galway City

Time: 8.45am for registration, finishing at 4.30pm (full day event, with Afternoon Tea)

With: Úna Burke, Luxury Accessories Designer & Artist, Natasha Fennell of Stillwater Communications, Olwen Dawe of Business Intelligence, Carol Joyce and Anna Forde of Yourells, Karen Blissbakery of Yankee Doddle Paddy Blog, Breda Butler of Cuinneog, Deirdre Uí Chathmhaoil of Rí na Mara, Aisling Hanley of Keenwah Quinoa and Aisling’s Bakery, Fiona Faherty of Fushion Fashion, Jill Holtx of My Kids Time, Jenny Brennan of VOW Social and Maricka Burke Keogh of AltoCloud.

South West Region (Kerry, Cork City, South Cork, Cork North and West)

Plan your route to export, master pitches and get roadmaps for your business

Regional Ambassador: Valerie Kingston, Glenilen Farm

Destination: The Brehon Hotel, Muckross Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry

Time: 9.30am for registration, finishing at 4pm (with networking lunch)

With: Barbara Moynihan of On Your Feet, Clodagh McCarthy of Bright Sparks Coaching, Antoinette Butler of Ireland Host Family, Julia Lynes of EazyCity, Rosie Mansfield of Go Cambio, Maura Hunter of MH Designs Ltd, Valerie Kingston of Glenilen Farm, Helen Hourihane of the Health & Safety Authority, Greg Canty of Fuzion Communications, Caroline McEnery of The HR Suite and Kieran O’ Connor of Bullseye Marketing (in association with Enterprise Europe Network). Master of Ceremonies: Liz Maher, President of Kerry Businesswomen’s Network.


South East and Mid West Regions (Kilkenny, Carlow, Tipperary, Wexford, Waterford, Limerick & Clare)

East meets West with after dinner speaker Miriam O’Callaghan on Wednesday and a business power breakfast on Thursday

Regional Ambassador: Rachel Doyle, Arboretum (South East) and Hannah Wrixon, Last Minute Minders (Mid West)

Destination: Kilkenny River Court Hotel, The Bridge, John Street, Kilkenny City

Time on Wed, Oct 19th: 5pm for arrival and registration, finishing at 10pm (with dinner)

Time on Thur, Oct 20th: 8.30am, finishing at 11am (with breakfast refreshments)

With: Rachel Doyle of the Arboretum, Hannah Wrixon of Last Minute Minders and Siobhan Donohoe of Special Guest Speaker: Broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan.

Mid East Region (Meath, Kildare and Wicklow)

Drive your company’s revenue, profits and cash-flow in the right direction using positive economics

Regional Ambassador: Audrey Gaffney, Audrey Gaffney Associates

Destination: Knightsbrook Hotel, Dublin Road, Trim, Co. Meath

Time: 11am for registration, finishing at 3.30pm (lunch included)

With: Susan Hayes Culleton of the Positive Economist, Alison Banton of Brooke & Shoals, Kathryn Byrne of Your Image Matters and Audrey Gaffney of Audrey Gaffney Associates.

Midlands Region (Westmeath, Longford, Laois and Offaly)

Hear five inspiring journeys and work out your own route to success over lunch at the Wineport Lodge Regional

Ambassador: Regina Bushell of Grovelands Childcare

Destination: The Wineport Lodge, Glasson, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

Time: 10.30am for registration, finishing at 2.30pm after networking lunch

With: Sonya Lennon of Lennon Courtney, Paula Fitzsimmons of Fitzsimmons Consulting, Alison Ritchie of Polar Ice, Fashion Designer Heidi Higgins, Orla Barry of Barry Express and Regina Bushell of Grovelands Childcare.

Dublin Region (Fingal, Dublin City, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown)

Overcome obstacles, develop your roadmap and get ready for business take-off at Dublin Airport

Regional Ambassador: Nicola Byrne of Cloud90 and 11890

Destination: Radisson Blu Hotel, Dublin Airport

Time: 8.30am for registration, morning conference finishing at 1pm with light lunch

With: A dynamic team of speakers and panellists including, Nicola Byrne, Cloud90 and 11890; Joanne Hession, The Entrepreneurs Academy; Susan Spence, SoftCo; Susannagh Grogan, Susannagh Grogan Accessories; Sherry Brennan, Skip Trans Waste Management; Cora Barnes, 3Q Recruitment; Caroline Keeling, Keelings and hosted by RTÉs Keelin Shanley.

Border Region (Cavan, Louth, Leitrim, Sligo, Monaghan and Donegal)

Be impressed with inspiring stories of strong female role models over lunch at Farnham Estate

Regional Ambassador: Margaret Reilly of CTR Manufacturing Ltd and Grand Designs Kitchen & Bedrooms

Destination: Radisson Farnham Estate Cavan, Co. Cavan

Time: 12.15pm for registration, finishing at 3pm (lunch included)

Special Guest: Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht, Ms. Heather Humphreys T.D.

With: Mairead Lavery, Editor of Irish Country Living magazine and Patricia Callan of the Small Firms Association. Plus, hear the journeys of successful entrepreneurs from the region.