News & Events

Minister Humphreys and Minister Breen open largest ever National Women’s Enterprise Day

  • 16 events taking place nationwide with record attendance expected

  • Over 1,400 female entrepreneurs & business women taking part

  • Norah Casey, Marissa Carter, Oonagh O’Hagan and Mary McKenna involved #NWED 2018

Today is the 12th year of the National Women’s Enterprise Day, an initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices, across the Country.  Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation is attending National Women’s Enterprise Day events in Cavan and Monaghan, while Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection attended an event in Citywest Hotel in Dublin.

The National Women’s Enterprise Day will see 16 events under the theme “From Local to Global” taking place across the country, with over 1,400 female entrepreneurs and business women taking part.  Among those participating in the Day’s events include Oscar nominated Catherine Roycroft of Cartoon Saloon, Norah Casey of Harmonia, Julie Sinnamon of Enterprise Ireland, Oonagh O’Hagan of Meaghers Pharmacy Group, Mary McKenna of Tour America and Marissa Carter of Cocoa Brown. 

Today’s theme, “From Local To Global”, seeks to encourage female entrepreneurs and business women to be ambitious and take their local idea and make it a global success.  In 2017 the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) played a key role in supporting female entrepreneurs in all stages of their business journey.  Over 18,500 female entrepreneurs took part in LEO led training, mentoring and networking programmes, while the LEOs provided funding to 280 female led businesses in 2017.  This year, to September 30th, over 14,500 female entrepreneurs have received training or mentoring through their Local Enterprise Office. 

Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, said; This is a very significant day that puts Irish female entrepreneurship into the spotlight and celebrates the huge strides Irish businesswomen have made both here and internationally.  Today is also an opportunity to inspire the female entrepreneurs of the future, by showing them what is possible and why they should be thinking global.  Irish businesswomen have shown they can be the best in the world and we must continue in this frame of mind.  The recent budget has shown my Department’s commitment to business and entrepreneurs with a 22% increase in funding for the Local Enterprise Offices and we will continue to back our inspirational female entrepreneurs.”

Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, said; “National Women’s Enterprise Day is a very significant day in the Irish business calendar.  Ireland needs more female entrepreneurs and there is a large range of supports available that can help to make this happen.  The aim of today’s events is to showcase and share the success stories of Ireland’s female entrepreneurs as an encouragement for further participation of women in business.  The Local Enterprise Offices offer a range of fantastic supports to assist entrepreneurs on their business journey and, on this day in particular, I would encourage all female entrepreneurs to avail of their services.”  

Orla Martin, Local Enterprise Offices and Chair of the National Women’s Enterprise Day Committee, said; “National Women’s Enterprise Day is one of the key days for the Local Enterprise Offices around the country.  Since its inception 12 years ago the popularity of NWED has grown and grown, and year on year we have more female success stories in business to highlight. The events are really important as they connect female entrepreneurs and give them the opportunity to learn from each other and share business challenges and solutions . The events are not just designed to assist existing female entrepreneurs. They are also for women considering a startup, introducing them to role models and network of business women with a wealth of experience.

"For anyone considering a business start up, what I would say is come along to the events, talk to your Local Enterprise Office and they will quickly put you on a path to making your business work.  Just have that conversation and we can guide you from there.”

Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland, said; “Supporting ambitious business women to achieve their full potential is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland.  We have made significant strides in recent years; in 2017 more than one in three start-ups in Ireland were led by women, an increase from one in ten just five years ago.  Role models are important as they inspire others to come forward.  Enterprise Ireland, working closely with the Local Enterprise Offices, to profile successful businesswomen, and to create an entrepreneurial environment that encourages and nurtures the business talents of women across the country.  We will continue to support these business women and encourage their global ambition to follow the path of many great Irish businesswomen before them.”

Anna Marie Delaney, Offaly County Council Chief Executive and Chair of the CCMA Economic, Enterprise, Community & Culture Committee, said; “It is fantastic to see the level of interest National Women’s Enterprise Day attracts each year. The event is not only a great opportunity to hear from inspirational women in business, and to showcase what they have achieved, but also provides important networking opportunities for women throughout the country. In the context of Brexit, I am very pleased to see this year’s theme, From Local to Global, and I would like to highlight to businesses that their Local Enterprise Office is on hand to support them in maximising market growth opportunities.”

For more information on National Women’s Enterprise Day 2018 join the conversation online using #NWED or go to


For further information:

Declan Lee – Enterprise Ireland – 087 695 7451 /

Sarah Bohan – Enterprise Ireland – 087 653 9936 /    



A LEO Cavan evening event with supper, in association with Enterprise Europe Network, at Hotel Kilmore. Special Guest: Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. (Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation). Featuring: Mary McKenna of Tour America and Ann Rudden of Áine Handmade Chocolate. 


A full day event organised by LEOs in Cork City, Cork North and West, South Cork and Kerry at the Meetings & Events Centre, Clayton Hotel Silver Springs, Tivoli in Cork City.

Featuring: Joan Walsh of Partnership International, Eleanor McEvoy of Budget Energy and Dragons’ Den, Rachel Sarah Murphy of Irish Film Academy and Free The Way Cleaning, Sharon McDermott of Ky Ky Kids, Ingrid De Doncker of iDDea, Estelle Power of Irish Door Systems Ltd., Michelle Keane of Mibeau Interiors, and Margaret Kelly of Cork Chamber.


A LEO Donegal full-day event with networking lunch, in association with Enterprise Europe Network, at An Grianan Hotel in Burt, Co. Donegal.

Featuring: Larissa Feeney of Accountant Online, Jenny Holloway of Fashion Capital and Fashion Enter in London, and Maire Morris of Morris Fashion Consultancy.


A half-day event with networking lunch organised by LEOs in South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and Dublin City at Citywest Hotel in Saggart, Co. Dublin.

Guest Speakers: Oonagh O’Hagan – Meaghers Pharmacy, Helen Smyth of Facebook and Julie Sinnamon of Enterprise Ireland.

Featuring: Chiara Keating of Uniformal Ltd, Caroline Gleeson of BidRecruit, Síle Ginnane of Liberty Bell, Sarah-Jane Brangam of Cult Drinks, with broadcaster Colette Fitzpatrick.


An afternoon tea celebration organised by LEO Kildare in association with Enterprise Europe Network and Network Kildare with panel of speakers and networking at the Celbridge Manor Hotel.

Featuring: Sonia Deasy of Pestle and Mortar (Ambassador and Keynote Speaker), Nikki Collins of NMP Collins Innovations Ltd, Susan Sexton of Kildare Farm Foods, and Special Guest, former Government Minister, Mary O’Rourke.


A full day event organised by LEOs in Kilkenny and Carlow at Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.

Featuring: Catherine Roycroft of Cartoon Saloon, Actress Deirdre O’ Kane, and Guinness World Record Holder and visually impaired Athlete, Dr. Sinead Kane.       


A LEO Leitrim lunch-time event at The Landmark Hotel in Carrick-On-Shannon.

Featuring: Aoife and Detta McNiffe of McNiffe’s Bakery, Norah Casey of Harmonia Publishing Group, and Orla Casey of Momentum Marketing.


A full day event with lunch organised by LEOs in Limerick, Tipperary and Clare at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort in Co. Limerick.

Featuring: Vicki O’Toole of JJ O’Toole Ltd, Marissa Carter of Cocoa Brown, Caroline McEnery of the H.R. Suite, Amanda Cahir O’Donnell of Tio Consulting, Dr. Mary Ryan (Consultant Endocrinologist), Aisling Maher Milliner), Clodagh Cavanagh of Abbey Machinery, Valerie Murphy of Valerie’s Breast Care (President of Network Ireland Limerick), Aine Gleeson of, and Annemarie Neville of Data Display.


A half day event with lunch organised by LEOs in Longford, Laois, Offaly and Westmeath at the Backstage Theatre, Farneyhoogan in Co. Longford.

Special Guest: Marcella Corcoran Kennedy T.D.

Featuring: Louise Lovett of Longford Women’s Link, Ciara Donlon of THEYA Healthcare, Dr. Ciara Kelly, Journalist & Broadcaster, Dr. Anne Cusack of Critical Healthcare, Alison Ritchie of Polar Ice, with broadcaster Sinead Hussey.


A half day event with lunch organised by LEOs in Meath and Louth at the City North Hotel and Conference Centre in Gormanston, Co. Meath.

Featuring: Anne Reilly of Paycheck Plus, Professor Colette Henry of the Department of Business Studies at Dundalk Institute of Technology, and Louise Caulfield of Caulfield Country Boards.


A LEO Monaghan evening event with buffet supper at the Hillgrove Hotel on the Old Armagh Road. Special Guest: Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. (Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation). Featuring: Marie Mohan of Greenfield Foods, Noelle O’Connor of Tan Organics, and Theresa Lowe of Lowe Communications.


An evening event with buffet dinner organised by LEOs in Roscommon, Galway and Mayo at Kilronan Castle, Ballyfarnon, Co Roscommon.  

Featuring:  Ambassador – Michelle Daly of P & G Cards; Magaly Murray of Gran Grans Foods; Aisling Flanagan of Velvet Cloud, and Loretta Ní Ghabháin of Lorg Media.


A LEO Sligo evening event at the Radisson Hotel in Ballincar.

Featuring: Martina Hamilton of the Martina Hamilton Collection, The Hamilton Gallery and The Cat and The Moon, Bernie Butler of Good4U foods, and Oonagh Monahan of Alpha Omega Consultants.


A LEO Waterford evening event with dinner in Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Club.

Featuring: Jennifer O’Connell of the Irish Times, Gina London, Award winning Ex CNN anchor, Frances Roche, Business & Life Coach Transformational Speaker, Claire Brennan of Parolla, Sinead Quealy of Virtual Vet, and Bebhinn McGrath of Bebhinn.


A LEO Wexford evening event with dinner in Wells House and Gardens in Gorey.

Featuring: Vanessa Tierney of Abodoo, Niamh Sherwin Barry of The Irish Fairy Door Company, Ciara Donlon, THEYA Healthcare, Sabine Rosler of Wells House and Gardens, and Bláithín Ennis, Jewellery Designer.


A LEO Wicklow event with Afternoon Tea at Powerscourt House in Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry. 

Featuring: Sarah Slazenger of Powerscourt House, and Aisling Hurley of The Business Fairy.