Call Open for Ambitious Female Entrepreneurs

8th November 2021

Posted In: Be In The Frame

Participants on an award-winning development programme for ambitious female entrepreneurs reported strong growth over the last year despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Those taking part in the 13th cycle of Going for Growth showed total revenues growing over the cycle, additional employment being created and the number of exporters increasing while trading through the pandemic.

Going for Growth is a six-month, part-time programme, supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, which assists ambitious female entrepreneurs to achieve their growth aspirations.

The call is now open (from today Monday 8th November) for applications for the 14th cycle of the programme which is seeking applications from female entrepreneurs – across all sectors – who are strongly focused on growth.

Up to 60 places will be available for the 14th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2022 and the deadline for applications is Thursday, December 162021. There is no charge for those selected.

Figures released today show that the 56 participants who took part in the 13th Going for Growth programme grew net employment during the six months of the programme by 163 – an additional 93 full-time and 70 part-time jobs.

They had a combined turnover of almost €162 million at the start of the cycle, which had grown to €176.25 million at its conclusion – representing an increase of €14.25 million (8.8%).

A total of 91% of participants on the Going for Growth programme reported that they pivoted their businesses to adapt to prevailing circumstances, and an overwhelming 98% said that their participation in the programme brought about practical change within their business.

The figures, which were gathered in their end of cycle survey, show the resilience and determination of the entrepreneurs on the programme – and the value of the peer support they received while participating.

The survey also found that seven participants from the programme started exporting for the first time – which is a considerable feat during a global pandemic.

Going for Growth participants found that the roundtable sessions they participated in translated into practical changes in their business. All participants said they would recommend the programme to others.

Today’s call marks the start of the 14th year of Going for Growth and more than 800 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the programme.  Anyone interested is encouraged to register on the website and a link to the application form will be sent to them.

Ideally, businesses applying should be well established. In exceptional cases, businesses at an earlier stage will be considered if they are generating sales, and it is felt that the business is highly innovative, plans to have export customers and the entrepreneur has significant growth ambitions. If accepted, these participants are included in the ‘Starting Strong’ element of the programme.

Those selected for the Going for Growth initiative join interactive round table sessions led by Lead Entrepreneurs. The Lead Entrepreneurs are successful business women with personal experience of growing a business. These high-profile business leaders volunteer their time to encourage participants to set and achieve personalised goals and milestones to address the opportunities and challenges they face in driving growth in their businesses.

Some of this year’s Lead Entrepreneurs include five previous Going for Growth participants: Dr. Anne Cusack, Critical Healthcare; Chupi Sweetman-Durney, Chupi; Gillian O’Dowd, Azon Recruitment Group, Jeananne O’Brien, Artizan Food Co. and Oonagh O’Hagan, Meaghers Pharmacy Group.

The other Lead Entrepreneurs include Fidelma McGuirk, Payslip and Monica Flood, formerly Olas IT.

Áine Denn, co-founder and formerly of Altify, and Breege O’Donoghue, formally of Primark, will lead Continuing the Momentum round tables. This is a further development programme for former participants of Going for Growth.

Leo Clancy, CEO Enterprise Ireland, says: “Increasing support for ambitious female entrepreneurship is a key national priority and Enterprise Ireland is proud to support Going for Growth. Strong peer groups, wonderful Lead Entrepreneurs, excellent formal learning opportunities and frameworks for business growth make this a ‘must consider’ for anyone seeking to accelerate her business.”

Olivia Lynch, Partner KPMG, says:  “The results of this year’s programme speak to the remarkable resilience of these women in the most challenging of market circumstances. Women in Ireland continue to be underrepresented amongst our entrepreneurship community, but with the right support, have the potential to contribute significantly more to our economy. The many programme participants who have adapted their businesses to become first time exporters and create new jobs are proof of this potential. We look forward to continuing our strong support of the Going for Growth programme and sharing our expertise with the next group of ambitious women looking to take their businesses to the next level.” 

Going for Growth has been designed and is being implemented by Fitzsimons Consulting, specialists in areas related to entrepreneurship and growth.

Paula Fitzsimons, founder and managing director of Fitzsimons Consulting, says:  “The achievements of the participants in growing revenue, increasing jobs and beginning exporting during some of the darkest days of the pandemic are a credit to the peer support that they got from each other and from the Lead Entrepreneurs.

The way the participants have pivoted, identified new opportunities, and changed to meet the needs of their market, shows great resilience and a true entrepreneurial spirit.

The strength of the network, developed over the last 13 years, has proven to be a great resource in the most challenging times, as it is when the environment is more benign.”

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Image (l-r): Leo Clancy, CEO Enterprise Ireland,  Anne Cusack, formally Critical Healthcare, Jeananne O’Brien, Artizan Food Co. and Olivia Lynch, Partner KPMG. (Pic. Orla Murray/Coalesce).