Opportunities for Women in Business

2nd March 2023

The 30% Club Ireland, whose aim is to achieve better gender balance at all levels in Irish businesses, has announced two new development opportunities for women in business – a 2023 programme of 27 postgraduate and executive education scholarships and, in partnership with AIB, 30 access opportunities for women in SMEs on the IMI/30% Club cross-company mentoring programme.

The scholarship programme, which is delivered in partnership with key education providers, covers a range of executive education disciplines including prestigious MBA programmes and technical masters programmes in STEM, Healthcare, Public Policy and other specialist areas.  First offered in 2015, the annual programme aims to raise participation rates for women in – and general awareness of – executive education, and to provide financial support for women interested in executive education, who may be limited by funding concerns.

Gillian Harford, Country Executive with the 30% Club commented: “International Women’s Day takes place on March 8th. But it is about more than celebrating just one day,

it is about taking real and practical steps that will help to bring about more balanced investment in talent and career progression.

“Having offered just three scholarships in year one, we are delighted now to be offering 27 scholarships for 2023”, said Gillian. “In addition to providing great opportunities for talented women, the programme gives us, and our education partners, the opportunity to encourage more diversity in executive classrooms for greater learning outcomes.”

The scholarship programme is open to all women and is not restricted to 30% Club member company supporters.

In partnership with AIB, the 30% Club has also announced a new 3-year initiative that will provide sponsored access for 30 women from the SME sector to the IMI/30% Club Cross Company Mentoring programme.  The IMI/30% Club programme started in 2015 and brings together experienced leaders and mid-career high potential individuals for mentoring focused on both professional and personal development.

Successful applications for the new initiative will partake in the year-long mentoring programme where they will have a mentoring partner, provided by AIB, access to the resources of the IMI, and the opportunity to build a network with other mentors and mentees.

Geraldine Casey, Chief People Officer, AIB said: “AIB has a proud tradition of supporting women business owners and we are delighted to further enhance this through the AIB Mentoring Access Initiative for Women in SMEs. It will provide participants with a mentoring partner for a 12-month programme of support and networking opportunities.

As a company with a strong track record in promoting gender diversity, we want to extend this to support women in businesses across Ireland to recognise their talent and potential.”

Gillian Harford added “our intention within the 30% Club is to build talent across all women, and the generous support from AIB gives access to this great initiative to talented women in smaller organisations which may not have had the financial capacity to fund participation”

Shane O’Sullivan CEO, IMI added: “IMI is delighted to be partnering with the 30% Club and AIB to provide this key opportunity for women leaders in SMEs. This is a further endorsement of our Cross Company Mentoring Programme which has provided significant developmental support to more than 2,000 participants since 2015. We can now, in collaboration with AIB, support a brand new audience in a sector that is critical to Ireland’s continuing economic success.”

Pictured (l-r): Gillian Harford, Country Executive, 30% Club, Giles Barrett, Group Wellbeing Officer, AIB, Tanya Horgan, Non-Executive Director, AIB, Shane O’Sullivan, Interim CEO, IMI, Cathy Bruce, Managing Director, Capital Markets, AIB and John Brennan, Head of Retail SME, AIB at the launch of the AIB Mentoring Access Initiative for Women in SME.