‘Going for Growth’ is calling on ambitious female entrepreneurs

Enterprise Ireland is looking for 60 female entrepreneurs to join the latest cycle of its Going for Growth programme

by Rose Barrett
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The initiative, now in its 16th year, is looking for female entrepreneurs determined to grow their businesses. Supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, the programme helps ambitious female entrepreneurs to achieve their growth goals, helping to build stronger companies, create new jobs and increase revenues. 

Up to 60 places are available and applications are sought from female entrepreneurs across all sectors who are strongly focused on growth.  There is no charge for those selected and the six-month initiative will begin in January 2024. 

Going for Growth has seen more than 900 businesswomen take part since its first cycle in 2008. 

Some of the past participants include Aimee Connolly of Sculpted by Aimee; Andrea Doolan of Atlantia Clinical Trials; Derval O’Rourke of Derval.ie; Kate Scott of HoloToyz; Louella Morton of TestReach; and Vanessa Creaven of Spotlight Oral Care.

The programme brings together female entrepreneurs for monthly peer-to-peer roundtable discussions facilitated by successful businesswomen. They are known as Lead Entrepreneurs.  Their participation is completely voluntary and is done in a spirit of altruism and the wish to share their experience and insights with others at an earlier stage of their growth journey. 

Seven of this year’s Lead Entrepreneurs are former Going for Growth participants. 

This year’s voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs include Anne Cusack, formerly Critical Healthcare; Chupi Sweetman-Durney, Chupi; Jeananne O’Brien, Artizan Food Co.; Leonora O’Brien, formerly Pharmapod; Louise Phelan, Phelan Energy Group; Marissa Carter, Carter Beauty; Monica Flood, formerly Olas IT; Oonagh O’Hagan, Meaghers Pharmacy Group and Tara Beattie, Prepsheets.com.

Last year’s Going for Growth reported significant results for its 69 participants. Combined turnover increased from €80.6m at the start of the cycle to almost €92.3m by the end, almost a 15 per cent increase in just six months. Their combined workforce increased by 118 people over the cycle, while nine participants began exporting their products and services for the first time. 

Feedback from the previous cycle was also extremely positive, with 96 per cent of participants saying their involvement brought about practical change within their business and 97 per cent saying they felt nearer to achieving their ambitions. All participants said they would recommend Going for Growth to others.

The support provided does not end on completion of the six-month cycle, with most past participants becoming part of the Going for Growth community. Going for Growth alumni can apply for the Continuing the Momentum programme, which offers Lead Entrepreneur-facilitated roundtables to those looking to continue their growth journey, with the aid of peer support, focused goals, and milestones.

A participant on the 15th cycle of Going for Growth, Gráinne Mullins, Founder of Grá Chocolates, speaking of her experience said: Going for Growth was such an incredible experience for me. I connected with women in a similar position to me and we could be open and vulnerable to each other about the struggles of having our own businesses. I learned so much over the few months.  Having peers, who understood and could advise you, really helped to keep me on track. I am so thankful for being selected for the Going for Growth Programme.”

National Director of Going for Growth, Paula Fitzsimons, notedThe objective of Going for Growth is to encourage female entrepreneurs to become more ambitious; to support them to achieve their growth aspirations; and to realise the full potential of their businesses, on Irish and export markets, throughout the lifetime of their business. I am delighted that the feedback from the participants is so positive, demonstrating that they are creating additional added value in the Irish economy, growing sales, and employment.” 

See www.goingforgrowth.com for more details

Featured Image: Olivia Lynch, Partner KPMG; Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland; past participant Gráinne Mullins, founder of Grá Chocolates and Lead Entrepreneur Oonagh O’Hagan, owner and Managing Director of the Meaghers Pharmacy Group.

Picture Orla Murray/Coalesce

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