Some of the delegates from Local Enterprise Centres of Cork and Kerry Region who met in the Brehon Hotel, Killarney last Wednesday, l-r: Christine Desmond, Mallow; Joan Kelleher, Local Enterprise Office North and West Cork; Maura Hunter, Mallow and Marie O'Donoghue, Charleville. (Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan)

More than 100 businesswomen joined forces with the Local Enterprise Offices Cork and Kerry to celebrate ten years of ‘National Women’s Enterprise Day’ with a major event in the Brehon Hotel in Killarney held on Wednesday, October 19th.

The Local Enterprise Office Cork North & West was amongst 31 LEOs in local authorities all over the country which participated in inspiring National Women’s Enterprise Day gatherings which saw innovative female entrepreneurs share their “road to success”.

Guest speakers, including Barbara Moynihan, On Your Feet; Clodagh McCarthy, Bright Sparks Coaching; Antoinette Butler of Ireland Host Family; Julia Lynes, Eazy City; Rosie Mansfield, Go Cambio; Maura Hunter, MH Designs; Valerie Kingston, Glenilen Farm; Helen Hourihane, Health & Safety Authority; Greg Canty, Fuzion Communications; Caroline McEnery, The HR Suite; Kieran O’Connor, Bullseye Marketing in association with Enterprise Europe Network, revealed to a packed room their business success secrets, and gave inspired and motivational presentations on how women can make it in the business world.

Last year, Local Enterprise Offices all over Ireland supported over 11,000 female entrepreneurs through training, mentoring, direct financial assistance and networking. They are trying to encourage even more local businesswomen to access enterprise supports available to them in 2016.

More than 800 entrepreneurs attended LEO-run National Women’s Enterprise Day events all over the country this week. Joan Kelleher, Business Adviser of the Local Enterprise Office Cork North & West said: “We want local women entrepreneurs to truly believe in themselves and to succeed. We are here to encourage and to help businesswomen in the county along their entrepreneurial journey. The theme of this year’s National Women’s Enterprise Day was ‘road to success’ and at our event we heard inspiring stories from women who have achieved great success and who generously shared their stories.”

Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., said it was heartening to see more women than ever seeking support from the LEOs. “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 T.D., who spoke at the Dublin Regional Event at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Dublin Airport, 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 was delighted to support National Women’s Enterprise Day. The events that took place around the country were a great platform for aspiring female entrepreneurs who learned from experienced businesswomen who shared their stories. They got 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.”

Looking ahead to the future, Kevin Curran, Head Of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Cork North & West added: “Our National Women’s Enterprise Day event was a hugely important platform for aspiring female entrepreneurs. By learning from experienced businesswomen, they now hopefully feel encouraged to develop their own business ideas to start their ‘road to success’.”

The full list of Regional Ambassadors for National Women’s Enterprise Day, enlisted by the Local Enterprise Offices, were Hannah Wrixon of Last Minute Minders in Limerick (Mid West 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 in Carlow and Wicklow (South East Region), Nicola Byrne of 11890 and Cloud 90 in Dublin (Dublin Region), Valerie Kingston of Glenilen Farm in Cork (South West Region) and Margaret Reilly of CTR Manufacturing in Louth (Border Region).

National Women’s Enterprise Day is an annual initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices and is supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities Network. Further information on the supports available to small businesses and start-ups is available through