Eight out of every ten (88%) female entrepreneurs on the 'Going for Growth' development programme pivoted their business in the last few months in response to challenges raised by Covid-19.
The six-month, part-time programme, supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, assists ambitious female entrepreneurs who welcome peer support to help grow their business. The figures were gathered in their most recent end of cycle survey.
The programme is now looking for sixty female entrepreneurs for its 13th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2021. To apply, your business should be well established and trading for at least two years. Applications will also be considered from “highly innovative entrepreneurs” with significant growth expectations at an earlier stage of their development if they have already generated some sales.
Since 2008, more than 750 female entrepreneurs have taken part in the programme including Cocoa Brown’s Marissa Carter.
Sonia Neary, who’s company Wellola delivers secure video consultation and patient portal solutions, was part of the last ‘Going for Growth’ cycle.
Ms Neary had been focussed on the mental and community healthcare market in Ireland and the UK but pivoted quickly during the Covid-19 pandemic to launch a secure patient communication portal, in collaboration with the HSE Digital Transformation Team, to protect front-line workers.
“Being part of Going for Growth was hugely valuable for me during a year when there was so much change happening,” Ms Neary said.
“It was essential to be able to communicate with like-minded people who were going through the same experiences. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely experience so having the support of those people who were in my group – and our Lead Entrepreneur Susan Spence of SoftCo — was invaluable. And in 2020, we all needed that extra bit of support – both commercially and personally.”
Those selected for the Going for Growth initiative join interactive round table sessions led by Lead Entrepreneurs. The Lead Entrepreneurs are successful businesswomen with personal experience of growing a business. Some of this year’s Lead Entrepreneurs include Dr. Anne Cusack of Critical Healthcare and Chupi Sweetman-Durney of Chupi, both former participants in the programme.
Paula Fitzsimons, founder and managing director of Fitzsimons Consulting, who designed the Going for Growth programme and are involved in its implementation, said the way this year's 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 challenging times, as it is when the environment is more benign," she said.
Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to register on the website goingforgrowth.com and a link to the application form will be sent to them.
The deadline for applications is Friday, December 18th.