National Women’s Enterprise Day 2023 event – Pictured above are the speakers, panelists and organisers of the event which took place at the Clayton Hotel. Picture: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick
National Women’s Enterprise Day (NWED) is an initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices that aims to encourage female entrepreneurship and support women in business across the country
National Women’s Enterprise Day Limerick took place Thursday, October 19, 2023 at the Clayton Hotel and gave women a chance to network, learn and be inspired by other women in business.
The Local Enterprise Office-led initiative aims to celebrate female entrepreneurs and female-led start-ups, while also encouraging others to pursue their own business ideas.
This is the 17th year of National Women’s Enterprise Day, which was established to give women in business and budding female entrepreneurs the opportunity to build their network and find out what support is available to help them start and grow their businesses. It comes on the back of a sustained focus on encouraging female entrepreneurs by LEOs, as well as other State agencies like Enterprise Ireland.
Over 140 women attended the event at the Clayton hotel and MC for the event was Ciana Campbell whose broadcasting career spanned two decades during which she presented a wide variety of programmes in both RTÉ radio and television and received a Jacob’s Award and an A.T. Cross Woman Journalist award.
Karen Ronan, President of Network Limerick said, “We have so much to learn from each other. I think you can never have enough education and support when you’re a woman in business, particularly if you’re an entrepreneur female in business, you need all the support you can get locally and Limerick Enterprise Office has been a fantastic resource for the women of Limerick for many many years.
“So it’s great to get people to come together and share experiences and give each other the tips and tricks of how well we can do in business when we support and uplift each other and empower one another as well, it’s really important.
“That’s our philosophy in Network Limerick as well, that we can do so much better together, and that’s where the real Limerick ethos comes into play as well at events like this where women want to see each other doing well, we want to support one another and learn from one another as well.”
Keynote speaker for the event was Fiona O’Carroll, an expert in Leadership Growth Mindset and scaling businesses globally. Panellists included Aoife Lenihan, MD of Cara Motorhomes, Evie and Eliza Ward of Nutshed, sisters, co-founders and makers of award-winning peanut butters, and Claire Bannon, founder and director of Indigo, a creative design company based in Shannon.
Evie and Eliza Ward who have had their business, Nutshed, which began in the Limerick Milk Market where they had a stall for eight years attended the event, and Evie said, “Empowerment for us is women are so in-tune with their gut, and with their feelings, I think that is the best thing to drive you forward and that is more of a feminine thing than a masculine thing, and I think to lean into that and use it kind of as a superpower.”
Eliza noted, “I completely agree, I think as sisters that is a big superpower for us, we’re very in tune with each other but as a whole women in business are very supportive of one another. There’s a massive resource there, across industries as well, you can pick up the phone and there is very much a collectivist mentality with women in business so it’s super-supportive and it’s really helped us along the way as well.”
National Women’s Enterprise Day, Ireland’s largest female enterprise event promotes, encourages and stimulates female entrepreneurship across Ireland. It is designed and led by women and is an annual high point in promoting entrepreneurship to women in Ireland. The Local Enterprise Office along with Enterprise Ireland provide a wide range of help, incentives, training, and development programmes to female entrepreneurs.
While help is available all year round, National Women’s Enterprise Day allows us to turn the spotlight on female entrepreneurship. It attracts widespread media attention. It opens the prospect of entrepreneurship to women who may not have considered it before. It highlights what support is available. It provides valuable networking opportunities and connections with industry experts. And it celebrates the achievements of women in enterprise.
It tackles the real-life subjects affecting women in business. While finance, marketing, innovation, and new product development are important, so too are family, well-being, and mental health and these all have their place in National Women’s Enterprise Day. The programme and the pace create a heady mix of education, motivation, and inspiration.
Ciara Farrell, Limerick Enterprise Office said the best part of the day was “seeing the strength women get from meeting one another and networking together”.
Ciara told I Love Limerick, “They realise they’re all on the same journey, they face similar issues no matter what the scale of their enterprise is. Some women have said they feel really inspired today to make the next push in their business having listened to the speakers.”
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Pictures: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick