The Enterprise Ireland International Business Women’s Conference opened its doors in the Brandon Hotel in Tralee today to celebrate successful women in business. Now in its second year, in conjunction with the Rose of Tralee International Festival, delegates heard from leaders working across the business and entrepreneurial spectrum focussing on this year’s theme “The Changing Face of Success”.
The conference addressed the under-representation of women in business and the importance of female role models in encouraging more women to consider and enter into entrepreneurship. A highlight of the day was the discussion on the untapped potential of women with panel experts including Eleanor McEvoy from Dragons’ Den and CEO of Budget Energy and Enterprise Ireland CEO, Julie Sinnamon, providing information on their own insights and experiences.
A line-up of 29 expert speakers took part in the daylong event, kicking off with a focus on how advances in social and digital media are driving business for entrepreneurs forward. Successful female business leaders, setting their mark in the digital space including Iseult Ward, CEO and co-founder of FoodCloud and Pamela Newenham, Co-Founder of Girl Crew discussed their own digital business models and the opportunity that digital disruption creates to bring about new business and customer engagement.
The conference also focused on social entrepreneurship, including the keynote speaker and social activist, Madi Sharma who spoke on the challenges faced by many women and her own journey from ‘victim to changemaker’.
Opening the event, Frances Fitzgerald, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality said: “I am delighted to open the International Business Women’s Conference, a hugely important event which brings together and showcases the achievements of some of Ireland’s most successful female business leaders. It is heartening to see the growth and diversity demonstrated in the various businesses represented by many of the speakers and panellists contributing here today and it is evident that change is afoot across the SME ecosystem where talented and inspirational women are coming to the fore, heading up and leading thriving businesses. It is of vital importance that this country continues to support women in their business pursuits, paving the way for opportunities to facilitate continuous growth and expansion.”
Sponsored by AIB, the Department of the Taoiseach and the Local Diaspora Engagement Fund and media partner Tatler, conference delegates also heard from the Rose of Tralee, Elysha Brennan, as well as previous Roses including Dr. Clare Kambamettu, Dr. Arlene O’Neill and 2005 Rose of Tralee, Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin.
Speaking at the conference, Enterprise Ireland CEO, Julie Sinnamon said: “Enterprise Ireland recognises the huge contribution of Irish women in business competing successfully both at home and abroad. Over the last number of years we have seen a threefold increase in the number of female-led high potential start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland, from 7% in 2011 to a record 22% in 2015. Today’s event is part of our commitment to support women to embrace entrepreneurial opportunities and realise their full potential.”
Head of Business Banking at AIB, Catherine Moroney said: “AIB is supporting our clients to grow their businesses to their full potential. Female entrepreneurship and women in business are a vital and growing part of the business community. Today is an excellent example of how collaboration can provide the support and connections that make a difference in accelerating the development of a strong ecosystem for women in business, empowering them to grow and develop their enterprises.”
For more information on the event visit www.internationalbusinesswomen.ie