‘Stronger Together’ was the theme for National Women’s Enterprise Day 2020, which took place online last week (October 14th).
An initiative driven by Local Enterprise Office Sligo, along with 30 other Local Enterprise Offices around the country, National Women’s Enterprise Day showcased stories, experiences and insights from Ireland’s women-led companies and drew attention to the enterprise supports that are available locally.
Guest contributors included Pestle & Mortar’s Sonia Deasy, Olympian and entrepreneur Derval O’ Rourke, Kinzen Co-founder, Áine Kerr and Sarah Colgan of the 20X20 movement. Events included interviews, panel discussions, specialist sessions, virtual networking, an online marketplace for promoting goods and services and access to experts from state support agencies.An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar T.D., delivered the opening address at National Women’s Enterprise Day, which was supported by Enterprise Ireland and local authorities. An Tánaiste said: “The ‘Stronger Together’ message for National Women’s Enterprise Day has never been more important. The Government is determined to help more women pursue entrepreneurship as a career and I’m encouraged to see such a significant increase – 58%, taking up the training programmes that are available. Training and mentorship can make a huge difference to any entrepreneur starting out, on what can often be a lonely journey, and I encourage all women considering setting up their own business to contact their Local Enterprise Office to see how they can help you.” Liam Kiely of Local Enterprise Office Sligo said: “Every year, National Women’s Enterprise Day is about harnessing ideas, innovation, creativity and about learning from each-other and this year, we successfully moved events online for female entrepreneurs and businesswomen all over the country.” He added: “National Women’s Enterprise Day is also about flying the flag for all the enterprise supports that are available to businesses locally. For example, the Local Enterprise Office team here in Sligo have been helping hundreds of local businesses respond to the pandemic and to prepare for the changes that Brexit will bring too.”
Organisers behind National Women’s Enterprise Day are also highlighting more than twenty ‘Leading Lights’ from around the country this week. Those are dynamic business owners that have been nominated by their Local Enterprise Office. Odilon Hunt, Co-Founder and Operations Director of AVA Systems was nominated as the ‘Leading Light’ for Sligo because she has shown outstanding leadership, innovation and resilience in responding to the challenges of the pandemic in 2020, in the view of her Local Enterprise Office.
The local entrepreneur joins other Leading Lights from around the country, such as Dr. Anita Finnegan of Nova Leah in Louth, Mary Walsh of Ire Wel Pallets in Wexford, Carla Mooney of Cardel Entertainment in Offaly, Susan O’ Flaherty of Retrokit in County Cork, Odilon Hunt of AVA Audio Visual in Sligo, Clare Hughes of CF Pharma in Kilkenny and Jennifer Stack of Coco Boutique in Kerry.
At this year’s events, there were teams on hand from Enterprise Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, Credit Review Office, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, InterTradeIreland, Enterprise Europe Network, the Health and Safety Authority and Skillnet Ireland to offer information and advice alongside the Local Enterprise Offices.