GMIT is launching the second cycle of its regional EMPOWER programme to encourage female entrepreneurs to get themselves into the business world.
The EMPOWER programme aims to fast track female-led businesses by addressing specific challenges hindering the development of entrepreneurs.
While Ireland has a highly educated and qualified workforce among both men and women, feedback received by GMIT has found that self-belief can be a big deterrent for women staring a business.
While Ireland has made advances in relation to female entrepreneurs over the last number of years, the rate of women starting their own businesses is still below what it could be.
Rachel Dubber, who took part in the first cycle of EMPOWER, has just launched the her product line 100% cotton aprons.
She said the programme gave her the boost in confidence she needed to get herself into business.
“It gave me a clearer vision in my business and great guidelines to follow in order to improve it, I loved the course and the amazing women on it.
“The Empower programme is a great learning and support network. We encourage each other and form lasting friendships,” she added.
“It was an amazing journey learning what others see and think about you and your business, it removes the wool from your eyes if you are willing to listen and learn.”
Figures from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor show that Irish women rank eight in Europe for entrepreneurship, but men here rank fourth.
There were an estimated 17,000 men and 9,800 women who became new business owners in Ireland in 2017.
If women started businesses at the same rate as men, an additional 8,000 more women would have started a business in 2017.
The EMPOWER programme helps identify market opportunities, build confidence and assess skills to implement ideas or scale businesses.
Women who come through the programme will have the backing of the Local Enterprise Office to support the development of their business.
Some examples of people who have participated on EMPOWER include Lorraine Corcoran, Cosmetic Creations; Catherine O’ Grady Power, Glenkeen Farm; Louise Gibbons, Inspire Learning, Anne Byrne, Garden Design to name just a few.
This drive to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon is an initiative of GMIT’s Innovation Hubs.
The GMIT iHubs were launched in 2005 to provide entrepreneurs with office space, mentorship, and business supports.
Since then businesses they’ve helped launch have created over 200 jobs in the western region and raised over €20 million in investment funding.