Female entrepreneurs in focus as Justin Trudeau meets with Frances Fitzgerald
Female entrepreneurs were very much in focus today when Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
At the meeting hosted by Enterprise Ireland, Minister Fitzgerald said that Ireland needs to reach a point where women are leading enterprises and establishing their own businesses at the same rate as men.
Noting that there is no significant difference between men and women’s perception of business start-up opportunities in Canada, the Minister said that this is something Ireland is very interested in hearing more about.
"We need to see more female entrepreneurs and female-led start-ups right across the world," she said.
The Minister said that leadership traits would have to be redefined to account for family life and to embody the support structures needed.
Minister Fitzgerald also said that it was the collective task for Government, business and the community is to continue to break down barriers to women excelling in business, political or voluntary roles.
"Gains for women do not equate to lost opportunities for men, but to increased opportunities for greater economic prosperity and social cohesion," the Minister said.
However Minister Fitzgerald acknowledged the gains that had been made in increasing the number of high-potential female start-ups in Ireland since Enterprise Ireland introduced a series of initiatives in 2012 – from 7pc of high potential start-up companies in 2012 to 20pc cent in 2016.
The Minister also used the event to voice her support for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU, saying that it offered a new basis for Ireland and Canada to gain preferential access to each other’s markets.
"CETA will help to open new markets, break down barriers and provide new opportunities for business in both directions," the Minister said.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Trudeau described the agreement, which has yet to be ratified by national parliaments, as a "strong, progressive trade deal".
The Prime Minister said that while it was great to sign trade deals, for trade deals to benefit citizens, workers, and consumers they had to be acted upon and that this is where the next challenge would be.