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First ever online Women's Enterprise Day

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Áine Kerr (left), co-founder of Kinzen, with Pestle and Mortar founder Sonia Deasy

Áine Kerr (left), co-founder of Kinzen, with Pestle and Mortar founder Sonia Deasy

Áine Kerr (left), co-founder of Kinzen, with Pestle and Mortar founder Sonia Deasy

An initiative driven by Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, 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.

Over 1,600 women nationally 'attended' this hugely successful virtual conference.

Guest contributors included Pamela Walsh of Wicklow Way Wines, Pestle and 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 TD, delivered the opening address at National Women's Enterprise Day, which was supported by Enterprise Ireland and local authorities. He stated: '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 per cent, 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.'

Vibeke Delahunt, head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, 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.

'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 County Wicklow 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 also highlighted more than 20 'Leading Lights' from around the country this week. Those are dynamic business owners that have been nominated by their Local Enterprise Office.

Pamela Walsh of Wicklow Way Wines, Newtownmountkennedy was nominated as the 'Leading Light' for Wicklow because she has shown outstanding innovation and resilience in responding to the challenges of the pandemic in 2020, in the view of her Local Enterprise Office. Pamela joined 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, 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.

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