KPMG partners with Enterprise Ireland in supporting Going for Growth, an award winning initiative to encourage female entrepreneurs.
Going for Growth is focused on female business owner-managers who have been running their companies for two years or more. Through peer support, Going for Growth seeks to overcome the challenges faced by many female owner managers from increasing confidence to supporting them in achieving their goals.
According to data from the GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) Report 2016, more men than women are actively planning and starting new businesses in Ireland. Meanwhile 58% of men in Ireland believe that they have the necessary skills to start a business – while just 37% of women perceive that they have those same skills. Thus, the need for initiatives to support female entrepreneurship in Ireland has never been more important.
Going for Growth results have been impressive. In the most recent cycle, the combined revenue of participants increased by 33%. 70 new full time jobs were created by 32 participants (+17%) and there were nine first-time exporters over the course of the cycle (+43%). Going for Growth also previously won the prestigious European Enterprise Promotion Award and has featured on Euronews.
The initiative is designed around peer-led roundtable sessions hosted by an experienced business leader, known as a Lead Entrepreneur. According to Olivia Lynch, partner and KPMG’s lead on the initiative: “The approach is based on the principle that people learn best from each other, so the roundtable sessions are facilitated by successful entrepreneurs with first-hand experience.”
One of the programme’s strengths is the high quality of the Lead Entrepreneurs, including Áine Denn, Co-Founder and EVP at Altify, Caroline Keeling, CEO at Keelings, Miriam Byrne, Founder of Meraki Training and Oonagh O’Hagan, MD of Meaghers Pharmacy Group – all of whom give their time on a regular basis to the programme. Olivia Lynch highlights the impressive results: “Besides an increase in confidence, ambition and motivation, the majority of participants in the most recent cycle of Going for Growth experienced sales growth over the six months of the cycle, increasing the turnover of the group significantly.” Participants are supported to increase their sales, numbers employed and, where appropriate, to gain customers in export markets.
Going for Growth participants also benefit from KPMG workshops on tax and financial performance and funding. Feedback from the attendees has been hugely positive. According to Paula Fitzsimons, National Director for Going for Growth, the programme is “A brilliant opportunity to ask the experts.” Commenting on the calibre of the KPMG workshop leaders, Paula says: “Communicating detailed technical knowledge in an interesting and understandable way to those who are not experts in the area is key. KPMG went over and above what was expected in delivering a first class workshop.”
KPMG’s Karina Howley explains how we facilitate the Going for Growth programme in keeping in touch with past participants: “We host a ‘Meet the Leads’ event in May and provide expertise at the annual Community Forum, which is held in the autumn. The workshops, which are focused on applied learning, are designed to be delivered in a manner that each participant gains relevant information, immediately applicable to their business.”
KPMG Managing Partner Shaun Murphy adds: “Since we became involved, over 500 women entrepreneurs have participated in Going for Growth. This has translated into improved businesses performance and we’re proud that so many participants report increased turnover, more exports and an increase in jobs created across Ireland.”
According to Karina Howley, Going for Growth has a wide range of benefits beyond those gained by the participants: “Members of the Going for Growth community have also been actively involved in our other citizenship initiatives and this has further proven the great value of the programme.” Karina highlights the example of participants meeting with female transition year students to encourage them to consider an entrepreneurial career, regardless of their area of future study.