KPMG partners with Enterprise Ireland in supporting Going for Growth, an award winning initiative that encourages female entrepreneurs to achieve their business goals.
Going for Growth supports female business ownermanagers who have been running their companies for two years or more. Through peer support, Going for Growth aims to address the challenges faced by many female owner-managers, from increasing confidence, to supporting them in achieving their growth goals.
According to data from a recent GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) report, more men than women are actively planning and starting new businesses in Ireland. While 58 percent of men in Ireland believe that they have the necessary skills to start a business, this figure is just 37 percent for women, reiterating the importance of initiatives that support female entrepreneurship in Ireland.
To date, the results of Going for Growth have been impressive. In the most recent cycle, the combined revenue of participants was €66.8 million. A total of 101 new jobs were created by 65 participants and there were four first time exporters, bringing the total up to 30 over all cycles.
The initiative has been designed around peer-led roundtable sessions hosted by an experienced business person, known as a Lead Entrepreneur. According to Olivia Lynch, KPMG partner and our lead on the initiative: “The approach is based on the principle that people learn best from each other, so the sessions are facilitated by successful entrepreneurs with first-hand experience of owning and managing a business.”
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 of Keelings, Susan Spence, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at Softco, Oonagh O’Hagan, MD of Meaghers Pharmacy Group and Marissa Carter, Founder of Cocoa Brown/Carter Beauty – 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, increasing the turnover of the group significantly.” Participants are supported to increase their sales, number of employees and, where appropriate, to gain customers in export markets.
Going for Growth participants also benefit from KPMG hosted workshops on tax matters, financial performance, funding, legal and data protection. Feedback from the attendees has been hugely positive. Commenting on the calibre of the KPMG workshop leaders, Paula Fitzsimons, National Director for Going for Growth 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 Managing Partner, Seamus Hand adds: “Since we became involved, over 250 female entrepreneurs have participated in Going for Growth. This has translated into improved business performance and we are proud that so many participants report increased turnover, more exports and an increase in jobs created across Ireland.”
KPMG’s Head of Corporate Citizenship & Diversity, Karina Howley, concludes by outlining how Going for Growth has a wide range of benefits beyond those gained by the participants: “Members of the Going for Growth community have been involved in some of 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.