The award-winning Going for Growth programme commenced its 13th cycle in January 2021, with sixty participants from across Ireland chosen to take part in the six-month course.
Going for Growth, an award-winning business development programme, is supported by KPMG and Enterprise Ireland and assists ambitious female entrepreneurs in achieving their growth aspirations. More than 750 female entrepreneurs have completed the programme to date.
The programme is particularly important in these challenging economic times, as businesses continue to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey of participants of the last cycle showed that 88% pivoted their businesses to adapt to current circumstances and eight businesses started exporting for the first time. Participants also noted the value of the peer support they received while participating, and how the roundtable sessions provided by KPMG translated into practical changes in their business.
Pictured above at the launch of the 13th cycle of the Going for Growth programme are left to right: Olivia Lynch, Partner, KPMG; Chupi Sweetman-Durney, founder of Chupi, a former Going for Growth participant and now a Going for Growth Lead Entrepreneur; Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland.
Those selected for the Going for Growth initiative join interactive round table sessions led by Lead Entrepreneurs. These are successful business women with personal experience of growing a business. These high-profile business leaders volunteer their time to encourage participants to set and achieve personalised goals and milestones to address the opportunities and challenges they face in driving growth in their businesses.
Some of this year’s Lead Entrepreneurs include four previous Going for Growth participants: Dr. Anne Cusack, Critical Healthcare; Chupi Sweetman-Durney, Chupi; Gillian O’Dowd, Azon Recruitment Group and Oonagh O’Hagan, Meagher’s Pharmacy Group.
The other Lead Entrepreneurs are: Fidelma McGuirk, Payslip; Fiona O’Carroll, experienced intrapreneur and non-Executive Director; Monica Flood, formerly Olas IT and Susan Spence, SoftCo.
Áine Denn, co-founder and formerly of Altify, and Breege O’Donoghue, formally of Primark, will lead Continuing the Momentum round tables. This is a further development programme for former participants of Going for Growth.
One female entrepreneur who participated in the last cycle is Sonia Neary, CEO of Wellola, which delivers secure video consultation and patient portal solutions. The company, established by Sonia in 2016, had been focussed on the mental and community healthcare market in Ireland and the UK but pivoted quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic to launch a secure patient communication portal, in collaboration with the HSE Digital Transformation Team, to protect front-line workers. Highlighting the value of Going for Growth, Sonia Neary says; “It is crucial that businesses are willing to adapt – not just during events such as global pandemics. One shouldn’t underestimate the value of listening to our customers and keeping them close, so we can deliver on their needs. Being part of Going for Growth was hugely valuable for me during a year when there was so much change happening."
We are delighted to extend this support and expertise to female entrepreneurs who are responding to the current challenging market circumstances.
Commenting on the launch of the new cycle of Going for Growth Olivia Lynch, Partner KPMG said; “Entrepreneurship is critical to Ireland’s economic stability and future growth. We know that more men than women start businesses in Ireland, a trend which suggests there is huge untapped potential in our population that could contribute to the future success of the Irish economy.”
“At KPMG, we work with many businesses in overcoming challenges and creating opportunities, and we are delighted to extend this support and expertise to female entrepreneurs who are responding to the current challenging market circumstances. We are proud to continue our support for this exceptional programme and to recognise the key role of the Lead Entrepreneurs and the continued innovation and drive of so many female entrepreneurs.”
According to Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon; “Enterprise Ireland is very proud to partner with Going for Growth and sees great synergy with the focus of this initiative on helping women-led businesses to become more resilient and to scale nationally and internationally.
“Supporting ambitious businesswomen to start and to grow enterprises is a priority for Enterprise Ireland. A key objective of Enterprise Ireland’s Women in Business Action Plan is to strengthen the diversity of management teams in existing businesses and to further increase the number and the impact of female-led business, for the benefit of the economy.”
Paula Fitzsimons, founder and managing director of Fitzsimons Consulting, said: “The peer support that the participants get from each other and from the Lead Entrepreneurs is invaluable. The way the participants have pivoted, identified new opportunities, and changed to meet the needs of their market, shows great resilience and a true entrepreneurial spirit. The strength of the network, developed over the last 13 years, has proven to be a great resource in challenging times, as it is when the environment is more benign.”
For further information on the Going for Growth programme, please contact Olivia Lynch, partner, KPMG.