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This is the last chance to enter Going for Growth 2020 – a KPMG and Enterprise Ireland-supported initiative, to encourage Irish women in business. Applications for the programme close on December 9, 2019.

The campaign, which began in 2007, is designed to support women owners or managers of a business in Ireland. They must be highly motivated, serious about growing their business and trading for at least two years. Applications from candidates who have more recently set up a business will be considered however, on an exceptional basis.

Going for Growth is a six-month, part-time programme, running from January to June 2020. It’s based on interactive roundtable sessions and facilitated by successful female business women who guide the entrepreneurs.

All of these women give their time on a voluntary basis and many are past participants of the programme. This year they include:  Gillian O’Dowd of Azon Recruitment, Eimer Hannon of Hannon Travel, Oonagh O’Hagan, owner of Meagher’s Pharmacy Group and Chupi Sweetman, the jewellery designer.

All of the past participants have reported a considerable growth in their businesses and many credit Going for Growth for their success. 

Gillian O’Dowd

Azon Recruitment Group

Gillian O’Dowd of the Azon Recruitment Group was a participant on Going for Growth in 2017 and on the follow-on programme - Continuing the Momentum in 2019. Established in 2014, today Azon provides a complete recruitment service which includes executive search, contingent recruitment, project sourcing and contract sourcing. Gillian has plans to broaden the range of services offered and expand overseas.

“Going for Growth was really important in giving me the opportunity to both share with and learn from people who have been through a similar experience,” she said. “My team on the programme were really helpful in challenging thinking and supporting decision-making”.

Eimer Hannon

Hannon Travel

Eimer Hannon of Hannon Travel is another past participant. She took part in the 9th of cycle Going for Growth and the 11th cycle of Continuing the Momentum. She’s now involved as a voluntary Lead Entrepreneur and she’s on the ACORNS programme which encourages rural start-up female entrepreneurs.

After taking part in Going for Growth, Eimer opened an office in Belfast to service the UK market, restructured the company internally and invested in major technology. “We have gone from being a small local corporate travel provider to now being international, and we are continuing to grow. Going for Growth helped make this happen,” she said. 


There are 60 places on Going for Growth and those accepted participate free of charge. Visit: for more information and to register as an applicant. 

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Olivia Lynch, a Partner at KPMG and an advisor to a wide range of family and privately-owned businesses, said: “Going for Growth is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for ambitious female entrepreneurs. The quality of the advice and the encouragement offered on this programme is second to none. I’d encourage any woman entrepreneur who is serious and enthusiastic about her business to apply.

“Supporting ambitious entrepreneurs on their scaling journey is at the very heart of what we do at KPMG and championing women in business is important to us. We’re delighted to continue our support of Going for Growth, now in its 12th cycle and each year going from strength to strength.”


Going for Growth was designed and is being implemented by Fitzsimons Consulting, specialists in areas related to entrepreneurship and business growth. Paula Fitzsimons, founder and managing director of Fitzsimons Consulting, commented: “Year on Year, Going for Growth has proved hugely success. It was originally designed to address a significant gap in entrepreneurial ambition amongst women, in comparison to men.

“This was identified by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research in 2007, which showed that for every female entrepreneur with growth expectations, there were nearly five times as many male entrepreneurs. This gap has significantly narrowed (to 3.5:1) as the rate of female entrepreneurs with growth ambitions has increased. Research* shows that 25 per cent of early stage female entrepreneurs expect to increase the number of jobs in their companies by 50 per cent and to create 10 or more jobs within five years,” added Paula.

“This is the 12th year of Going for Growth and more than 660 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the programme.”

Scaling up

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, said: “Supporting ambitious business women to start and to grow enterprises is a priority for Enterprise Ireland. In addition to targeting a continued increase in the number of high potential start-ups led by female founders, a key focus for Enterprise Ireland is to increase the number of companies that achieve scale.

“The Going for Growth programme provides unique supports to ambitious business women in the achievement of their growth aspirations through learning, collaboration and most importantly, through role models and mentoring. We will continue to partner with Going for Growth, to grow the cohort of businesses of scale led by women, expanding their reach in global markets and creating and sustaining jobs in Ireland.”

Further information

For information on the Going for Growth programme, please contact Olivia Lynch via this form.

To apply for Going for Growth 2020, visit

Further reading