Enterprise Ireland report recommended as ‘essential reading’ in Seanad

Not enough female entrepreneur ‘heroes’, says Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White

Senators will today break for the summer. A referendum is to be held on the abolition of the upper House on Friday, October 4th. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Senators will today break for the summer. A referendum is to be held on the abolition of the upper House on Friday, October 4th. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

As Senators head off for the summer recess they have been urged to include a significant tome in their holiday luggage.

Fianna Fáil’s Mary White said Enterprise Ireland’s annual report “deserves to be number one on the best-sellers’ lists”.

It should be summer reading, she said, for people to learn about “the Irish heroes who are turning around our economy and laying the basis for prosperity for the future”.

Irish companies and entrepreneurs “have achieved record sales in 2012, breaking the €16.2 billion point for the very first time”, she said.

Ms White, Fianna Fáil Seanad spokeswoman on jobs, was speaking in advance of the launch this afternoon of the party’s policy paper on promoting women entrepreneurs in Ireland.

Ireland reflects an international trend where “women entrepreneurs are seriously lagging behind their male counterparts”. Early stage female entrepreneurs are outnumbered two to one by men, Ms White said.

She told the Seanad there were many barriers for Irish women in entrepreneurship.

“Unless we include in our competitiveness Irish women’s talents and potential we are not internationally competing, we’re not generating the potential and encouraging Irish women,” she said.

Referring to Enterprise Ireland she said its client companies exported more in 2012 than at any time in the history of the State through the work of hundreds of Irish entrepreneurs, from web companies established by young people to major companies such as Glanbia and Kerrygold.

There was a net increase in jobs of 3,300 last year, primarily driven by exports and “increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in Ireland will add jobs for both men and women, making a significant contribution to our economic recovery”.

Labour Seanad leader Ivana Bacik welcomed the paper and said it “does raise very important issues.

“It should be a matter of concern to Government that so few entrepreneurs are women, like so few politicians are women and again we have to look at positive action measures to increase the number of women.”