Research findings based on a sample of 150 business women conducted by the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork and Kerry has found that childcare is among the biggest barriers for women starting their own business. It found that more than 70 per cent of female business owners who are mothers find that childcare costs are a major challenge. The research was carried out ahead of a special event for aspiring female entrepreneurs and female-led businesses across the region in Inchydoney for National Women’s Enterprise Day on Thursday, October 12.
More than half feel that setting up a business as a woman is more challenging than it is for a man with the main reason being that family duties still fall on the woman to manage on a day to day basis. Lack of confidence was also found to be one of the biggest issues facing women wanting to start or grow their small businesses. This is evident from findings on the LEOs’ Women in Business programmes, which are run throughout the year.
‘Open doors to new markets’ is the theme of the event on October 12 and will focus on how established and aspiring businesswomen can tap in to Ireland’s rapidly growing digital economy which represents €12.3 billion (6 pc) of Ireland’s GDP. With Irish consumers spending €850,000 per hour online, 24 hours a day, attendees will learn from some of Ireland’s top female business leaders about building a better business while also learning to deal with and overcome everyday stresses.
Christine Heffernan, Business Adviser with the Local Enterprise Office Cork North and West said, “Childcare has always been a limiting factor for self-employed women and is still something we come across every day with our female clients. Not only is the cost of childcare a major issue but maternity leave for self employed women, particularly sole traders, is a bugbear, as they must decide whether to return to work early or take the State benefit available to them but essentially close their business for those 26 weeks, which isn’t viable for many.
Traditionally it has been the mother to give up work and stay at home, and although this has shifted somewhat in recent years, the juggle of work and home still falls – in the main – on the woman. While we can’t change this, we can champion and support female business owners to empower young women and show them that although it might be tough, it can still be done.
She continued, “We will welcome almost 200 women to our National Women’s Enterprise Day event in Inchydoney on October 12 where they will learn the importance of branding, retail and online sales and leave feeling inspired and driven which is what the day is all about.”
Among the speakers will be Alina Uí Chaollaí, Marketing Director, Largo Foods, Fiona Gratzer, MD Unislim, Lorraine Higgins, Head of Public Affairs and Communications with Retail Excellence, Sharon Corcoran, Director of Services, Economic Development, Enterprise and Tourism, Cork County Council and Attracta Burke, bestselling author of ‘The Formula – How to be your very best’. A panel discussion with Cork and Kerry SME owners will also be a highlight.
Tickets for the National Women’s Enterprise Day event in Inchydoney can be booked from the Local Enterprise Offices website or through www.nwed.ie and further details are available from @NWED on Twitter and @NWEDIreland on Facebook.
Pictured at the launch of the National Women’s Enterprise Day on Thursday October 12, which is being held at Inchydoney were Ciara McGee, LEO South Cork, Pam Sheehan, Burke by Design, Clonakilty and Christine Heffernan, LEO Cork North and West.