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3 Take Aways from the National Women's Enterprise Day in Cork

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Last Thursday I attended the National Women’s Enterprise (South West Regional) event at Dunmore House Hotel, in Clonakilty, Co. Cork. This is Ireland’s largest female enterprise event, a full day programme to promote, encourage and stimulate female entrepreneurship across Ireland. It is designed and led by women and is an annual high point in promoting entrepreneurship to women in Ireland.

Pictured at the launch are Amy Jane Keating, event host and MC; Lisa Finn, Business Advisor, Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Cork North & West; Alison Walsh, Business Advisor, LEO South Cork; Ita Madden, Senior Enterprise Development Officer, LEO Cork City; Jamie Cuthbert, Event Coordinator and Business Advisor, LEO Cork North & West; Fiona Leahy, Business Advisor, LEO Kerry and Caroline Murphy, West Cork Eggs, event ambassador and leading light representing LEO Cork North & West. Photo Credit: Joleen Cronin

It was also the day after the heavens had opened quite spectacularly on Cork & Waterford but luckily for this event & attendees, Clonakilty had escaped the deluge and swollen rivers and was on its best behaviour.

Now in its 17th year, National Women's Enterprise Day celebrates female entrepreneurs' success and inspires female start-ups. This was my first time to attend the event – I went on my own, but once I stepped into Dunmore House, a feeling of genuine camaraderie emboldened me and gave me the confidence to strike up conversations with people I had never met before. This was a group of entrepreneurial women who had one thing in common: they were there to support every woman in the room, to share their professional advice, give you an alternative view point and to ask “what one thing can I do today that can help you in your business?” (Thank you Eimear McDonnell of Network Ireland Kerry & Match Marketing for posing the question!).

Great MC skills by Amy-Jane Keating - who had the challenging task of commanding a room of 200 women, brimming with energy and bursting with stories that had to be told.

Pat Kane of shared an overview on sustainability with some key takeaways on the power of one, & why we as individuals and business owners should care.

Lisa Finn of LEO Cork North West, Pat Kane of, Laura Dowling the Fabulous Pharmacist, Jamie Cuthbert of LEO Cork North West; and Fiona Leahy, Kerry LEO at the National Women’s Enterprise Day event in Dunmore House, Clonakilty.

Photo Credit: Joleen Cronin

Laura Dowling, The Fabulous Pharmacist, managed to keep us on the edge of our seats and took us on a whirlwind tour of the proper names for our lady bits (can’t write that anymore after listening to Laura) vulva, She made us laugh right through a whole hour: weaving a tale around breast checks, orgasms, perimenopause, GAA matches & ham sandwiches & why vulva and vagina are never interchangeable.

Thanks to the leading lights panel who shared their knowledge, wisdom and personal challenges associated with their successful businesses:

Caroline Murphy of West Cork Eggs, Dr. Wendy Oke of TeachKloud, Kathy O’Dwyer of Career Training Internships & Anna & Orla Snook of Valentia Vermouth.

Joanne Noonan of Kerry LEO, Anna and Orla Snook O’Carroll from Valentia Vermouth and Fiona Leahy of Kerry LEO at the National Women’s Enterprise Day event in Dunmore House, Clonakilty. Photo Credit: Joleen Cronin

My 3 key take aways from the day:

1. Ask. Ask questions, ask for support (Enterprise Ireland and your local Enterprise Office have been mentoring, coaching and supporting women entrepreneurs for over 17 years), ask for introductions, ask what you can do for other women to help them in their business.

2. Be resilient through it all. Success comes from experience. Experience comes from making mistakes. But mistakes come from living life.

3. Dr. Wendy Oke believes in naps and considers being able to take one a signifier of her success. Take time for self care. Especially as a solo entrepreneur. Because no one is going to come up to you and remind you to take a break, go for a walk or a swim. Or to take that nap.

A powerful event and reminder of the importance of the solidarity & support of women in the entrepreneurial world. But don't just take my word for it. If you needed any more convincing, have a listen to these wise ones.

Video Credit: Joleen Cronin



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