Creating Pathways to Success for Women Entrepreneurs
The Emerald Isle recently welcomed a delegation of New Jersey and New York businesswomen passionate about small business. The opportunity was created through the partnering of three organizations: Leading Women Entrepreneurs and B.I.G. (Believe Inspire Grow), both U.S.-based, national female entrepreneur resource networks, and Ireland’s Cork Foundation, which connected to collaborate and develop something special. The focus of the resulting event was “Thought Leadership: Being the Best You Can Be.”
As fashion designer Tory Burch pointed out during a panel discussion with U.S. Senator Cory Booker in New Jersey in July, “Just as important as capital, entrepreneurs need advice.” Underscoring the importance of women meeting other female entrepreneurs, the General Entrepreneurship Monitor (the world’s largest study of entrepreneurship), “Women are 5 times more likely to set up their own business as a result of meeting other women entrepreneurs.” The goal of this trip was to provide an occasion for these crucial introductions to take place.
Sen. Booker’s inspiring quote "The limits of what you can accomplish are defined by the courage of our imaginations," was the impetus for our trip, born out of Linda Wellbrock and Tara Gilvar’s commitment to women entrepreneurs around the globe. The U.S. delegation included Linda Wellbrock, CEO of Leading Women Entrepreneurs; Tara Gilvar, CEO of B.I.G. (Believe Inspire Grow); Caroline Gosselin, head of The Gosselin Group at Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty; Karolina Dehnhard, attorney at law, Budd Larner, PC; Susan P. Ascher, CEO of The Ascher Group; Elizabeth Swinicki, CEO of Pravda Consulting; Alexandra Zetlin, CEO of Zetlin Strategic Communications; and Terry Tateossian, CEO of Socialfix Media—all thought leaders in their fields of media, real estate, human resources, law, and marketing.
To many Americans, the place Johnny Cash sings about in “Forty Shades of Green” has always seemed like a magical place, with ancient castles, rugged cliff-lined shores, and quaint cottages nestled amid rolling green hills. But Ireland also has keen business acumen, something the eight American businesswomen were able to experience firsthand. Ireland is thriving with economic possibility and looking to broaden its international relationships.
Based in Cork, the Cork Foundation is a nonprofit that connects donors in Ireland and America to provide vital financial assistance, with the goal of fostering economic and social development. Together, these three visionary organizations created the events of July 30-31, a two-day celebration of female entrepreneurship and an opening of new pathways between the New York/New Jersey region and the country of Ireland. Irish corporate sponsors included Vodafone Ireland, EMC, PepsiCo, and RDJ.
Throughout the breakfast meeting and subsequent roundtable discussions and pitch sessions, the U.S. delegation had the pleasure of talking to some inspiring women, Cork’s most promising female entrepreneurs and leading female politicians. Ten candidates out of 100 female Irish entrepreneurs were invited to pitch their business ideas to the American delegates who then, Shark Tank style, picked the most innovative and scalable business.
Dee O’Leary, president and founder of iDME, a company which produces identity wristbands for children and medical emergencies, was selected as the winner of the pitch sessions and will travel to New York in December, where she will have the opportunity to meet with U.S. mentors and investors for one-on-one business advice and develop a strategic and tailored plan for growth. O’Leary will also represent Ireland at this year’s Leading Women Entrepreneurs event in New Jersey on December 4.
“I am delighted to have been selected for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which complements our future business goals,” O’Leary said. “Dee O’Leary’s trip to the USA will open doors for her company and expose Cork’s business potential overseas,” added Cork Foundation CEO Heather McGuire.
The U.S. delegation, now back to their businesses in New Jersey and New York, is committed to finding opportunities to broaden the business pathways created on this trip. By helping women entrepreneurs to thrive anywhere in the world, we all benefit by exposing the NY/NJ communities to new business opportunities. Our goal is the creation of business relationships where women entrepreneurs are empowered to stimulate job creation, better provide for their families, and strengthen their communities.
Here is a short video from our event in Cork, Ireland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyXgYOBcwwE&feature=youtu.be.
Sources: General Entrepreneurship Monitor - www.gemconsortium.org