A panel of expert speakers outlined the challenges and opportunities for Northern Ireland’s female entrepreneurs at an event in Belfast today to mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.
The event, in conjunction with the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, was hosted at the Ulster Bank headquarters in Donegal Square East and included student, entrepreneurs, early stage businesses and community representatives from across Northern Ireland. Speakers included Lord Alderdice (CDPB Chairman), Cathy Martin (WED Ambassador for Ireland and founder of CMPR) and Brenda McLaughlin CBE (NI Trustee on the National Board of NSPCC)
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED), the world’s largest entrepreneurial and financial empowerment initiative, recently appointed country ambassadors to oversee and coordinate activities in over 144 countries worldwide, supporting, empowering, and celebrating women entrepreneurs on every continent. 51% of the UK population is female, yet just over 20% of SME are majority female led. If women started businesses at the same rate as men, there would be an 150,000 extra start-ups each year in the UK
Speaking at the event, Karen Lawther, Chair of Focused Women, Ulster Bank’s internal network to support women in business, said: “Supporting female entrepreneurship is core to what we do as a bank, and is an important part of building a dynamic economy and business culture. We take pride in supporting initiatives like this which offer people the chance to learn, connect and gain confidence from some truly inspiring speakers.”
Addressing a Women’s Enterprise Day event at the Ulster Bank Headquarters in Belfast today, Lord Alderdice, Chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, said:
“It is a sign that things are getting better that no-one finds it remarkable for us to have women as three of the four First Ministers in the United Kingdom, but we should take this as an encouragement of what is possible, rather than as a sign of achievement. While in some areas of work life the particular contributions of women, and the proper regard for women as equal citizens is increasingly recognised, other areas of the economy still deny themselves the business advantage that women’s creativity brings to the top table. Women’s Entrepreneurship Day gives us a chance to remind ourselves and others of the exciting successes of women as entrepreneurs in social, economic and public life.”