Women told to drive economy forward

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

a LIMERICK woman behind the successful dating site anotherfriend.com has appealed to local businesswomen to lead Ireland out of the recession.

a LIMERICK woman behind the successful dating site anotherfriend.com has appealed to local businesswomen to lead Ireland out of the recession.

Local woman Grainne Barry of Ireland’s largest online dating website, anotherfriend.com, is encouraging local women to get involved in ‘Going for Growth’, a programme which mentors and helps women in business grow their enterprises.

Since its launch 11 years ago over 450,000 people have signed up with her online dating agency, including nearly 19,000 in her native county. The company, which employs over 30 people, also boasts of creating the same number of marriages after bringing successful pairings together.

Ms Barry told the conference that women should not let the economic downturn halt their entrepreneurial spirit.

She was one of 70 top Irish businesswomen and former participants of the Going for Growth initiative, who gathered at a forum in Barberstown Castle last week to support each other and share their expertise to enhance their businesses, increase employment and boost sales.

Between them the assembled past participants have a combined turnover of almost €60m and employ over 420 people.

Ms Barry was involved in an early cycle of ‘Going for Growth’, which helped her develop her business to the success it is today.

“I met fantastic women in business on the Going for Growth programme. I had the most enriching experience and now have a completely new network of like-minded individuals who are happy and willing to assist me in any way as I grow my business,” said Ms Barry.

Paula Fitzsimons, national director of Going for Growth, said she believes that entrepreneurs learn best from each other, and their initiative is based on interactive roundtable sessions that are facilitated by successful entrepreneurs.

“The initiative has been endorsed by some successful business women who have agreed to become involved in the initiative as lead entrepreneurs.

“These busy and successful business women have agreed to give their time on a voluntary basis to support women entrepreneurs to achieve their growth ambition,” said Ms Fitzsimons.

The Going for Growth initiative is being supported and funded by the European Social Fund, Enterprise Ireland and the Equality for Women Measure, Department of Justice and Equality.

Those who would like to find out more about the initiative or register their interest in participating in the next cycle should visit www.goingforgrowth.com and request an application form, before the closing date on November 25. This is the fourth cycle of the programme.