Welcome

 

Here at Fitzsimons Consulting we are dedicated to making a difference through our focus on the areas of entrepreneurship and growth. Equally at home with entrepreneurs, policy makers, development agencies, and academics, Paula Fitzsimons and her team provide a bridge connecting all four through consultancy assignments, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research, and the development and management of highly innovative initiatives such as Going for Growth, ACORNS, Back for Business and Senior Enterprise, which have been recognised for their excellence.

 

News

ACORNS 4th Cycle Call for Applicants Opens

On Monday 27 August 2018 Michael Creed, TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine launched the call for applicants for the latest cycle of ACORNS.  To date, over 150 participants have taken part in this highly successful female entrepreneurship development initiative.  Funded under the Department’s Rural Innovation and Development Fund, ACORNS is focused on developing the potential of female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland, who wish to start and develop new businesses or have recently started a business.

Read the full press release here.

Pictured with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD, are (left/right) Joanne Browne, Jo Browne (previous Acorns participant), Lisa Larkin, Durrow Mills (previous Acorns participant), Paula Fitzsimons, Director ACORNS, Norma Dineen,Bó Rua Farm Cheese (previous Acorns participant), and Cori Calvert, GES Energy (previous Acorns participant).

 

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report for Ireland 2017 – July 2018

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report for Ireland 2017 has been launched.  Enterprise Ireland, supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, sponsored the publication, which was authored by Paula Fitzsimons of Fitzsimons Consulting and Dr Colm O’Gorman Professor of Entrepreneurship, DCU Business School.

Pictured left to right are Declan Hughes, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Professor Colm O’Gorman, DCU, (co-author), Heather Humphries TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Rowena Dwyer, Enterprise Ireland, Paula Fitzsimons, GEM coordinator for Ireland (co-author)

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Pictured left to right are Declan Hughes, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Professor Colm O’Gorman, DCU, (co-author), Heather Humphries TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Rowena Dwyer, Enterprise Ireland, Paula Fitzsimons, GEM coordinator for Ireland (co-author)

Going for Growth 10th Cycle Concludes – 19 June 2018

The end of the 10th cycle of Going for Growth took place on Tuesday 19 June.  KPMG, one of the sponsors of the programme, along with Enterprise Ireland, hosted the event at their premises.

Left to Right: Aisling Callaghan, Wilson Security; Joanne Rochford, Invoke Brand & Events; Louise Lonergan, Lonergan Corporate Gifts; Louella Morton, TestReach; Louise Phelan (Lead Entrepreneur); Anna Grant, Flowers Made Easy; Sinead Gallagher, Renew Aesthetic Clinic; Denise Howard, DCM Learning; Kathryn Thomas, Pure Results Bootcamp.

Starting Strong Celebration – 11 June 2018

The successful completion of the third cycle of Starting Strong was marked in June.  Starting Strong is the most recent in the suite of complementary initiatives under the Going for Growth umbrella, supporting female entrepreneurs in successfully growing a business.

Back Left to Right: Sam Synott, Buddy Bench; Naomi Murphy, Connect The Dots; Alison Cummins, The Hog House; Vanessa Liston, CiviQ; Hannah Wrixon, Get the Shifts; Erica Sheehan, Homespun; Nicola Connelly, Nunaia.
Front Left to Right: Dimi Kfouri, Outfitable; Fiona O’Carroll, Lead Entrepreneur; Una Donohoe, Savage Food Co.

Back for Business Pilot Programme now completed – 14 May 2018

The Pilot Back for Business Programme concluded with a celebratory event at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Iveagh House.  The event was hosted by Ciarán Cannon TD, Minister for the Diaspora and International Affairs and each of the participants was presented with a certificate of completion.

Ciarán Cannon TD, Minister for the Diaspora and International Affairs is pictured with some of the participants and Lead Entrepreneurs from the Pilot Back for Business Programme.

 

ACORNS Lead Entrepreneurs at Áras an Uachtaráin – Friday 4 May 2018

On Friday 4 May 2018 the ACORNS Lead Entrepreneurs met with the President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at an event in Áras an Uachtaráin to celebrate female entrepreneurship.

Left to right: Triona MacGiolla Rí, Caroline McEnery, Alison Ritchie, Sabina Higgins, President Michael D Higgins, Anne Cusack, Mary B Walsh, Anne Reilly, Deirdre McGlone

 

ACORNS 3 End of Cycle Celebration

Now in its third year, to date over 150 of these rural based female entrepreneurs have been supported by ACORNS.  The successful completion of the third cycle was celebrated at a residential event in Mullingar on 17 April 2018.


Left to right: Elizabeth Gavin, Eur Digital Village; Bernadette Barrett, Léanas Gift in a Box; Cori Calvert, GlasÉireann Solutions; Caroline McEnery, Lead Entrepreneur; Claire Kelly, The Busy Botanist; Siobhan Stack, Ulluv; Anne Marie Lehane.

 

ACORNS National Forum Showcases Participants’ Products – April 2018

This year’s ACORNS National Forum was also the occasion of the inaugural ACORNS Showcase, which featured a colourful and inspiring display of the participants’ wide range of products and services.

Left to right: Former participant Kabira Allain, Kymaïa and Colm McKiernan, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

 

Going for Growth 10th Cycle launched

On Monday 15 January 2018 Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation launched the 10th cycle of Going for Growth.  68 female entrepreneurs have been selected for the cycle.  Between them these entrepreneurs already have sales in excess of €67 million and employ over 850 people.  Going for Growth is designed to support them to achieve their very significant growth ambitions, helping create new jobs and grow their sales.  Going for Growth is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG.

Left to right: Darina Barrett, KPMG (Going for Growth sponsor); Sarita Johnston, Enterprise Ireland (Going for Growth sponsor); Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation; Paula Fitzsimons, Director, Going for Growth.

Going for Growth Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

Smiles all around in 2017 – Going for Growth, the award-winning programme for ambitious female entrepreneurs, goes from strength to strength as it marks its 10th birthday. Over 550 female entrepreneurs have participated in the initiative to date.  Going for Growth is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG.


Left to right:  Ellen Kavanagh, previous participant, Monica Flood, Lead Entrepreneur and Paula Fitzsimons, Director, Going for Growth

Back for Business – New Entrepreneurship Programme for Returning Emigrants

Back for Business, a new initiative to support entrepreneurial activity among emigrants
returning or recently returned to live in Ireland, got underway on 27 November 2017.  The programme was developed and implemented by Fitzsimons Consulting and is fully funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Left to right: James Murphy, Lifes2good (Lead Entrepreneur);  Ciarán Cannon TD, Minister for the Diaspora and International Affairs; Áine Denn, Altify (Lead Entrepreneur).

 

ACORNS 3 – New Cycle Gets Underway

The third cycle of the ACORNS Programme for early stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland got underway at a residential forum held in Mullingar on 23-24 October 2017.  Participants heard the inspirational stories of previous ACORNS participants and met with their Lead Entrepreneurs in round table sessions.


Left to right: Programme participants Linda Byrne, Linda Byrne Illustration; Dora-May Cousins, Dora-May’s Café; Tara Lane, Centrepiece Rosettes; Leah Purcell, Able Bodies Physiotherapy & Health.

 

Going for Growth Community Forum – September 2017

The annual Community Forum took place on 26-27 September 2017. On successful completion of a cycle, participants can stay connected by joining the Going for Growth Community and take part in a series of events throughout the year, including the Community Forum.

Left to right:  Lead entrepreneur Oonagh O’Hagan with former participants Ellen Kavanagh, Waxperts Wax; Katrina Kelly, K2 Hair and Jennifer Rock, The Skin Nerd.

 

Going for Growth 9th Cycle Celebration

The end of the 9th cycle of Going for Growth was marked with a celebratory event on Thursday 15 June 2017 at the offices of KPMG, one of the sponsors of the programme, along with Enterprise Ireland.  The participants reported an increase in their combined sales of over €20million over the six months of the cycle, bringing their total sales to over €136million. Between them they employed an additional 187 people full time, bringing their combined total to 1,250 people, an increase of 17.5% over the six month cycle.

Back Left to right: Siobhan Rogers, Costigan’s Pharmacy; Margaret Robb, Sweet Little Babies; Kate Dillon, The Wooden Spoon; Breda O’Sullivan, Bluebell Falls; Ailish Ryan, Mockness.

Front Left to right: Marie Looby, PereGreen Energy; Fidelma McGuirk, Lead Entrepreneur; Heidi Higgins.

 

ACORNS 2 Celebration

The second cycle of the ACORNS programme was brought to a successful conclusion at a two-day residential forum on 3-4 April 2017. Over 100 female entrepreneurs have taken part in ACORNS to date, and past participants testify to the difference this programme has made both to themselves and to their businesses.

 

Left to right: Aveline O’Sullivan, Bloom in a Box; Brigid Riley, Fernwood; Trín O’Brien, Wellnice Pops; Andrew Doyle TD, Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture; Maria Brosnan, Bake it Easy; Maura Sheehy, Maura’s Cottage Flowers.

 

Going for Growth 9th Cycle gets underway – launched by Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor – 17 February 2017

The 9th cycle of Going for Growth got underway on Friday 17 February 2017, when it was launched by Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.  The award winning programme is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, and will support 80 female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses over the next six months. These participants are drawn from right across the country, and with the support of Going for Growth aim to significantly increase their turnover and grow employment over the coming years.

Left to right: Olivia Lynch, KPMG (Going for Growth sponsor), Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Paula Fitzsimons, Director, Going for Growth, Orla Battersby, Enterprise Ireland (Going for Growth sponsor).

 

ACORNS 2 Gets Underway

Following the highly successful pilot phase of the ACORNS Programme, phase 2  got underway on 10-11 October 2016 at a residential forum at the Mullingar Park Hotel.  ACORNS is specifically designed for early stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland who wish to start and develop new businesses.   The initiative has been developed by Fitzsimons Consulting and is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the Rural Innovation and Development Fund, and there is no charge for successful applicants.

Left to right: Alison Ritchie, Polar Ice, Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Geraldine Byrne, Mediskin and Paula Fitzsimons, ACORNS.

 

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report for Ireland 2016

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report for Ireland 2016 has been launched.  Enterprise Ireland, supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, sponsored the publication, which was authored by Paula Fitzsimons of Fitzsimons Consulting and Dr Colm O’Gorman Professor of Entrepreneurship, DCU Business School.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report for Ireland 2015

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report for Ireland 2015 has been launched.  Enterprise Ireland, supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, sponsored the publication, which was authored by Paula Fitzsimons of Fitzsimons Consulting and Dr Colm O’Gorman Professor of Entrepreneurship, DCU Business School.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Going for Growth features in latest publication from OECD and European Commission – 25th May 2016
As part of their joint work on inclusive entrepreneurship, the OECD and European Commission have published Inclusive Business Creation – Good Practice Compendium. The report features 20 programmes from across Europe that support business creation by people from under-represented groups, including women.  Going for Growth is featured from Ireland. Click here to read.

 

Going for Growth featured on the European Commission blog
On Friday 6th May, Going for Growth was featured on the European Commission blog in connection with the winning of the European Enterprise Promotion Award last November.

GFG

 

ACORNS Logo

Pilot programme now completed

The pilot of the ACORNS programme has now been completed. The final event was a residential Forum held on the 4th/5th April 2016 in Portlaoise. Participants who successful completed the programme were presented with certificates by Ann Derwin, Assistant Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

ACORNS Lead Entrepreneurs, Anne Reilly (Paycheck Plus), Caroline McEnery (The HR Suite) and Anne Cusack (Critical Healthcare)ACORNS Lead Entrepreneurs, Anne Reilly (Paycheck Plus), Caroline McEnery (The HR Suite) and Anne Cusack (Critical Healthcare) pictured at the Residential Forum, April 2016.

 

Going for Growth featured on Euronews Business Planet

Paula Fitzsimons, Director, Going for Growth features with Volunteer Lead Entrepreneur, Caroline Keeling, of Keelings Fruit and Participant, Isolde Johnson of the Cool Bean Company.

In this edition of Business Planet (March 2016), host Giacomo Segantini visited Dublin to meet Paula Fitzsimons, a woman at the heart of female entrepreneurship initiatives in Ireland. Going for Growth, which is funded by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, is based around peer-led roundtable sessions. Each roundtable is hosted by an experienced business leader, known as a ‘Lead Entrepreneur.’

Click here for more.

8th Cycle of Going for Growth Launched
On Thursday 21st January 2016, Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation launched a new cycle of the Going for Growth Initiative at the Marker Hotel, Dublin.

Sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, the award winning programme will support 95 female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses over the next six months. Drawn from across Ireland, between them these ambitious women entrepreneurs already have annual sales of €58 Million, 1,060 employees and 43% are currently exporting. The participants aim to significantly increase their turnover and expect to make considerable additional economic impact in terms of jobs creation and export sales over the next few years.

GFG

From left to right: Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland (Going for Growth Sponsor), Olivia Lynch, Tax Partner, KPMG (Going for Growth Sponsor), Richard Bruton TD, Cora Murphy, The Care Team (Past participant), Heather Reynolds, Eishtec (Lead Entrepreneur)

Going for Growth wins European Enterprise Award
Going for Growth was announced as the winner of the Investing In Entrepreneurial Skills category at the European Enterprise Promotion Award 2015. The awards took place in Luxembourg on the 19th November 2015.

GFG

 

ACORNS Logo

New initiative supporting early stage female entrepreneurs

ACORNS is focused on unleashing the potential of female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland who have recently started a business or who have taken concrete steps towards setting up a business.

As the programme was fully funded under the CEDRA 2015 Rural Innovation and Development Fund through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, there was no charge for the 48 successful participants. ACORNS began on the 30th September, at a residential Development Forum in Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

ACORNS Logo

Paula Fitzsimons, Director, ACORNS, Minister for Rural Affairs, Ann Phelan TD & ACORNS Lead Entrepreneur, Anne Cusack, Critical Healthcare, Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath

2014 GEM Report launched

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report for Ireland 2014 was launched by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD on Wednesday, 2nd of September 2015.

Enterprise Ireland, supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, sponsored the publication of the GEM report for Ireland 2014, which was authored by Paula Fitzsimons of Fitzsimons Consulting and Dr Colm O’Gorman Professor of Entrepreneurship, DCU Business School.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Starting Strong: End of Cycle Celebration

The 2015 Starting Strong programme was successfully completed on the 8th July with a Celebratory Event in the Conrad Hotel, Dublin. The event recognised the significant progress made by the 21 Starting Strong participants who completed the cycle. Click here for more.

Participants with Paula

From left to right: Jennie McGinn (Opsh), Ollwyn Moran (Creeper Crawlers), Elaine Lavery (Improper Butter), Paula Fitzsimons (Director, Going for Growth), Melissa Curry (Melissa Curry Jewellery) and Bernice Moran (The Be Sweet Company).

Networking Event with Overseas Managers, Bord Bia

In June 2015, Paula spoke on the value of networking to a group of overseas Managers from Bord Bia in Dublin.

 

Forum on Female Entrepreneurship

Paula Fitzsimons presented on “How Entrepreneurial are Women in Ireland?” at the Forum on Female Entrepreneurship, in Thurles on Wed 22nd April 2015. The event was organised by the Tipperary Local Enterprise Office. Click here for more.

Thurles

From left to right: Rachel Doyle (Arboretum Home & Garden Heaven), Paula Fitzsimons (Going for Growth), Veronica Molloy (Crossogue Preserves), Majella Ryan (Ivowen Limited), Jean O’Sullivan (Enterprise Ireland) and Sinead Carr (Tipperary County Council).