On Tuesday 12th June Ladies who Launch Dublin celebrated the wealth of amazing women entrepreneurs and business owners, as they came together for their inaugural event, to educate inspire and create community amongst local business leaders and sellers.
Sarah Friar introduced the evening with some statistics that are shocking in many respects, but the one that stuck with me the most was; Only 1% of Venture Capital funds go towards female entrepreneurs.
This is one of the issues Ladies who Launch are striving to address, by encouraging every women to Pay it Forward by offering yourself as a mentor, even in the short term and to look towards life long learning, so every women can and will reach the potential that they desire.
Mary Harney, former Deputy Prime Minister talked about how she got to the top of the political world and didn't let anything stand as a barrier in her way, despite being very much in the gender minority. She gave many pieces of advice, "play to your strengths, Work Hard, Have Conviction, Courage and Step Outside the Status Quo".
Mary also talked about her life and charitable work after her time in Irish politics and talked about how when you find yourself in a situation where everything has changed, do not underestimate your experience and use your passion, experience and skills in your portfolio to do something "You enjoy, You have the Skills for and You can add value too".
Mary also spoke about the need for Mentors and not necessarily one mentor but many more for different things and periods in your life, as you skills, experiences change over time, so does your need for specific mentorship. But also remember that it is a two way street and that both mentor and mentee can learn something new form each other. This is something I hadn't thought about myself and is a valuable point and may also encourage more men and women to come forward to be a mentor.
Lastly she spoke about what her advice to anyone starting out on the entrepreneurial path.
Don't Be afraid to ask questions even if you think they are stupid questions,
Don't Be afraid to be afraid
"Success is constantly failing and to still be enthusiastic", What is the Measure of your success? You set the benchmark yourself.
We then heard from Iseult Ward (Co-founder, FoodCloud) and Nuala Murphy on the issues and challenges of building start up business with the main aim to do good and give back to the community. How having a strong purpose, creating a community and a passion to drive the idea forward is vital to the success of one's business, with perserverance being key.
They also discussed how getting a backer on board who shares in you vision and truly believes in the cause and the 'Why' of the business, will help you progress much quicker. What do they say, "If you want to go fast, go alone, If you want to far, go together." Take your passion and make it your business.
Next up we were treated to Marketing Hustle, with lessons from Alix Mulholland (Founder & Director, Field Day & Field Apothecary), Fidelma McGuirk (Founder & CEO, Payslip), Maeve Kneafsey (Co-Founder, CloudKPI) and Aine Mulloy (Co-founder, & CMO, GirlCrew).
Know your market- Go after the right fish,
Look for leaders in the market of who your customers would be and connect,
September is a good month to launch (I'm only out by one month for my new venture launch, but that's another story!),
Get good coverage in local press,
Use Linked In to message publications to get in more press streams.
The final discussion section of the evening with Linda Kiely (Co-founder of Voxpro) was an extremely lively and incredibly funny, yet masterful display of adroight leadership from Anne Heraty (CEO, Cpl Resources plc.) . These leaders of business discussed their careers and shared stories of how they have worked hard, very hard over the years to get to where there are and with many failures as well along the way. How you need to look for character and trust in yourself and your partners in business, with the capability and inner drive and strong values to see the work through.
Linda and Anne talked about how communication is key, including with the tax offices, which raised much mirth from the audience and how you have to have compassion and empathy, seeing people for who they are. Many lessons that you don't get taught in how to run a business but are key fundamentals.
The final piece of advice I took away from this inspiring evening was in how people enable success, so you need to be mindful of how you treat people around you and how this adds value to you and the larger community around you. Society needs more compassion.