Ireland’s “generous” maternity and paternity leave policy have been cited by Dell’s Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index as a “major contributing factor” for placing Dublin “well above the median when it comes to women’s capital base”.
However, Dublin’s high cost of living, high cost of childcare and dependency on family support as well as access to affordable Internet and mobile plans were identified as barriers for women, who make up less than 20pc of Enterprise Ireland’s high growth potential startup businesses.
“The high cost of living puts added pressure on low wage workers, many of whom are women,” said the report released at Dell’s 8th annual Woman’s Entrepreneur network (DWEN) in San Francisco.
“However, recent initiatives such as Dublin’s Living Wage Initiative and its increase in the minimum wage have helped to mitigate this”.
It is the first time that any entrepreneurs, from the island of Ireland, have been invited to attend the prestigious business summit.
Kate Hyde, managing director of tech company Glencove, the Cork firm behind Henparty.ie and a host of bespoke travel tech software solutions, is among the first Irish entrepreneurs invited to DWEN.
Julie Brien and Dr Roisin Molloy, co-founders of Trimedika, the Belfast-based medical-device firm, are also attending DWEN whose director is Dublin based Dell executive Ingrid Devin.
Dell’s WE Cities index is the only global, gender-specific index that looks at a city’s ability to attract and foster growth of women-owned firms.
Cities were ranked on five characteristics: capital, technology, talent, culture and markets.
New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area and London were ranked the top three cities for high-potential women entrepreneurs, followed by Boston and Stockholm.
Dublin ranked 34th whilst Belfast was ranked 36th.
Being home to 3 top-ranked global universities, Trinity College Dublin, UCD and DCU – as well as seven accredited business schools – boosted Dublin’s talent score in accessing qualified personnel.
Collaborative efforts between Dublin’s educational institutions and local entrepreneurship centres, including those supported by Enterprise Ireland, helped boost the availability of technology training organisations for women.
“It is the world’s best interest that women entrepreneurs thrive,” said Elizabeth Gore, entrepreneur-in-residence at Dell.
“The WE Cities Index can be used as a diagnostic tool to help ensure that lawmakers re enabling women entrepreneurs to succeed. Each of the cities on the list can learn from one another and encourage political change to attract and support women entrepreneurs”.
The study found that there is a “dramatic uplift” in a city’s economic prospects once impediments to female entrepreneurship are removed.
The research found that access to capital is the number one challenge that women entrepreneurs face. It also found that cultural norms and their policy implications put “serious binds” on female entrepreneurs.
Networks were identified as key for female entrepreneurs including robust ecosystems with incubators, accelerators and mentors. Talent, both in terms of the entrepreneur’s own talent, including education a don experience, and having access to skilled staff also resonated as highly important.
Topics of discussion at the two day conference include the changing US and global political landscape, alternative finance methods and emerging technology trends, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality and cloud computing.