Visa looking for Ireland’s female retail founders to enter She’s Next 2023 with five €10,000 grants available

Meredith Davis, co-founder, ReFunk Upcycling and Mandy Lamb, MD UK & Ireland, Visa

Women small business owners are invited to apply for the chance to receive one of five €10,000 grants and one year coaching from IFundWomen to help them grow their business



31 May 2023

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While Ireland now has the third-highest rate for early-stage female entrepreneurs in Europe*, in 2022 only 37% of high potential start-ups across Ireland were women-led**.

The disparity extends to the issue of confidence with a new Visa study with 250 Irish small business owners finding that 93% of men surveyed feel very or completely confident when it comes to evolving their business against 71% of women surveyed***. Similarly, 87% of Irish women small business owners surveyed said they were optimistic about the future of their business compared to 98% of men****.

To help close the entrepreneurship gap in Ireland, Visa, a global leader in digital payments, is bringing the She’s Next Grant Programme back to Ireland to further support women entrepreneurs to grow their business.

The programme is on its third consecutive year and will offer women small business owners the chance to receive one of five grants of €10,000 and one year of coaching with international business experts through IFundWomen, the go-to funding marketplace for women-owned businesses.

“It is encouraging to see Ireland helping pave the way for female entrepreneurs,” said Mandy Lamb, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Visa. “Women business leaders are absolutely integral to the future of entrepreneurship, and while important progress has been made, there’s still more to be done to address the challenges and obstacles that women-led businesses face.

“That’s why we are taking action, and we’re proud to be bringing She’s Next to Ireland for a third year,” she continued. “With this programme, we want to empower women by providing funding, expertise and coaching so they can achieve their growth aspirations and make a difference to society.

“We had such a positive reaction to the programme so far, with over 60% more entries last year. Our ten grant winners to date have been incredibly inspiring and it’s fantastic to see the emerging entrepreneurial talent in Ireland today.”

Applications are open

From today, women business leaders in Republic of Ireland are invited to apply for the chance to receive one of five grants of €10,000 and the coaching with IFundWomen. Due to the success of the previous years, two new categories are being introduced in 2023: in addition to awards for micro, small and early-stage businesses, the newly introduced categories are Changemakers and Innovation & Technology.

The Changemakers category is open to women that have set up a business to help address societal or economic challenges such as supporting communities or promoting sustainability practices, whilst the Innovation and Technology category will recognise fintechs, technology driven businesses and companies that have used technology to grow their business.

How to apply

The She’s Next Grant Programme, in partnership with IFundWomen, is open to small businesses and organisations in Republic of Ireland that are majority owned by women, operating across all industries and sectors, through a simple application process. It is designed to be an inclusive programme to appeal to a diverse range of applicants from different backgrounds. Applicants in previous years who were not selected as winners are invited to reapply.

To enter, applicants are asked to submit details about their business and online presence at The closing date is 21 July 2023. Terms and conditions apply.

*(Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2022: link)

**(Source: Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

***(Source: Visa Back to Business study, 2023. Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Wakefield Research among 250 Irish small business owners at companies with 100 employees or fewer and 500 Irish adults age 18+ between March 30th and April 13th 2023.

***(Source: Visa Back to Business study, 2023



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