In 2000 Paula Fitzsimons made a decision to concentrate her consultancy in areas related to entrepreneurship. This decision was made in light of a clear recognition of the benefits that flow from entrepreneurship for the wider economy and for the individual entrepreneur.
That same year, Paula identified the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) as offering the means to obtain unique research on the level of entrepreneurial activity within a county, the background and personal context of the entrepreneurs, the relevant social and cultural norms and the broader environment for entrepreneurship. The standard way in which the research was carried out meant that comparisons across countries were possible. At that stage the first GEM report had just been published and there were 10 countries involved in the research.
Nothing quite like it existed previously and Paula saw its potential to inform policy and the design and development of appropriate supports for entrepreneurs. With Paula Fitzsimons as national co-ordinator and with the support of what subsequently became the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship, Ireland became involved in GEM for the first time in 2000. There are now over 70 countries involved in annual GEM research cycles.
GEM research is now very well known within Ireland. It is frequently referred to by Ministers and other policy makers and is often quoted in the media. Moreover, it has found favour as a teaching tool within many of the third level colleges. Funding for GEM has been provided by Enterprise Ireland since 2001 with Forfás, Gender Equality Unit with the Department of Justice and Equality and AIB providing additional support in the past.
Informed by GEM research and with access to the expertise available across the GEM network of countries, Fitzsimons Consulting has positioned itself to the fore in the area of entrepreneurship, understanding the needs of entrepreneurs, the environment for entrepreneurship, policy and programme priorities, as well as academic research in the area.
Within Fitzsimons Consulting, Paula Fitzsimons, along with her team, specialises in undertaking consultancy assignments in the area of entrepreneurship, growth and sectoral development strategies for a range of public sector and private clients. To read more click here.
Paula Fitzsimons also designed and developed Going for Growth, an initiative to support women entrepreneurs focused on growth. Over 800 participants have taken part in Going for Growth. The initiative is supported and funded by Enterprise Ireland and by KPMG. To read more click here.
Paula developed a new initiative ACORNS, aimed at supporting early stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland. The initiative, now in its seventh cycle, is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. To read more, click here.
More recently, Fitzsimons Consulting has developed and delivered Back for Business, an initiative to support early stage entrepreneurs among returned Irish emigrants. This programme is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Paula Fitzsimons was also centrally involved in the design and development of Senior Enterprise, a transnational initiative, which focused on encouraging a greater involvement of those over 50 with enterprise. Paula was appointed Communication Manager and Fitzsimons Consulting provides project co-ordination. Senior Enterprise was supported by the EU though INTERREG IVB NWE and by its three partners – the Mid-East Regional Authority (Lead Partner), PRIME (a UK charity which helps people over the age of 50 get back into work through self-employment) and inno TSD (a private French company that specialises in strategic management consulting and manages the largest start-up business centre in Brittany). To read more click here.
Paula Fitzsimons is in demand as a speaker and expert facilitator and is frequently interviewed by journalists in connection with entrepreneurship and the projects with which she is associated. To read more click here.
The team in Fitzsimons Consulting strive for excellence in all that they do and are dedicated to making a real difference to entrepreneurs and those that support them.