According to a 2014 GEM report, only 37% women in Ireland have a positive view of their entrepreneurial capabilities. As the Co-founder and CEO of one of Ireland’s most successful software companies, Susan Spence is a well-established and seasoned entrepreneur, whose success and ambition certainly participate in changing this portrait of Irish entrepreneurship.
Spence reports that there were few opportunities, when she was still in school, for women who wanted to get involved in computer science. Those days are (almost) gone and Spence is currently at the head of a leading global provider with offices in Ireland, US, UK and Finland and a million users throughout the globe.
This position has earned her the prestigious Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year and Irish Exporter of the Year Awards. But before co-founding SoftCo in 1990, Spence also established herself as a senior manager at Hewlett Packard, McDonnell Douglas and Philips BV, as non-executive Director of CIE and as a member of the Government Enterprise Advisory Group.
Even though she is managing a global business, Spence remains deeply attached to her and her company’s Irish roots and SoftCo was announced as one of the major sponsors of the Ireland Women’s Hockey Team in June 2018.
Another field in which Spence naturally advocates for female talent is women-led businesses. She has therefore been involved as a volunteer mentor with Growth Ireland, an award-winning business development programme in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland and the Equality For Women Measure, dedicated to ambitious female entrepreneurs who want to achieve growth in a peer learning environment.
An advocator of women helping each other, Spence is a remarkable example of what women can achieve in high-raking, traditionally male-occupied fields and positions when they are empowered to do so. The times they are a-changing and we are glad to have women such as Spence to inspire and mentor the new generation of Irish female entrepreneurs.