This week Dublin plays host to the Global Ambassador's Programme - a joint initiative of Bank of America and US NGO Vital Voices aimed at female business leaders.

It will see eleven entrepreneurs - including three from Ireland - get a week of support from an international panel of mentors. Meanwhile the Global Forum event tomorrow will hear from a number of high profile names, including Martha Stewart and Cherie Blair.

According to Pamela Seagle, who is Bank of America's head of global women's programmes, the week aims to tackle the many problems that female entrepreneurs face.

"Essentially they talk about the need for effective growth and how to scale their businesses, often they're looking for the opportunity to expand beyond their own country of origin," she said. "Financial management is always key - we also help them develop a lot of negotiation and communication skills.

"These are the things that we see consistently that they have identified as things they really need help with."


Three of the entrepreneurs that will be receiving support this week are from Ireland - but others are from the likes of the US, India, Israel and South Africa. Despite that broad geographical spread, though, Ms Seagle says the same issues tend to crop up.

"There'll certainly be challenges based on legal constraints within countries and some cultural boundaries but in general we have found that it is very consistent," she said. "Some of the things that women face that men don't often face is that they're generally more risk-adverse. We see that consistently amongst cultures.

"Whether it's true or not there's definitely a perception of less access to finance, there's a greater fear of failure - and they also lack the ability to network quite as well."

To help address that each firm will be linked with a mentor, who will work with them through the week to try to address some of the issues they are dealing with. Ms Seagle says that, despite the tight timeframe, a lot can be achieved during that window - but they also encourage both sides to stay in contact after the programme has officially concluded.

"Our first programme was in Haiti in 2012 and there are still women working together from that programme," she said. "They can learn the skills and set some priorities but we also follow up with them."

Doing so also helps the programme organisers to ensure they are providing a useful service to those involved.

"The programme is actually measuring the impact that they're having; we'll talk to them at six months, one year, two years, three years out - we're still talking to see that we're creating the best and optimal programme and continually refining it to ensure that we do see these impacts beyond the one week that we're here," Ms Seagle said.

She said that those measurements look at hard metrics like turnover, staff numbers and growth - but also to softer goals relating to the firms' transformation.

"While they're selected for their business acumen we also look to make sure that they're creating impact in their communities and have this mentality of paying it forward," she said.

"So we ask what they've done to improve their community philanthropically, have they reached out to other women entrepreneurs and helped establish networks - so we're looking at a number of very hard and soft measurements and we've seen very good results the board." 

MORNING BRIEFS - House building activity weakened again in September, according to the latest Construction Purchasing Managers' Index from Ulster Bank. It shows that the sector continued to grow during the month, but at a slower pace than before. According to Ulster Bank, commercial construction activity grew, while there was a further rise in employment in the sector as a whole.

*** China's central bank has sought to add liquidity to the country's economy - by again cutting the amount its banks must hold in reserve. The cut will free up the equivalent of around €95 billion for Chinese lenders, which is seen as a move to support the economy in the face of an escalating trade war with the US.

*** Facebook paid £15.7m in tax in Britain last year - triple the amount paid in 2016. That was on the back of revenues of £1.2 billion, though the company's profits only rose slightly to £62.7m. The last accounts filed by its Irish subsidiary cover 2016 - when the firm paid €29.5m in tax on the back of €12.6 billion in revenues and a profit of €174.3m.