The Irish SME Association has elected Margaret O'Rourke Doherty as the new Chair of the National Council for the 2021-2023 term.

Margaret is the CEO of the Hair and Beauty Industry Confederation (HABIC) and is the 17th Chair of ISME and the second female chair of the group.

ISME said the new Council elected today is the first with a female majority since its foundation in 1993 and is comprised of 56% female and 44% male members.

Margaret O'Rourke Doherty said she was delighted and proud to be elected as ISME Chair for the 2021-2023 term, having served as Vice-Chair for the past two years.

She said that today also marks a significant day for ISME, as for the first time ever the National Council has a female majority, with 15 women on the Council out of 27 members.

"Female entrepreneurs and business owners are not often given due credit for the high number of businesses they run in the SME sector," Ms O'Rourke Doherty said.

"Our new Council also reflects sectoral diversity, including service businesses, manufacturing, food, retail and technology," she added.

With over 10,500 members nationwide, ISME's new Council members are elected owner/managers of SMEs from all over Ireland and from a variety of sectors.

46% of members are based in Dublin, with 19% in the Midlands, 11% in both the North East and South East, 7% in both the North West and South West and 4% in the South of the country.