Applications have opened today for the 'Going for Growth' scheme, a business development initiative for female entrepreneurs.

This is the 15th year of the programme, which is supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG.

It aims to help female entrepreneurs achieve their growth ambitions.

More than 850 businesswomen have taken part since its inception, including Aimee Connolly of Sculpted by Aimee; Áine Kerr of Kinzen and Jennifer Corley of Equitrace.

Up to 60 places will be available on the scheme this year and organisers are seeking applications from female entrepreneurs across all sectors who are strongly focused on growth.

The programme brings together female entrepreneurs for monthly peer-to-peer roundtable discussions.

The deadline for applications is Friday, November 18.

"Increasing support for ambitious female entrepreneurship is a key national priority and Enterprise Ireland is proud to support Going for Growth," said Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.

"I believe our close partnership with Going for Growth provides excellent support to our incredible women entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses and achieving global ambition.

"Strong peer groups, wonderful Lead Entrepreneurs, excellent formal learning opportunities and frameworks for business growth make this a 'must consider' for anyone seeking to accelerate her business," he added.

15 years ago, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research clearly showed that men were more ambitious than women in respect of their new businesses – 5.5 times as many men had growth aspirations.

The most recently published GEM research shows there is an increasing number of women starting businesses, about 1,400 every month.

The data shows that the proportion of those with growth aspirations has significantly increased; this ratio now stands at 2.5:1, with an increasing aspiration for growth evident among female entrepreneurs.