The Rubicon Centre, Ireland's leading business innovation hub today celebrated the graduation of nine entrepreneurs from its inaugural Exxcel programme for females in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) sectors at CIT’s Blackrock Castle Observatory.
The programme, which is one of the first of its kind in Ireland provided a platform for females with STEM based business ideas to complete their pre-launch preparation by using the talent and resources of the Rubicon Centre. The Rubicon and Enterprise Ireland, in partnership, are targeting this sector to increase activity in female STEM entrepreneurship for the future.
The six month part time Exxcel programme was launched last September and allowed participants the opportunity to validate their business ideas while remaining in the workforce prior to launch. The first output of graduates are targeting emerging markets in the Education, Agriculture, ICT and Healthcare sectors and the companies are based throughout the Munster region.
Programme Manager Kathleen Fitton who provided the daily support and encouragement to participants on the inaugural programme said “The calibre and commitment of our nine entrepreneurs has been exceptional. "The future is bright for these entrepreneurs who will inspire more women to enter the STEM sector which employs 118,000, with females accounting for 25% of these. With these statistics in mind, the Rubicon Centre will provide new opportunities in 2015 with its EXXCEL and New Frontiers Programme - the search has already begun for new talent."
Three companies have already secured initial funding with the help of Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Office’s in their areas. A number of participants have also secured sales and are working on developing new opportunities and looking forward to growing their businesses.
Addressing the graduates at the event, Patrice Fanning, Founder of Technically Write IT, recent Winner of the Cork Chamber’s Emerging Company of the Year Award and a Rubicon Alumni Company said “It is hugely encouraging to see these STEM Entrepreneurs showcase their projects using Innovation in both their products and delivery. It is great to see more female entrepreneurs rolling out their projects, adding to Ireland’s new generation of companies.
The Exxcel graduation and showcase event takes place alongside Innovation Week, a weeklong series of events taking place across Cork Institute of Technology. Innovation Week which runs from March 9-13th will see a number of special events organised throughout the campus including a service design workshop, graduate discussions, seminars, and competitions . Events are free and open to the public. For more details visit www.cit.ie/innovation
Colette Martin, Slurry Slate, Lori Moynihan, Sting-E-Bites, Rebecca Robinson, AllerAid, Kathleen Fitton, Programme Manager Exxcel Female Entrepreneurship programme, Miriam O'Connor, Wes Kids, Norma Dinneen, Bórua Farm, Deirdre mulgannon, Tea Tree Care andFiona Gough, Care Planner at the CIT/Rubicon's First Female EXXCEL STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) Graduation at CIT’s Blackrock Castle Observatory.
Pic Darragh Kane