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Migrant Women Showcase Huge Variety of Start-ups in Dublin

Today – Thursday (29.11.18) – an inspiring group of migrant women entrepreneurs showcase their start-up businesses in Dublin city centre.  Broadcaster and businesswoman Norah Casey, Áine Mulloy of GirlCrew, and social entrepreneur Deborah Somorin will speak at the event.

The featured businesses range from artisan vegan cheese production to pharmaceuticals, pet hostels and tech solutions. The entrepreneurs – originally from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Russia, China, the Philippines, Mauritius, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico – recently graduated from a tailored entrepreneurship programme run by DCU Ryan Academy in partnership with the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI).

Aoife Smith of MRCI said, “Migrant women entrepreneurs face huge barriers in Ireland, from restrictive immigration rules, the lack of access to Irish business networks to racism and discrimination.  For almost two decades, MRCI has been working with migrant women, many of whom ran successful businesses before coming to Ireland, but ended up on low paid employment here.”

Smith continued, “This unique project is about recognising their energy, creativity and talent.  It is about nurturing migrant women’s entrepreneurial drive and supporting their start up journey so they can focus on growing their businesses in Ireland.”

Niamh Collins of the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship said, “We have built up a strong reputation in running accelerator courses for female start-ups. When approached by MRCI, we were delighted to design a programme for twenty five Migrant Women Entrepreneurs.  The Academy designed this first of its kind programme to enhance their business and leadership skills, and to create a new network of like-minded female founders.”

Course participant Katja Rybakova, founder of NetTest – helping pharmaceutical companies choose better drug targets – said, “My background is in science. I had only the vaguest of idea of how to create and run a businesses. The course mentors provided great guidance on every aspect of a running a business – from financial planning to sales and marketing. I’ve now been able to successfully test the viability of my business idea and create a realistic business plan. It was inspiring to study alongside so many amazing women and share their passion for entrepreneurship.”



Show case participates available for interview

The event will be held today at 6pm – 9pm, Huckletree D2, 42 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, with colourful showcase of start-ups from migrant women entrepreneurs in Ireland – from pet hostels to tech solutions and from vegan cheese to pharmaceuticals.

 The featured start-up founders are all graduates of a tailored entrepreneurship programme for migrant women, the first of its kind in Ireland, run by the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs in partnership with Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI).

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland is a national organisation working to promote justice, empowerment and equality for migrants and their families

DCU Ryan Academy was set up in 2005 by the late Dr Tony Ryan (founder of Ryanair) with the aim of helping entrepreneurs at the start-up stage to plan their business ambition.

This project is part supported by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020 as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.



DCU Ryan Academy tackling challenges facing female-led start-ups

Access to funding and finance, confidence, technical skills and building sales strategies have all been cited as significant challenges for female-led start-ups who want to bring their business to the next level.

The DCU Ryan Academy, supported by Enterprise Ireland, is aiming to help ten female-led start-ups break through these barriers by providing an intensive 13-week business development, leadership and mentoring programme at its Citywest campus.

The Female High Fliers (FHF) programme has already supported over 75 start-ups since its inception in 2014 and is now inviting applications from female-led businesses to take part in the next cycle of the programme, commencing this September.

Applications are sought from start-ups less than five years old, who have the potential to generate over €1m in sales and create up to 10 jobs in less than four years.

Successful candidates will avail of access to a peer start-up founder network and to the DCU Ryan Academy network of experienced entrepreneurs and investors. They will take part in weekly tailored workshops and will be involved in the development and presentation of business plans as well as pitching to potential investors.

A survey of recent graduates of the Female High Fliers programme found that:

  • 54% of companies who were mentored on FHF indicated a growth in turnover
  • 64% increased their staff numbers
  • Market focus shifted from 34% to 57% export focus
  • 77% highlighted that they were now more confident in a business environment
  • 92% were more confident seeking finance and investment
  • 46% expressed an advancement of their technical skills

Niamh Collins, FHF Programme Director & DCU Ryan Academy Chief Operations Officer said;

“The Female High Fliers programme, with the support of Enterprise Ireland, was established to respond to the challenges facing female-led start-ups. We are pleased to have helped accelerate the growth of over 75 start-ups since 2014. However, challenges remain in tackling issues such as access to finance, developing the necessary technical skills, and showcasing the business with confidence.

The FHF programme is a crucial component in assisting the growth of female-led businesses across Ireland which are contributing enormously to the Irish economy. In 2017, 35% of all high-potential start-ups (HPSUs) backed by Enterprise Ireland, were women-led, a huge increase from 7% in 2011. There are fantastic opportunities for successful applicants to the programme and I encourage interested parties to submit before the closing date of September 4th.”

For further details, go to


About the Ryan Academy

Dublin City University is Ireland’s university of Transformation and Enterprise and the DCU Ryan Academy is a leader in entrepreneurial and innovation practice. The mission of the Ryan Academy is to promote and accelerate early stage entrepreneurship in Ireland through leading entrepreneur and start-up programmes and through events and activities which support broader entrepreneur and start-up ecosystem development.


Startup Digest – Dublin – Resources for the holidays

 Startup Digest – Dublin – Resources for the holidays
Startup Digest Dublin is a great resource for the Dublin startup ecosystem and this week they have shared useful links to resources for the holidays.
To signup to Startup Digest Dublin, click here:
Resources for the holidays –
Dublin Startup Digest – Weekly Newsletter – schedule of everything that’s happening in Dublin, opportunities coming up.
Techstars Communities – A snapshot of the startup ecosystem as captured by Techstars.
Dublin Globe – News website about startups and tech; started by the Dublin Startup Commissioner. Sign up to the weekly newsletter.
Tech Life Ireland – Website created by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland promoting Ireland as a place to work in tech. Handy platform to use when recruiting.
Fora – Website with topical news including about startups, business, tech. Sign up to the weekly newsletter.
TechIreland – Database of all the startups in Ireland, led by Niamh Bushnell former Startup Commissioner. Sign up to receive the weekly blog.
IrishTechCommunity Slack Channel – A group of friendly folks in the Irish Tech Community that hangout at Many channels devoted to multiple subjects, from design and development of tech, to conferences and diversity.
Frontline Ventures – Sign up for the quarterly newsletter here; and Check out all the resources in their library here – all worth a read.
Irish Tech Ecosystem Review 2016 – review of the Irish Tech Ecosystem in 2016. coworking review – List of coworking spaces in Ireland
Dublin Guide to hotdesking – Dublin Guide to hotdesking by Matt Cortland, previous Startup Digest Curator.
Cafe Guide – The Globe’s 11 Great Dublin Cafés (With Decent Wi-Fi) – published May 2015. Might need a new edition!
And a blast from the past, but well worth the watch – Paul Hayes Top 10 Guerilla Marketing on a ShoeString for Startups from Web Summit circa 2009. As commenter says “An Oldie, but a Goodie !”

Check out the calendar for the FULL LIST of events.

Start up Dublin Digest is curated by:
Liz McCarthy
Contact Liz McCarthy at

Stacey Connolly – Senior Account Executive @ Beachhut PR

Contact Stacey Connolly at

Follow @LizMacKerry and @StaceyConnolly

Migrants Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) article – the Sunday Times



An article by Sandra O’Connell was published recently in the Sunday Times around the topic of Migrant Entrepreneurship. The article mentions the link between Migrant Entrepreneurship and the DCU Ryan Academy who are running a programme at the beginning of next year centered around this topic.

If you would like to read the article, please Click Here (please note a subscription is needed)

Also, for more details on the Migrant Women’s Entrepreneurship programme run by the DCU Ryan Academy, please visit our site




Female High Fliers Featured on Today FM


Applications for 2018 are already open!

Dublin City University’s Female High Fliers accelerator is a prestigious 13-week programme supporting Ireland’s most promising female-led startups. The programme is run by the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs who are already taking applications for 2018. Programme Director and COO of the DCU Ryan Academy, Niamh Collins joined Conall in the studio to discuss the programme. She was also joined Ciara Garvin, Founder of Workjuggle and Graduate of the High Fliers.

The tailored course is supported by Enterprise Ireland and attracts on average 130 high caliber female entrepreneurs every year.

Female Entrepreneurs can register for the 2018 programme via the following link:

To Listen to Niamh’s interview on the Today FM’s Sunday Business Show: Click Here

High Fliers OPEN for Application

DCU calls on Ireland's most promising female entrepreneurs

Female High Fliers Accelerator 2018

Applications have opened for Dublin City University’s prestigious Female High Fliers accelerator. Run by the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs, the 13-week programme supports Ireland’s most promising female-led startups.

The tailored programme is supported by Enterprise Ireland and attracts on average 130 high calibre female entrepreneurs every year who are looking to develop leadership skills, fast track their business and ultimately achieve scale.

Successful Female High Flier graduates to date include: Ciara Garvin, founder, Work Juggle (2017); Pamela Newenham, co-founder, GirlCrew (2016); Mary O’Brien, co-founder, Video Doc (2016); and Ciara Donlon, founder and CEO, Theya Healthcare (2015).

This year, ten selected participants will gain access to a peer startup founder network and to the DCU Ryan Academy network of experienced entrepreneurs and investors. They will take part in weekly practical workshops delivered by a team that understands the particular needs and challenges facing their individual businesses. They will be challenged on their business plans and given an opportunity to pitch to potential investors with the aim of attracting potential funding, future customers and possible partnerships.

Encouraging female founders to get in touch, Niamh Collins, Programme Director & DCU Ryan Academy COO, said;

“Having designed  and delivered the programme for the past few years, we understand the specific challenges facing female-led startups in Ireland today and recognise the frequently under-supported opportunity they present. We have a proven track record in supporting these businesses achieve their objectives and deliver tangible results.

Furthermore, we have managed to create an alumni network so that each participant will have an opportunity to create powerful and long lasting relationships with like-minded people, with whom they can share valuable lessons along their start-up journey.”

The application process is open to female founders or co-founders of Irish innovative startups less than five years old. All companies must be female-led and participants will be selected based on their growth and export potential as well as the business idea and team strength.

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 23rd January 2018. For further information visit

Future Leaders’ Hackathon 2018

American Chamber Future Leaders’

Hackathon 2018

in partnership with the DCU Ryan Academy

8 – 10 February 2018

Following the success of #WorldofTalent Future Leaders Hackathon 2017, the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland is delighted to announce its return, from 8 – 10 February 2018. The Hackathon will gather 80 – 100 future leaders from the member companies to form multi-disciplinary cross-sector teams to hack a solution to the #WorldofTalent Challenge: To create an innovation, service or product that facilitates Ireland to be the best place to live and work.

The DCU Ryan Academy for entrepreneurs will be hosting this Hackathon in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, the Hackathon provides a fantastic opportunity for nominated future leaders to hothouse their leadership skills – communications, marketing, team-building, negotiating, pitching, presenting, to name a few – to network in a fun, yet competitive, environment and to create innovative solutions.

The multi-disciplinary, cross sector Hackathon teams will be formed from our members, ensuring that all participants have an opportunity to maximise engagement with other companies. A great opportunity for your next generation leaders – no matter their skills background as a Hackathon needs all kinds of participants (it is not just for techies!) – to participate in a great personal and professional development opportunity.

The Challenge:

To Create an Innovation, Service or Product that facilitates Ireland to be the Best Place to Live and Work

When:            Thursday 8 February – kicking off at 6pm – Saturday 10 February 2018

Where:           DCU St Patrick’s Campus, Drumcondra, Dublin 9

Who:               ‘Future Leaders’ – high potential individuals drawn from member companies of the American Chamber

How Many:     80 to 100 participants/75+ Companies

A range of skills backgrounds required including:  Communications, Marketing, Operations, Business Development, Engineering, Software/App/Web Developers, Talent/HR, Administration, Financial, and Legal.

*Please note that applications will only be accepted from members of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland.

Application deadline is 5pm on Friday 15 December 2017
Successful participants will be notified by Friday 12 January 2018.


Click Here

Building Better Futures: Migrant Women’s Entrepreneurship Training









‘Building Better Futures – Migrant Women’s Entrepreneurship’ is a training programme aimed at increasing migrant women’s entrepreneurial activity in Ireland. The course is being run by Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) with partners DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship and is free of charge for participants. The bespoke training programme delivered by DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs will provide 25 migrant women with an overview of key aspects of being a successful entrepreneur in Ireland. The modules delivered will provide technical knowledge and expertise for participants to start and grow their own businesses. Students will be supported and mentored by leading industry and education experts.

Modules include:

  • Setting up a Business in Ireland
  • Customer Journey and Customer Discovery
  • Sales Strategy and Process
  • Branding and Digital Marketing
  • Financial Planning
  • Communicating your Business
  • Mentorship Support

Who is this for?

The training is for migrant women entrepreneurs who:

  • have previous business experience either in Ireland or in their country of origin
  • and/or have a great start-up idea and need support to make it happen
  • and/or have an early stage start-up and need support to upscale and expand their business

Places on the training are limited to 25. The course is open to migrant women in Ireland. Thosefrom outside the EU must hold a valid Stamp 4 or be naturalised Irish citizens.

Restrictions due to funder requirements: women on jobseeker’s allowance/benefit are not eligible to apply for the course. Other social welfare payment recipients are eligible.

Deadline for applications: November 30th 2017.

What are the costs?

This course is fully funded by the ESF Gender Equality Fund under its Women’s Entrepreneurship funding stream 2017-2020.

The course is FREE for participants.

Where is it on?

DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs, 3013 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24, Ireland.

When is it on?

The training will run over 9 days in late Spring/Summer 2018, taking place on Saturdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Exact dates and timetables will be confirmed at a later date.

How do I apply?

Complete the Building Better Futures application form and email it to by Thursday November 30th 2017.

Questions? Contact Project Coordinator Aoife Smith at 5242397 or Jane Xavier at

Ireland’s first legal blockchain hackathon takes place in Dublin


Matheson was delighted to host Ireland’s first ever legal hackathon over the weekend, in partnership with Deloitte, IBM with the hackathon event run by DCU Ryan Academy.

Participants gathered in Matheson HQ for the two day event focusing on blockchain and the new business opportunities that is brings.  The initiative is part of Matheson’s wider Smart programme, launched in 2016, which is focused on looking for innovative ideas to improve client service, efficiencies and collaboration incorporating the latest themes such as fintech, AI and blockchain.

Michael Jackson, Managing Partner at Matheson, said –

“We were delighted to host Ireland’s first ever legal hackathon, another piece in the innovation jigsaw here at Matheson – innovation is at the core of what we do and ensures we stay ahead of the curve.  We recognise the need to change and embrace new technologies in order to provide the best possible level of service to our clients.”

Blockchain technology facilitates transactions and stores information using a secure, distributed ledger system. Its most famous application, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, allows users to send money directly to another user’s ‘wallet’ saving time and money. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise every industry that transacts goods and services, including law.

Speaking after the event, Rebecca Ryan Matheson partner and leader of Smart, the firm’s innovation initiative said –

“Following two very busy but rewarding days of ideas building and innovative discussions, our participants are walking away with valuable insights into the world of blockchain and the opportunities it brings for both the financial services and legal services sectors.  Shaping the future of business and revolutionising the way we communicate, collaborate and create, blockchain is all about how we organise trust in our systems and in our society.”

At the hackathon, attendees pitched blockchain ideas for further development, including a distributed energy grid, a qualification registry, and a smart contract system for housing rental. Teams voted on the best ideas and spent the hackathon fleshing them out and working on their implementation.  Ideas were judged on their creativity, innovation and feasibility.

Speakers included Lory Kehoe, leader of Deloitte’s Europe EMEA blockchain lab who explained the workings of blockchain, its features and the advantages it offers over existing technologies and systems while David Fisher, founder and CEO of Integra Ledger, provided insights and gave participants a hands-on, live experience of a blockchain specifically developed for the event.  The schedule also included Niall Dennehy, COO and co-founder of Aid:Tech, who gave a demonstration of Aid:Tech’s blockchain, which was recently used to successfully deliver aid to Syrian refugees in a transparent, secure way.

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