Inspirefest launches diversity ticket bursary with Silicon Valley Bank


29 Apr 2019917 Views

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Delegates at Inspirefest 2018. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

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With the support of Silicon Valley Bank, 25 lucky applicants from underrepresented groups in STEM will have the chance to attend the sci-tech event of the year.

In a bid to ensure that underrepresented researchers and entrepreneurs in the STEM and creative fields get access to the brightest minds, Inspirefest has launched a special diversity bursary with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) for 25 lucky applicants this year.

The Inspirefest Diversity Tickets programme, which is sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank, is aimed at directly supporting people from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM or the creative sectors, particularly young entrepreneurs and researchers starting out.

“Ensuring we have adequate representation in the tech start-up space is a commitment we at Silicon Valley Bank share with Inspirefest,” said Claire Lee, head of early-stage banking at SVB. “We are pleased to offer this bursary to STEM enthusiasts and budding entrepreneurs that otherwise might not get access to the wonderful community that Inspirefest convenes.”

Inspirefest founder Ann O’Dea added: “We don’t claim to be perfect, but each year we try to learn more and make Inspirefest ever more inclusive.

“We believe that the world of STEM should be accessible to everyone, and we’re really grateful to Silicon Valley Bank, and in particular to Claire Lee, for backing this initiative in 2019.”

Inspirefest has also added other new features in 2019, such as a nursing room for those bringing a baby and, with the help of AsIAm.ie, a quiet room for autistic attendees who wish to get away from the bustle. The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre is also fully accessible, and the event intends to have ISL (Irish Sign Language) interpreters on the main stage on both days. Watch out for more announcements on the event’s social accounts.

How do I apply for a Diversity Ticket?

In order to make the selection process as fair as possible, Inspirefest organisers are asking for applicants to send a short 100-word email with ‘SVB Diversity Ticket Bursary’ in the subject line to info@inspirefest.com by Monday 13 May 2019, explaining why they deserve to be considered for a full-access ticket to Inspirefest on 16 and 17 May in Dublin.

A proven interest in the STEM and creative fields is a plus, the organisers said, as they believe these are the people who will benefit the most from the world-class line-up, which includes biotechnologist and Theranos whistleblower Erika Cheung; VP of global health at Johnson & Johnson, Cat Oyler; senior VP and GM of security analytics and research at Symantec, Stephen Trilling; tech entrepreneur Anil Dash; author of Inferior and Superior, Angela Saini; and the ‘Jane Bond of innovation’, Nilofer Merchant.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event celebrating the point where science, technology and the arts collide. Tickets for Inspirefest 2019 are available now.

Updated, 6.50pm, 8 May 2019: This article was updated in order to extend the deadline for applications.

Updated, 12.16pm, 10 May 2019: This article was updated to reflect changes to the Inspirefest speaker line-up.