‘Let’s make this happen’: Mary Carty on Outbox Incubator in Dublin

15 Jul 2016

Mary Carty on stage at Inspirefest. Photo via Conor McCabe Photography

At Inspirefest 2016, Mary Carty announced that the second Outbox Incubator for girls aged 11 to 22 would be held in Dublin.

When you get on-stage at Inspirefest, it’s a good spot to make a big announcement – and that is just what Mary Carty did during her talk this year. Her big news was that Outbox Incubator will be coming to Dublin.

It made good sense to declare at Inspirefest that the next Outbox will take place in Dublin, according to Carty, who is the co-founder of the initiative and played an integral part in planning and running the inaugural event in London last summer.

The inaugural run saw more than 100 young women aged between 11 and 22 take up residence in a large house and learn about science, technology, engineering, maths, communications, business and how to work as a team. Speakers and mentors visited the house for talks and workshops, there were weekly outings to companies, and many of the participants got to pitch their business ideas to a room full of potential investors.

Carty, who co-founded Outbox Incubator with entrepreneur Anne-Marie Imafidon of Stemettes, was at the London house for much of the six weeks. It was a case of all hands on deck for the team of Stemettes volunteers, and the support of the wider community was vital, recalled Carty.

“We have had so much goodwill and help from everyone. I was floored by how people supported us and invested trust in us to get this up and running,” she said. “And since making the announcement at Inspirefest about the Dublin Outbox, I have been floored again at the amount of people contacting us and offering support and help.”

Community for opportunity

Among the Outbox London participants (known as ‘OB execs’), around 30pc were from Ireland, and some were on-stage at Inspirefest 2016 to talk about their experiences as young female entrepreneurs.

One was 17-year-old Elle Loughran, who sees Outbox as a “game-changer”. Loughran, who in 2015 won a special award at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition from Intellectual Ventures and third prize for individual projects in the senior Chemical category, told Siliconrepublic.com that Outbox is, first and foremost, a community.

“Whether we were learning from a guest speaker about crowdfunding, creating a business plan or playing ukulele ‪at 1am, there was always this great sense that we were all in it together,” she said. “So I think the main impact Outbox had on me was making me a member of this tight-knit community of ambitious, driven, smart girls who can collaborate and count on each other for advice when we need it.”

Loughran, who is currently a member of of the British Science Association’s CREST Youth Panel, described how she and other OB execs now have dozens of friends living in different countries thanks to their time in London.

“If you go to almost any STEM event you’re bound to find a fellow OB exec,” she said. “As well as the community, thanks to Outbox and the Stemettes, we’ve had loads of opportunities to get ourselves out there. For example, I spoke on a Stemettes panel in a bank in November, which was my first experience on a panel.”

Dublin calling for Outbox Incubator

Loughran is happy to see Outbox take place in Dublin because it could offer more opportunities for Irish participants, and it will also enable international participants to experience the city. “Dublin is full of interesting tech companies for the OB execs to visit,” she said.

Carty, who is the executive director of Blackstone Launchpad in NUI Galway, echoed the importance of the engagement, and said the summer programme will happen in 2017 at the earliest. “This is a massive opportunity for Dublin and Ireland,” she said. “We need a network of sponsors and speakers and volunteers, so let’s make it happen.”

If you are interested in contacting the Outbox organisers, please email stemettes@gmail.com.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM.


Dr Claire O’Connell is a scientist-turned-writer with a PhD in cell biology and a master’s in science communication