10 inspiring entrepreneurs to follow during Outbox Incubator

28 Jul 2015

Outbox Incubator co-founder Anne-Marie Imafidon pictured at Inspirefest 2015. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Yesterday saw the official launch of the inaugural Outbox Incubator initiative, established to provide seed funding, intensive mentorship and support to talented young women with innovative business and technology ideas.

The Outbox Incubator initiative was begun by Stemettes – the brainchild of Mary Carty and Inspirefest 2015 speaker Anne-Marie Imafidon – and upholds that organisation’s aim of inspiring the next generation of women to pursue careers in science, tech, engineering and maths.

Based in London, Outbox Incubator – a world-first in start-up incubators – will run over the next six weeks and will bring together young women from the UK, Ireland and the EU.

Each week, 45 young women will participate in the initiative, and many will live in the Outbox Incubator house for those six weeks.

Over the course of the initiative, the young women will be supported as they learn about themselves as entrepreneurs, learn the mechanics of running a business, refine their business models, produce prototypes and take their new businesses live.

In honour of Outbox Incubator’s first few days in the world, we’ve put together a list of Twitter accounts to follow for the lowdown on #outboxin.

As Outbox participants could select when they wanted to attend, the following people may not be tweeting about Outbox Incubator for the full six weeks.

Anne-Marie Imafidon (@aimafadon)

Anne-Marie Imafidon was a veritable child genius.

According to her blog, at the age of 10, Imafidon earned GCSEs (exams typically taken at the age of 16) in maths and ICT. A scant year later, she became the youngest girl ever to pass the A-level computing exam.

The title remains hers.

At the age of 20, Imafidon achieved a Master’s in Mathematics and Computer Science at Oxford, making her one of the youngest people to ever do so.

Now, aged just 25, Imafidon is an advocate for women in STEM. In 2012, she founded Stemettes to help combat the lack of women in STEM careers, and from Stemettes was born Outbox Incubator.

Imafidon’s Twitter feed is a repository of industry updates and news from STEM events.

Mary Carty (@marycarty)

Mary Carty is an entrepreneur with more than 10 years’ experience working with international companies and arts organisations. Carty is a Stemettes adviser and co-founder of Outbox Incubator. While her Twitter feed is currently dominated pretty heavily by Outbox Incubator news – a reason to follow her in itself – Carty regularly tweets about the tech industry’s approach to diversity, and offers advice on careers and marketing.

Claire O’Connell (@claireoconnell)

With a PhD in cell biology and a Master’s in science communication, Claire O’Connell is someone who can speak with authority on STEM.

O’Connell has now moved away from a direct role in science, and writes for The Irish Times and (full disclosure) Siliconrepublic.com on a regular basis.

O’Connell’s daughter, the remarkable Niamh Scanlon, is a participant at Outbox Incubator, and O’Connell herself will be leading a session at the house over the next six weeks.

Follow O’Connell on Twitter for reports from fun STEM events taking place around Ireland.

Ciara Judge (@CiaraFudgyJudgy)

Ciara Judge has had quite the summer.

After finishing her fifth year exams, Judge had a tiny bit of down time before heading over to Wales for the DO Lectures – a self-described cross between a festival and a conference – bringing together the DO-ers of the world.

Then she boarded a plane for the US and MIT Launch, a month-long programme at the renowned college. During this time, she travelled around the east coast promoting Purchase Mate, the new company of which she is the CEO.

Now, after a short – doubtless much-needed – break at home, Judge is at Outbox Incubator in London.

And, before this year, Judge was hardly slacking. Along with teammates Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow, Judge won the overall prize at the 2013 BT Young Scientist Exhibition, as well as clinching the top prize in their category at the 2014 Google Science Fair, for their project exploring how Rhizobium bacteria can increase seed germination and improve crop yield.

Inspirefest 2015 speaker Hickey, who is also taking part in Outbox Incubator, and Judge have since launched Germinaid Innovations, an agricultural solutions company of which Judge is director.

Want to be the first to hear about what Judge is planning next? Follow her on Twitter for updates on her busy schedule, her innovations and her involvement with STEM, as well as a healthy dose of self-deprecation and humour.

Elle Loughran (@frizzyroselle)

A past competitor at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition and Sentinus NI Young Innovators, Elle Loughran is a biomed, nanotech and ukulele enthusiast.

Loughran also has a flair for writing, maintaining a blog detailing her experiences and involvement in STEM.

This spread of interests certainly comes across in Loughran’s Twitter feed, which ranges in content from tweets about literature to those about humour to those about her hectic life meeting some of the top names in STEM.

Catrina Carrigan (@CNiCharragain)

Catrina Carrigan has been involved with STEM since joining CoderDojo DCU in 2012.

Her continued interest in STEM and STEM development was ensured by the success of a project she created for CoderDojo’s Coolest Projects.

The project, an app called Piano Rock Star, was selected by UK educators as a tool to help teenagers learn how to code. It was developed by Intel and CoderDojo, and is now a GCSE short course.

Carrigan has since gone on to work on a business continuity app for hospitals and a social network for studying.

Her Twitter features science and tech news, and updates on her busy life, with a little geeky humour thrown in for good measure.

Vanessa Greene (@dalekmad)

Vanessa Greene, who hails from Dublin, is a self-described ‘full-time nerd’.

Passionate about music, media, photography and tech, Greene blogs and tweets her way through life.

She is a Scratch mentor at CoderDojo DCU – another passion is encouraging children to code – and teaches front-end web design at her secondary school.

She is a proponent of technology and the internet of things.

Greene’s Twitter feed is a touch more personal than those of others here, but her love of tech still manages to sneak through into her regular updates.

Edel Browne (@EdelBrownie)

Edel Browne is a founding member of the Irish Digital Youth Council (DYC).

Now a student at NUI Galway, Browne has developed Free Feet – a project she designed initially for the BT Young Scientist Exhibition – and turned it into a fully-fledged company.

Free Feet (@freemyfeet) is a laser device that Parkinson’s sufferers can attach to the side of a shoe to help combat gait freezing.

Follow Browne on Twitter for news about entrepreneurship and tech, and a smattering of pop culture.

Caitlin Donnelly (@CaitlinD7)

A member of the Irish Digital Youth Council, Caitlin Donnelly is a passionate about giving students a voice in STEM education.

Speaking to Siliconrepublic.com earlier this year, Donnelly spoke about the importance of allowing students – who she rightly said were the future – to be heard when it comes to the development of STEM education.

Donnelly is also involved with the Youth Media Team (YMT), a group of teens who attend and report on educational conferences and events throughout Ireland.

Donnelly tweets most often about her professional life, and her Twitter feed is filled with talk of the DYC, YMT and Outbox Incubator, although a few more personal tweets do sneak in under the radar.

Aoife Kearins (@trebletotheclef)

Aoife Kearins is passionate about a lot of things, though featuring most highly on the list are probably music and STEM.

A blogger in her spare time, Kearins writes about pop-punk and pop-rock. The rest of the time, it’s all about tech.

A member of CoderDojo Sligo, Kearins displays an avid interest in STEM on her Twitter feed, talking web development and coding in almost the same breath as she talks about Blink-182 and Taylor Swift.

Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Intel, Eircom, Fidelity Investments, ESB, Accenture and CoderDojo.

Kirsty Tobin was careers editor at Silicon Republic