DCU Ryan Academy calls for applications from women-led start-ups

23 Aug 2018

Image: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock

The DCU Ryan Academy is seeking women-led start-ups for its Female High Fliers programme.

Every start-up team faces challenges, obstacles and problems as time passes, but start-ups led by women encounter these on a more intense level. It is well documented that women in tech and business have more difficulty securing funding.

The Dublin City University (DCU) Ryan Academy wants to help women-led businesses thrive. The academy has announced that its Female High Fliers (FHF) programme is seeking applicants, with 10 places up for grabs.

Helping women in tech and business

Since it began in 2014, the FHF has lent its support to more than 75 start-ups, and the next cycle of the programme is kicking off this September.

To apply, start-ups must be less than five years old, with the potential to generate more than €1m in sales. They must also be able to create up to 10 jobs in less than four years.

If successful, candidates can access a peer start-up founder network, as well as the expertise of experienced entrepreneurs and investors of the DCU Ryan Academy.

Over the 13-week programme, start-up teams will take part in weekly tailored workshops, potential investor pitches and business plan presentations.

Positive results

A recent survey of FHF graduates found that 54pc of companies mentored indicated a growth in turnover, while 64pc of the start-ups’ staff increased.

More than three-quarters (77pc) said they were more confident in a business environment and a whopping 92pc said they felt more secure when seeking investment and finance. 46pc of the start-ups said their technical skills improved.

Chief operations officer at DCU Ryan Academy and programme director at FHF, Niamh Collins, said that some challenges remain. These include “access to finance, developing the necessary technical skills and showcasing the business with confidence”.

She added: “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, 35pc of all high-potential start-ups (HPSUs) backed by Enterprise Ireland were women-led, a huge increase from 7pc in 2011.”

Mary O’Brien, co-founder of Video Doc and former FHF participant, said of the programme: “I wish I had had this knowledge and experience at an earlier stage because it was really fantastic.”

Applications are open until 4 September.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects