Stemettes’ Outbox Incubator to build start-ups for teen girls

29 Apr 2015

Pictured: Irish teen STEM heroes Ciara Judge and Emer Hickey with Britain's Princess Anne

Teenage girls who want to create their own science and tech start-ups have been given a welcome boost in the form of the Stemettes Outbox Incubator.

Aimed at girls aged between 11 and 22, the ground-breaking programme will help young women who want to create science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) companies to do so.

Stemettes founder Anne-Marie Imafidon, said: “I am incredibly excited about this partnership and this programme. We are changing the course of history with this generation of girls.

Imafidon, along with Irish teens and ‘stemettes’ Ciara Judge and Emer Hickey of Germinaid Innovations, who presented at the launch of the application process, will be among a strong line-up of speakers at Inspirefest 2015, Silicon Republic’s unique science and technology event running between 18 and 20 June. Judge and Hickey were last year named on Time‘s list of the 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014.

The program is in partnership with WISE, whose patron is Britain’s Princess Anne and is funded by the Saleaderslesforce Foundation.

The 45 girls who are selected will spend six weeks learning and living together under one roof in the Outbox Incubator house. There they will be joined by experienced mentors to find out about running a business, developing a product and getting funding to take their ideas to market.

The Stemettes Outbox Incubator programme will run for six weeks from 27 July to 5 September 2015. It starts with a three-week ‘Germination’ period, followed by a public ‘Demo Day’ on 15 August and culminates with a three-week ‘Incubation’ period.

The demo day will see angels and mentors pledging money, time and support to girls on the programme.

Few women in STEM careers despite industry-wide skills gap

Currently, only 13pc of those working in the UK’s STEM workforce are female, compared to nearly half in the wider workforce, despite there being a skills gap in the industry.

Stemettes was set up by Imafidon in 2013 to inspire the next generation of girls into technology careers and in two years has reached 3,000 girls around the UK via public events, school workshops and schemes hosted in industry.

“The UK technology industry is facing a well-documented skills shortage, yet the number of women studying computer science at university is at an all-time low,” said Salesforce area vice-president Melissa Di Donato.

“This ground-breaking programme will make a real difference when it comes to encouraging girls to consider a career in technology — it is opening up a tangible career path they can aspire to. It’s so rewarding to be involved in mentoring these girls, I strongly encourage others to do so too.”

WISE will be supporting the project by providing mentors from its network of highly-skilled and inspirational female STEM members.

“The Outbox Incubator is an amazing way to nurture future STEM stars and we are delighted to be involved with Stemettes and the girls benefitting from this unique experience,” said Sarah Shaw, WISE communications director.

“Showcasing these talented young women to our Royal Patron, HRH The Princess Royal and the WISE network will help to raise their profiles and attract well deserved attention, support and investment for their ideas and talent. We look forward to watching them grow.”

Applications for the Outbox Incubator have been open since 28 April 2015 via For more information, email

Ciara Judge and Emer Hickey of Germinaid Innovations and Ann-Marie Imafidon of Stemettes will be speaking at Inspirefest 2015Silicon Republic’s unique international sci-tech event running 18-20 June in Dublin, connecting professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity. Buy your early bird tickets now! You don’t want to miss this!

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years