IdeasLab at University of Galway helps create strategic pathway for females

IdeasLab, the entrepreneurial and innovation hub at University of Galway launched in December 2022, is now actively recruiting at the University of Galway. The programme aims to further develop female-focused initiatives with a focus on creativity as a central tenet. To ensure that the initiative is coherent, fit for purpose and student centric IdeasLab has through a consultative process designed a programme that will be reviewed by an expert advisory group.

The European Start Up Monitor reports that only 14.8% of founders are female, a statistic that is further supported by the GEM 2019 report which reports the lowest level of female involvement at the early stage of entrepreneurial activity at 6%. The EU report ‘Missing Entrepreneurs’ 2021 states that yes, we have a gender gap but we are also seeing a significant generational gap with 18–30 year-olds creating fewer new companies.

The CreateHer Advisory group is co-chaired by Dr. Natalie Walsh and Jenny Mullery IdeasLab at University of Galway and Dr. Ellen Roche, MIT and University of Galway Alumni, Dr. Helen McBreen, Atlantic Bridge and University of Galway Alumni, Dr. Vanessa Creaven, Co-Founder Spotlight Oral Care, Karen Gilhooly, Student, University of Galway, Carol Joyce and Anna Hosty, Co-owner Yourells/Co-Founder The Vitamin Hair Company ), Professor Patrick Lonergan, University of Galway, Elaine Mannion, General Manager, The Abbey Theatre and Lisa Regan MD of Lisa Regan Public Relations.

In addition to the advisory board, the University has partnered with WestBIC to deliver aspects of the programme. WestBIC provides tailored, high-level support to entrepreneurs to convert their innovative ideas into a commercial reality. They are supporting CreateHER with mentorship and host events and workshops during the programme

‘CreateHER has been designed to provide a unique environment for our female students to develop and nurture their entrepreneurial selves. We know that our student entrepreneurs will learn best from each other and fellow female entrepreneurs across the globe and have created a programme based on shared experiences, practical workshops and mentorship which will nurture the development of the next generation of female entrepreneurs. We are excited to onboard our first intake later this month and share their journeys and successes in the future’ Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development, University of Galway.

The Advisory Group brings together a cross section of industry experts with a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship, academia, and Multi Million Euro enterprises.

Co-owners of Yourells Hair Group and in business since 2005, Anna Hosty and Carol Joyce established their second business The Hair Vitamin Company in 2019 having created a hair vitamin supplement specifically designed for post pregnancy. They both have 25 years’ experience in the hairdressing industry and 20 years in management.

Ellen?Roche is currently an Associate Professor at the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She directs the Therapeutic Technology Design and Development Lab.? She completed her PhD at Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Dr. Roche was employed in the medical device industry for over five years as a research and development engineer and employs her understanding of the medical device industry and the regulatory pathways to medical device commercialization in her academic research.

At Atlantic Bridge Dr. Helen McBreen, manages early stage investing and leads the University Fund which focuses on investing in early stage deeptech companies built from world class research generated at leading research institutions and universities. The Fund has invested in over 40 deep tech companies that have raised over €350m in co-investment to date. The Fund ranks fourth within the world’s Top 5 collaborative University Funds and is a part of a growing trend of successful university funds located at international research hubs including Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford and Harvard.

Elaine Mannion is General Manager of the Abbey Theatre, and a graduate of the University of Galway. Elaine brings vast experience in leading on arts projects at Ireland’s national theatre, commercialising the arts and building customer service excellence models across the arts.

A past Johnson and Johnson Women in STEM2D Scholar in the University of Galway and former IdeasLab Intern, Karen Gillooly has previous experience as the Maths Officer in the WiSTEM Society inspiring females’ students to lead in their fields.

Patrick Lonergan is Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Galway and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He is Vice-Dean for Engagement and Student Recruitment at the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies.

Dr Vanessa Creaven is co-founder and CEO at Spotlight Oral Care. She studied dentistry in Trinity College Dublin and King’s College London and worked with Quay Dental Clinic in Galway prior to going full-time with Spotlight Oral Care. Now, she?is responsible for overseeing company organisation and ensuring core competencies within each department with a special focus on new product development and logistics.

CreateHER is funded by the Higher Education Authority and the European Institute of Technology(EIT ).

For more information on CreateHER log onto


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