Lisa Harlow, Intel; Jean O'Sullivan, Enterprise Ireland, Ann Horan, CEO, Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs, Claire Reynolds, Vodafone Ireland and Jordan Campbell, The Ireland Funds launch the new Ryan Academy High Fliers programme for female entrepreneurs at Weston Executive Airport. Photo: MAXWELLS

DCU seeking high-flying women

DCU Ryan Academy for entrepreneurs has issued a call to early-stage, women-led business start-ups to apply to their new Female Propeller for High Fliers accelerator.  Female Propeller will select up to 10 start-ups to help fast-track their businesses, develop leadership skills, achieve scale and create employment.

The DCU Ryan Academy team has identified a number of challenges specific to female entrepreneurs – lack of role models, low self-confidence, low levels of risk-taking, lack of technical expertise and limited access to appropriate networking opportunities.  Female Propeller has been developed in response to these issues and provides a range of supports specifically targeted at women-owned business, including training, mentoring, financial support and networking. 

Launching Female Propeller, Ann Horan, CEO of DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs said: “This programme aims to fast track female entrepreneurs, their leadership skills and their businesses.  To do this we must give them a better understanding of themselves and the skills needed to achieve their full potential plus the knowledge and tools to create exceptional business models. They must understand the fundamental building blocks that are essential to creating a winning business.  Here at DCU Ryan Academy, we will draw on our track record in running the successful Propeller accelerator and our extensive network of contacts who are keen to support our initiatives for female founders.”

The successful finalist, the Female Propeller for High Fliers Company 2014, will win a 5-day trip to Silicon Valley for an invaluable opportunity for networking and business development opportunities, meeting with investors and the start-up community.  In addition to receiving a grant of €2500, a range of other prizes such as free legal services will be available for participants to win during the programme and participants will have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas on Demo Day in June 2014 to potential investors.

The Female Propeller for High Fliers is open to female founders of Irish or international start-ups less than 5 years old.  All companies must be led by women and will be selected on the basis of their growth and export potential as well as team strength.   Each of the 10 finalists will take part in a 13 week upskilling programme and will also be allocated a mentor matched to their specific needs.

Applications should be submitted at no later than Friday 24th January 2014.  For further information, visit, email or call Niamh Collins at +353 1 700 6786.