Two female-led enterprises have won top prizes at an investor pitching session in DCU’s Ryan Academy. The event marked the culmination of Female High Fliers, a 13-week long accelerator programme which supports female entrepreneurs develop key business skills and grow their business. Winners were chosen by a network of investors and mentors in attendance.
Noelle O’Connor from Tan Organic won the title of Most Impressive Pitch and a €5,000 cash prize sponsored by Bank of Ireland. Tan Organic supplies high quality, organic self-tanning products and accessories to customers through a wide network of retail outlets in Ireland and most recently in the UK.
“Bank of Ireland is proud to support such innovative, game-changing, intelligent businesses and the female entrepreneurs leading them. The female high fliers programme serves as a very strong and necessary message, to society and economy, about the important role female entrepreneurs play in our society”, Lesley Tully, Innovation Manager, Bank of Ireland.
Ciara Donlon from Theya Lingerie was awarded the title of Best Innovative Start Up 2015 and also won a €5,000 cash prize. Theya Lingerie provides post-surgical lingerie to women who have had breast surgery or are undergoing radiotherapy treatment. The company was officially launched in February and currently sells its products online and through a number of independent retailers nationwide.
Eoghan Stack, CEO of DCU Ryan Academy, congratulated both winners and wished all participants every success.
“Congratulations to all of our business leaders on their impressive performances today and throughout the programme, particularly to our award winners.
Our Female High Fliers have worked extremely hard throughout the programme and with our support they are now fully equipped with the tools to further grow their businesses. We look forward to witnessing that development and wish them every success in the next stage of their journey.”
Nine start-ups from diverse sectors took part in Female High Fliers this year. The accelerator programme, supported by Enterprise Ireland, is aimed at female founders of Irish or international start-ups less than 5 years old. All companies must be led by women and are selected on the basis of their growth and export potential as well as team strength.
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