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[Featured image: Startup founders Ciara Judge and Emer Hickey explaining their company Germinaid Innovations to HRH The Princess Royal at the launch of Outbox Incubator in London]
A ground-breaking approach for young women who want to create Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) based companies launched in London on Tuesday. Run by the award-winning social enterprise, Stemettes, the ‘Outbox Incubator’ program will give teenage girls the funding and support to launch their own science or tech-based businesses. The program is in partnership with WISE whose patron is HRH The Princess Royal and is funded by The Salesforce Foundation.
It’s a European programme which will bring 45 girls, aged 11-22, together to spend six weeks learning and living under one roof in the Outbox Incubator house in London. 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.
Anne-Marie Imafidon is our guest on today’s podcast. She set up Stemettes 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 launch of the programme is the beginning of an EU-wide search for young female STEM entrepreneurs and talent to nominate themselves (or be nominated) to spend time in the Outbox Incubator house, free of charge. Stemettes are looking for participants that either already have a STEM-related idea, organisation, brand or product; or have a STEM talent which has been publicly recognised.
The Stemettes Outbox Incubator programme will run for six weeks from 27th July to 5th September 2015. It starts with a three-week ‘Germination’ period, followed by a public ‘Demo Day’ on 15th 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.
Currently, only 13 percent of those working in the UK’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths workforce are female, compared to nearly half in the wider workforce, despite their being a ‘skills gap’ in the industry. Anne-Marie is excited about the programme: “we are changing the course of history with this generation of girls.”
As an example, Anne Marie points to the County Cork schoolgirls who won the Google Global Science Fair last year with their project on the effect of bacteria on crop germination. Ciara Judge and Emer Hickey announced the launch of their company Germinaid Innovations at the event in London, and will be applying to participate in Outbox Incubator.
The closing date for applications to Outbox Incubator is 28 May 2015.