Thanks to an agreement with DCU Ryan Academy, from September, Talent Garden will be offering dedicated workspaces for four participants of the Female High Flyers programme for six months for the next three years.
Female High Fliers is an accelerator programme for Ireland’s best early-stage startups, specifically addressing the challenges facing female entrepreneurs. The programme aims to fast track your business development and leadership skills.
Since its launch in 2014, over 75 female founded startups (93 women in total) entrepreneurs have participated in the programme and have continued to achieve impressive results;
- 42 have received investments totalling €7 million
- Businesses have continued to expand, creating 176 jobs
- 27 are now exporting their products and/or services
We interviewed Niamh Collins, Chief Operations Officer at DCU Ryan Academy, to find out more about the programme, its participants and the unique qualities of female leadership.
What does the programme set out to achieve with the participants?
Female High Fliers is an accelerator programme for Ireland’s best early-stage startups, specifically addressing the challenges facing female entrepreneurs. The programme aims to fast track business development and leadership skills for the Founder and critically challenges their business plans and assumptions. It also helps Founders to identify more clearly the skills gaps they have in their business and how to address them.
Can you briefly describe the activities you do?
Participants attend weekly workshops, the morning workshops address business development; validating the business, customer journey, leadership skills and the afternoon is focused on particular areas of the business, such as sales, marketing, finance, funding, investment, pitching. We run Mentor sessions throughout the programme in the form of speed mentoring. This way the Founders get access to multiple experienced mentors in one sitting. The programme ends with a finale investor pitch to a panel of corporates, investors, entrepreneurs and funders. Throughout the programme guest founders and those working in startup supports i.e. Enterprise Ireland, VC’s, are invited in to share their insights and journeys with the founders. Peer to peer learning is a huge part of the High Fliers experience.
In what way do you think the participants to this programme will benefit from working inside the Talent Garden community?
Once you have a group of like-minded entrepreneurs/founders working in the same space, they will encourage each other on their journey and help each other to focus on the various stages of their business. Being in the Talent Garden community will also give them access to potential mentors/advisors who will be working with Talent Garden. They will also become each others ambassadors and connectors and share their own startup insights with others in the Talent Garden community.
What are, from your experience, the unique qualities of female leadership?
Strength, confidence, empathy, resilience, courage and adaptability; all are required when setting up your own business.
The strength and confidence, to leave perhaps a corporate life, with somewhat financial security, to start on a journey of not knowing if your new venture will succeed. The courage to keep persevering with your business, even when it appears that doors are closing in front of you. Resilience to manage what is thrown at you, each day, balancing home and family life, with the challenges of a new venture/running your business. Empathy when building your team. We’re not all made the same, so adapting and accepting to the ways others do things is important because you can’t be all things to everyone, you have to trust that the job will get done.
What defines a successful entrepreneur today?
I think a successful entrepreneur understands that they “don’t know it all” and are happy to take advice from those who have gone before and/or experts in certain areas and even from those working on their team. They are motivated to exceed and want to make a difference to their own life and to the lives of those working with them. They are willing to learn. They are ‘do-ers’, they don’t wait for someone else to make it happen for them. They take all opportunities given to them and work them to their advantage. They are not afraid – there are days they are but they face their fear. They have a strong belief in themselves and are good at finding niches, a solution to a problem.
The Ryan Academy is currently recruiting for Cycle 8 of the programme, which starts on September 25th 2018. For more information visit, ryanacademy.ie/portfolio/female-high-fliers/