By @SimonCocking

Great interview with Mary Carty@marycarty  multi-talented entrepreneur, Co-Founder OutboxIncubator, Advisor @Stemettes, speaker. We caught up with her to talk about the latest exciting project she is involved in, the Outbox Incubator.

Outbox incubator what is it? How will it work?

Outbox @OutboxIncubator is the first incubator for young women focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in the world. Running as a 24/7 immersive programme across 6 weeks in the summer, the incubator will provide seed funding, intensive mentorship and support to talented girls aged 22 and under who have innovative business and technology ideas.

From July 27th to September 5th 2015, 110 young women from across the EU will take part in a series of events and activities aimed at supporting and inspiring girls with STEM interests and ideas. The incubator will be split into two phases.  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.

Who is the Outbox for?

Outbox is for girls aged 11 ­ 22 who have interests in the STEM fields and/or STEM ideas that they want to develop. We are focusing on girls who are about to enter second level right up to finishing their primary degree. It is important to give girls STEM experiences at an early age, to educate them about future careers and build their skills and knowledge.

Research shows that parents want safe careers for their daughters. Opportunities in STEM careers are not widely understood; many careers in these fields are predominantly associated with boys or are considered difficult. Our mission is to break down these barriers and give girls equal opportunities.

Why is it launching now?

The number of women in STEM is on the decline. Our goal is to ensure all girls will make informed decisions about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths so that women can be proportionally represented in these fields.

From our events, exhibitions and work in schools, the message is clear, young women need

  • STEM expertise, advice and training
  • Access to female role-models
  • First-hand experience working in STEM industries
  • Like-minded peers who are interested in STEM
  • To meet the organisations who are looking for talent
  • Inclusive opportunities to take part in STEM activities

This is why we launched Outbox Incubator, to address the gap and provide the next step for talented young women to launch their businesses or further their ideas.

Your background, how did you end up doing what do you now? 

As a female founder working in tech, it became clear to me that we have a skills shortage and a lack of women in tech. I was fortunate to get a place on Enterprise Ireland’s iGap (Internet Growth Acceleration Programme), when I was starting out. It made a huge difference to my career. I wanted to help the next generation gain confidence and access mentors and advisors to bring their businesses forward. I knew I had the skills and experience to develop a programme like this and I knew there was a huge need for it. I’m delighted to help make Outbox happen.

If we want to change the ratio of women in STEM and we are serious about it, the time to act is now. I’m very fortunate to work with the fantastic STEMettes team, they are an inspiring bunch. It has been a huge team effort to get this far. I’m very excited about the future. Outbox is changing the ratio of women in STEM in a real way.

Are you based in London or Dublin now. Pros and cons of working in both paces?

Right now, I divide my time between Dublin and London. I like the buzz of working in both cities and the opportunity to network and make connections. I’m fortunate to have a foot in each camp.

How was last 12 months, what went well?

The last 12 months have been pretty amazing. From concept to launch, Outbox Incubator has taken a year. It is thrilling to think from a drawing in my notebook, 110 young women will begin their journey next week. I have met so many inspirational girls with incredible ideas, the time is right for this programme. I’ve also been blown away by the amount of support we have received. Everyone we have approached has been unfailingly kind and supportive.

Plans for the future?

The plan is to grow Outbox. It’s a ground-breaking programme so there is bound to be much to learn. Most of all, we want the girls to bring the experience from Outbox back to their communities, their families and their friends; to tell the world that girls can do STEM and thrive.

You are active on twitter, is this part of how you do business, how has it helped you?

Twitter was hugely beneficial when it came to recruiting girls for Outbox. It is amazing what your network can do. So many people helped spread the word, contacted girls they knew or reached out to the team. Our audience is on Twitter, they are active and informed users. In a short space of time we had 160 applicants from 9 countries. Twitter and social media are very powerful.

Girls in tech, in Ireland CoderDojo is doing well, with a good % of girls involved. Will this help feed into your initiative?

We will have 30 Irish girls attending Outbox, this is a fantastic number and I am so proud of them. The projects they are working on are very diverse, from robotics and med-tech to mobile applications and culture blogs. The future of Irish women in tech is looking very bright.

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