Supporting Ambitious Women to Exxcel in the STEM Sector

13th March 2019

Posted In: So In Demand

Paul Healy, Manager of the Rubicon Centre at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) recently accounced the appointment of Lucy O’Donoghue as Manager of the Exxcel programme. Lucy will spearhead the drive to find proactive female entrepreneurs with ambitious projects to participate in the 2019 programme.

Due to start shortly, Exxcel is a part-time programme aimed at busy female entrepreneurs who have a business idea with high growth and export potential, within the STEM sector (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

Commenting on her new role Lucy stated, “I’m keen to tap into our innovation culture and the quality of entrepreneurial ideas out there and looking forward to getting the 2019 programme up and running. It is the only one in Ireland dedicated to the STEM sector and this sets it apart from other programmes out there. “I would be delighted to receive expressions of interest from females who are keen to start their entrepreneurship journey and take that first step with our support. To register interest visit here>>

“Part funded by Enterprise Ireland and delivered over six months, it works around professional and busy life commitments, with participants undertaking modules on different topics over six Saturdays at the Rubicon Centre on CIT campus. Topics include business strategy and planning, finance and access to grants and loans for women, sales, branding, digital marketing and presentation skills” said Lucy.

“Participants are supported by on-going, one-to-one mentoring and coaching, with the opportunity to remain in full-time employment or education, whilst validating their business idea with their mentors and myself. By the time they successfully complete the programme each participant will have written an investor-ready business plan and learned how to professionally pitch their idea to possible investors”.

Past participant, Rose Fitzgerald of Pen-side Diagnostics said, “The Exxcel female entrepreneurship programme and support team at the Rubicon enabled me to develop Pen-side Diagnostics from idea, to be on the path for successful reality. The one-on-one sessions with experienced and expert mentors helped train and prepare me for entrepreneurship; honing skills in branding, marketing sales, and finance, among others. The personalised support gave me the encouragement I needed to progress from concept through the business development stages. The network of successful female founders was empowering and the comradery from fellow participants is overwhelming as we all embarked on our exciting, yet daunting entrepreneurial journey together”.

Recent graduates include Derval O’Rourke of, an online programme that creates food and fitness plans for clients, Breffni Allen of Habitus, a wearable device which has the ability to detect improper posture and Riona Flood of Smart Groom, an online website for grooms.

Lucy combines this part-time role with running her public relations and events management business in Cork. Prior to setting up her own business, Lucy was membership and development manager at Cork Chamber.