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Hincks Hosts WeRin Project Regional Think Tank

Hincks Hosts WeRin Project Regional Think Tank

23 November, 2021

On November 23, the Hincks Centre hosted an online Regional Think Tank event for the Erasmus+ WeRin project. As an inclusive entrepreneurship event, all genders were welcome to join.


The focus was to replicate a recent international WeRin Think Tank and, within a regional context, to establish

  • what are the problems that create barriers to women’s entrepreneurship and
  • to propose possible solutions to develop a more gender inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Hosted by Dr Helen McGuirk, Head of the Hincks Centre, the importance of the project was reflected in the introductory speeches given by Dr. Breda Kenny, Head of the School of Business, MTU; George Bulman, Manager of the Rubicon Business Incubation Centre, and Prof. Sue Rossano-Rivera, Münster University of Applied Science and the leader of the WeRin research consortium.



MTU Lead Dr Sarah Davis provided a brief overview of the research and findings from a large body of research interviews from stakeholders within the region.

Three inspirational speakers provided glimpses into different aspects of women’s entrepreneurship within the region. First up was Vanessa Kiely O’Connor, a dairy farmer who is coordinating efforts to influence policy to support female farmers. Vanessa spoke eloquently about the need for policy supports in a traditionally male sector and how a women-only approach is needed to establish a small base or support for women entrepreneurs in the sector.

Then Claire Walsh, Enterprise Ireland, outlined current policy and provided an overview of the current status of women’s entrepreneurship in Ireland.



Finally, Fiona Edwards Murphy, presented her successful start-up called ApisProtect, a beehive monitoring technology provider. Vanessa explained her success at raising investment funding for her business.




The subsequent two discussion rooms provided the opportunity for participants to discuss either (a) early stage or (b) later stage issues in women’s entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education. Room A featured discussions related to getting started in entrepreneurship education, incubators and programmes. Room B featured conversations related to Business Growth, Finances and Industry sectoral biases. The main objective of this activity was to identify 2-3 key problems and discuss some possible solutions. Following an hour of robust discussion, participants reconvened to share a review of the key areas where improvements were suggested.

After a fast-moving three hours of learning and sharing knowledge, the WeRin event concluded with a presentation by the lead WeRin partner, Prof Sue Rossano-Rivera who highlighted how the knowledge that had been generated would provide input to the next steps in the WeRin Project.



WeRin are interested to hear what you think about making an inclusive ecosystem and we hope you will continue to support the project as we develop resources to help in inclusive entrepreneurship education.


To learn more about WeRin, visit the European Projects section of our website or visit If you have any queries, please contact


WeRin is an Erasmus+ co-funded project




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