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Inside Outbox Incubator: Meet The Startups Built by Girls in STEM - Part 1

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 29/10/2015 Anne Ravanona

We need more girls in STEM and more women entrepreneurs to start tech and science companies.
Outbox Incubator, also affectionately known as the" X-men house for Girls" is the first incubator for Girls in STEM, launched by Mary Carty and Anne-Marie Imafidon this summer in London.
Related article: Outbox Incubator: Girls in STEM, A New Breed of Entrepreneurs
In my next series of articles, I will introduce you to 10 companies (2 startups at a time), created by the 115 girls who went through this innovative 6 week programme. To date, an impressive 35 companies have been launched, from a variety of sectors. Enough said. Now meet 2 founders of 4Wards and Find My Feet, in their own words, here:
2015-10-29-1446146119-8941618-4Wardz.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-29-1446146119-8941618-4Wardz.jpg Company name: 4WardsFounder: HannahAge: 20From: London
What inspired your business idea?
I spend a lot of time in hospital due to chronic illness. I'm now in adult units and on wards with patients much older than me. I often feel isolated and unable to relate to those around me. My own experiences are what really inspired me to get up and change this for others!
How does it work?
Through the use of a 'virtual ward', young patients with long-term or life-limiting illnesses can communicate and share experiences. 4Wards also provides a range of products to help make their stay in hospital more comfortable. Making patients feel normal in a not so normal situation.
How will you know you have succeeded?
Everything I achieve I see as succeeding - success will be different for everyone. For me success is about working hard and knowing that I have given it 110% at all times. I know I have truly done it when I can move out & pay my bills!
What advice would you give a young female founder?

"Just go for it! If you have an idea that you truly believe in with all your heart, take it and run with it. Follow your gut instinct. Build your network and never let anyone tell you that your idea isn't valid or that you can't do it."
What are your top three takeaways from Outbox Incubator?
The amazing girls I have met & networking opportunities. Outbox has given me opportunities I could have only ever dreamed of. Demo Day pushed me outside my comfort zone. I have learned life-long skills & wonderful memories that I will remember for the rest of my life!
2015-10-29-1446146418-7387953-FreeFeet.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-29-1446146418-7387953-FreeFeet.jpg Company name: Free Feet
Founder: Edel
Age: 20
From: Galway, Ireland.
What inspired your business idea?
The inspiration for Free Feet came when I was speaking to my brother, who is a Parkinson's disease nurse, at our kitchen table. Every hour, someone in the UK is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Approximately 72% suffer from gait freezing, the symptom we are currently dealing with. It being such a huge problem, we felt we should do our best to develop a solution.
How does it work?
Free Feet works by using laser assistive technology to act as a visual cueing system. It is composed of a laser and is placed on the instep of the user's shoe. By focusing on the dot that Free Feet emits, the user has the capacity to change their walking from automatic, to non-automatic. This enables them to reduce the severity of freezing (or shuffling) by approximately 40% according to our study.
How will you know you have succeeded?
I think for me, success is helping as many people as possible have a better quality of life, as a result of using my products. What more could you ask for? I think the road to "success" is a long one, but if I can do good through Free Feet then I'm happy!
What advice would you give a young female founder?
"I would say that in order to be a young female founder, you need, first and foremost to be extremely determined. It requires a huge amount of determination to keep going and progress your idea, but it's so worth it when you reap the rewards. In essence, do good and greatness will follow."
What are your top three takeaways from Outbox Incubator?
The Outbox Incubator has been a life-changing experience for me. I've met a network of the most fantastic and inspiring young women who I'm honoured to call my friends. I could never have imagined that I would be in such a positive environment, learning from such amazing people for six weeks.

Get Involved!
If you are interested in actively changing the ratio, and want to sponsor the next Outbox Incubator, please contact Mary Carty at mary@stemettes.org.
To learn more about Outbox Incubator, visit their website or follow them on Twitter @OutboxIncubator
Learn more about how you can get involved.Useful Links:

Watch Anne Ravanona's TEDx talk on Investing in Women Entrepreneurs.
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