THEYA Healthcare Founder Named as a 2017 EY Entrepreneur of The Year Finalist

Dublin, Ireland, 3 May 2017, Ciara Donlon, founder and CEO of THEYA Healthcare, (, which designs and manufactures healthcare garments,  has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2017 EY Entrepreneur of The YearTM (EOY) programm

Dublin, Ireland, 3 May 2017, Ciara Donlon, founder and CEO of THEYA Healthcare, (, which designs and manufactures healthcare garments,  has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2017 EY Entrepreneur of The YearTM (EOY) programme.

A total of 24 finalists have been selected across three categories – emerging, industry and international – with Ciara Donlon shortlisted in the emerging award category.

Representing the full spectrum of industries from across Ireland, this year’s finalists employ more than 5,000 people and generate annual revenues of more than €475 million.

The 24 finalists, including Ciara Donlon, were selected by an independent judging panel of previous winners, chaired by Anne Heraty, CEO, Cpl Resources plc, winner of the 2006 EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM programme.

THEYA Healthcare, headquartered at NovaUCD, University College Dublin’s Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs, was formally launched in 2015 by Ciara Donlon. The company is also an Enterprise Ireland high potential start-up (HPSU) client company.

THEYA Healthcare’s flagship post-surgery lingerie range, designed primarily for use by breast cancer patients, retails across Ireland, the UK and has also been launched in Europe and Canada.

The company uses a unique fabric mix made from OEKO-TEX® bamboo, which is ideal for post-operative products as it is anti-bacterial, breathable, 59% more absorbent than cotton and extremely soft thus helping to reduce skin irritation. The design of the THEYA Healthcare range focuses on comfort, support, femininity, functionality and the promotion of healing.

Last month Ciara Donlon was named Laureate for Europe at the final of the 2017 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards.

Ciara Donlon, CEO, THEYA Healthcare said, “To have been selected as a finalist for an award previously won by people like Anne Heraty of CPL and John Collison of Stripe is truly humbling. THEYA Healthcare was born out of a desire to help women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, in order to reach more of these women, we need to grow the company. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Awards programme is a powerful vehicle for growth for entrepreneurs so we are very excited about the opportunities this will present for the company.”

“This year’s finalists were chosen because they have demonstrated the ability to navigate change as business leaders and, as such, they represent the very best talent within Ireland’s entrepreneurial community today,” said Kevin McLoughlin, EY partner lead for the awards.

“We are also pleased to see strong female representation within the finalists this year. We look forward to seeing this diversity grow further year-on-year as an increasing number of female-led entrepreneurial businesses make waves across Ireland,” he added.

The 20th year of the programme in Ireland is focusing on the theme of ‘Leading through Change’ in recognition of the significant changes that have occurred within the business community over the past 20 years and of future disruption to come.

As part of the awards, the finalists will take part in a 10-month development programme. They will also join more than 70 other entrepreneurs for a week-long “CEO Retreat” to San Francisco later this month.

As the finalists progress through this programme, the judging panel will determine the winners based on a number of criteria, including innovation, value creation, strategic direction, financial performance, national and global impact and the entrepreneur’s contribution to society and industry.

The EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards ceremony will take place in Dublin in October. The overall winner will go on to represent Ireland at World Entrepreneur of the Year in Monaco in June 2018.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM programme is supported by Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, The Irish Times and Newstalk.

Further details on the 24 finalists on the 2017 EY Entrepreneur of The YearTM (EOY) programme are available via


3 May 2017

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, University College Dublin, Communications Manager (Innovation), e:, t: + 353 1 716 3712 or Eileen Rainsberry, THEYA Healthcare, Marketing Director, e:, t: + 44 77 1440 3218.

Editors Notes

Operating in more than 60 countries worldwide, the EY Entrepreneur of The YearTM (EOY) programme is recognised as the most prestigious business accolade for entrepreneurs. The programme is open to entrepreneurs across all sectors and growth stages, across the island of Ireland. The awards programme is divided into three categories – Emerging, Industry and International – with 8 finalists chosen per category.  

THEYA Healthcare is an Irish manufacturer of healthcare garments and has been trading since 2015. At every stage of product development THEYA Healthcare seeks input from both patients and healthcare professionals to ensure that its range best meets the needs of its customers.

Ciara Donlon graduated in 1999 from Trinity and DIT with a BSc in Management and an Advanced Diploma in Marketing Techniques. She is a business woman with over 15 years’ experience working in marketing roles in companies including RBS, Irish Life & Permanent and Vodafone as Head of the Online Channel. Ciara entered the lingerie industry when she set up her own lingerie boutique in 2010. After learning the business inside out and researching the gap in the post-surgery lingerie market, THEYA Healthcare was established in 2014. 

In 2015 Ciara came runner-up in the Image Magazine Business Woman of the Year Awards 2015 in the Start-up Category, she was awarded the title of Best Innovative Start-Up 2015 by the DCU Ryan Academy, she won a bronze medal at the BOI Start-up Awards in the Innovation Category in November 2015 and THEYA is an SFA winner in the Emerging New Business Category for 2016. In 2017 Ciara was named Laureate for Europe at the final of the 2017 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. Ciara is also a member of the Professional Woman’s Network (PWN).  

At NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, we nurture and support new high-tech and knowledge-intensive companies as part of UCD's mission. At NovaUCD we provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities alongside a comprehensive business support programme for client companies such as THEYA Healthcare. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.