THEYA Healthcare Founder Named Laureate for Europe at 2017 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards

Dublin, Ireland, 13 April 2017, Irish entrepreneur, Ciara Donlon, founder and CEO of THEYA Healthcare (, was last night named Laureate for Europe at the final of the 2017 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony held in Singapore.
  • Ciara Donlon wins $100,000 prize at event in Singapore

Dublin, Ireland, 13 April 2017, Irish entrepreneur, Ciara Donlon, founder and CEO of THEYA Healthcare (, was last night named Laureate for Europe at the final of the 2017 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony held in Singapore.  

Since 2006, the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards has sought to encourage and support female entrepreneurs, from around the world, who are leading creative, socially impactful and financially sustainable start-up companies.

Selected from a field of nearly 1,900 applicants from over 120 countries, Ciara Donlon was the only Irish entrepreneur shortlisted as one of the 18 finalists, in 6 categories, for this year’s awards.

The 6 winning laureates each receive $100,000 in prize funding, a place on an INSEAD Executive Programme in Social Entrepreneurship, one-to-one business mentoring, access to a worldwide business network and media exposure.

THEYA Healthcare, which was formally launched by Ciara Donlon in 2015, designs and manufactures healthcare garments. The company’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.

THEYA Healthcare uses a unique fabric mix made from OEKO-TEX® bamboo, which is ideal for post-operative products as it is anti-bacterial, thermally regulating, 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.

THEYA Healthcare, which is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, is also an Enterprise Ireland high potential start-up (HPSU) client company.

Speaking after the awards ceremony in Singapore, Ciara Donlon, said, “I’m so thrilled and honoured to be named Laureate for Europe. I’ve always believed in THEYA Healthcare because I know we can make a real difference to patients, but to have a prestigious organisation like the Cartier Women’s Initiatives Awards say that they believe in us too is such an incredible validation of what we do.”

She added, “Not only will the prize funding enable us to scale globally more quickly than we otherwise could, but the INSEAD training, as well as mentoring, network access, and media exposure will open so many new doors for us.”

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Each year six laureates are chosen, one from Europe, one from Asia-Pacific, one from Latin America, one from Middle East and North Africa, one from North America and one from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Previous winners of the Laureate for Europe Award include; Ciara Clancy, CEO, Beats Medical (2015) and Leonora O’Brien, CEO, Pharmapod (2013).

To find out more about Ciara and THEYA Healthcare watch


13 April 2017

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

Editors Notes

The Cartier Women's Initiative Awards are an international business plan competition created in 2006 to identify, support and encourage projects by women entrepreneurs. The initiative is a joint partnership project initiated by Cartier, the Women's Forum, McKinsey & Company and INSEAD Business School.

Each partner brings its expertise to the initiative: Cartier plays a leading role in the organisation of the competition and provides coaching and funding for the projects. The Women's Forum provides important visibility and networking opportunities for the finalists. McKinsey & Company and INSEAD coach the finalists.

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. Ciara is also a member of the Professional Woman’s Network (PWN).  

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.   

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.