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Women in Entrepreneurship Series: Ciara Donlon and Theya Healthcare

To celebrate Enterprise Ireland’s launch of the Level Project, a planning toolkit aimed toward helping businesses develop gender-balanced leadership teams, we’re sharing a series of articles that highlight a female entrepreneur along with their innovative Irish business. These female entrepreneurs are all working to transform the business community at a global scale through their work in sectors like healthcare, cybersecurity, education technology, agricultural technology, and skincare. 

As the first part of our series, we’d like to highlight Ciara Donlon. Donlon is the founder and CEO of Theya Healthcare, and before finding success on her own, Donlon had already long proven herself as a successful businesswoman. She has a BSc in Management & Marketing and over 15 years of experience in marketing for large corporations including RBS, Irish Life & Permanent, and Vodafone

In 2010, Donlon set up a successful lingerie retail business in Dublin. While working there, she met several breast cancer survivors who came in to find something comfortable to wear after surgery. Donlon realized there was a large gap in the market for this type of product that left many women frustrated and at a loss. 

Donlon personally connected with these women and their experiences as her grandmother had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer. 

She quickly committed herself to providing a solution for these women and founded Theya Healthcare to create post-surgery bras for breast cancer survivors. The garments are made using bamboo and have been clinically proven to help survivors in their healing and recovery journeys. Theya’s bras and briefs are designed for women who have undergone any type of breast, thoracic, pelvic, or abdominal surgery. Additionally, they are also a perfect choice for women who are receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

As a result of Donlon’s ingenuity, Theya became a High Potential Start-Up client of Enterprise Ireland, and with their funding, was able to provide a product specifically designed for the women who inspired her work. Theya Healthcare is creating an undeniable difference for women who wear the bras during recovery as they report an 8.5% improvement in body image, a 20% improvement in health status, and reduced pain levels. In 2020, Donlon once again recognized a need in the healthcare market and created a reusable bamboo mask that is naturally antibacterial, extremely breathable, and sustainably produced.

Theya Healthcare is an undeniably FemTech company that creates products for women by women. Donlon and Theya Healthcare are providing a product that improves the health and wellbeing of women globally and standing as an example of the progress, creativity, and compassion coming from Ireland and its female leaders in business. Enterprise Ireland’s support of Theya Healthcare and other female-led Irish companies forecasts the success that the Level Project will bring globally. 

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