A project led by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) has been shortlisted in the Green Gown Awards 2020.

‘Educate to Innovate: Developing and Sustaining Female Food Entrepreneurs’ is the only Irish third-level project to be selected for the UK/Ireland finals.

The project, which is “supporting the growth and sustainability of female food entrepreneurs” in the EU, is managed by Dr. Lisa Ryan and Maria McDonagh, both of the GMIT Department of Natural Sciences.

Commenting on the success of their project, Dr. Ryan and McDonagh say that they are proud of the impact the project has had already in “sustaining and supporting females in the agri-food sector”.

McDonagh added: “Supporting the growth and sustainability of female food entrepreneurs in this male-dominated sector is the main objective of this project which will, in turn, contribute to achieving social inclusion for this group and closing the gender gap in agri-food entrepreneurship.

“We anticipate that the project and its outputs will contribute to creating innovative agricultural and food activities, boosting rural enterprise across Europe.”


The Green Gown Awards, in association with UK Research and Innovation, are awards recognising the commitment that colleges and universities have to the global sustainability agenda. This year’s finalists represent over 850,000 students and 130,000 staff.

The Educate to Innovate project is led by the GMIT research team in partnership with the Baltic Education Technology Institute in Lithuania, Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori in Italy, Comunitatea Pentru Invatarea Permanenta in Romania and The Polish Farm Advisory and Training Centre.

GMIT was awarded a further grant from Erasmus+ KA2 for a follow-on project ‘AWARE – Advancing Women in Agri-Food Rural Environments’. The project team has also secured further funding nationally through the Springboard initiative to offer the Certificate in Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship, commencing in February 2021.