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Orla Reynolds New Frontiers Programme Manager IADT

Where are you from and how did you get here?

I was born and raised in Dublin. I have been a dancer, a furniture designer and a business owner. I am also a past participant of the New Frontiers programme. I commercialised a dual function transformer furniture design collection, which has been mass-produced and sold internationally.

What is it about business and start-ups that so interests you?

One of my favourite things to do in life is to tease out a route to market. I am so inspired by the passion and ambition of entrepreneurs every day. I believe it is a calling and takes incredible bravery. I love hearing people’s journeys and supporting them with it.

When did you become a New Frontiers PM and what inspired you to become one?

I became a New Frontiers Programme Manager in September 2021. It is a dream job for me. When I was a participant of the programme, we relied on our PM so much to guide and encourage us. I would watch how they interacted with each of the companies and I was constantly in awe at their support and their ability to dip in and out of varying sectors. I wanted at some point to be able to do that. The role is incredibly important to steer everyone on their journey and I am very proud to be doing it.

What do you feel are the qualities you bring to the role?

I believe given my own experience on the programme and running a business, the entrepreneurs feel safe in sharing exactly what is going on in that moment. My approach with each entrepreneur is to apply design thinking. When you design, you are always challenging and defending your choices. You are stress-testing the product to destruction. You’re being creative and imaginative in your problem-solving in order to streamline the execution. That’s what I bring, and I am very passionate about it.