Mary McKenna

Entrepreneurship Expert


Mary’s industry experience spans technology, most elements of the creative industries, education, government and social enterprise. She is a well-known and well-networked Northern Irish technology entrepreneur and angel investor.

After an interesting public sector career and then several years as a Silicon Valley dotcommer, she co-founded e-learning company, Learning Pool, and over time built an online sharing community of over one million learners. Mary successfully exited from the business in 2014 after eight years, so that she could return to working with earlier stage start-ups. Mary is interested in helping to start and grow new companies, especially working with female and first-time entrepreneurs. She has invested in six early stage tech start-ups to date, three with female founding teams.

In addition to being an Entrepreneurship Expert with the Entrepreneurship Centre at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, Mary is one of the Entrepreneurs in Residence at the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast, an advisor to government, a trustee of the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology and an active member of Tech London Advocates.

A former global CFO and then seasoned CEO, her areas of expertise cover everything from new venture creation to sales and marketing, building a team and creating a healthy company culture, all aspects of strategy and decision making through to raising early and also later stage finance.

Mary was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for services to digital technology, innovation and learning.

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