Aspirational female founders shortlisted as AccelerateHER Awards finalists

Hydropower innovator named as Rising Star

Twelve aspirational female company founders have been shortlisted as finalists in the AccelerateHER Awards 2023. Three female-led companies were selected from each of the awards’ four specific categories – Technology; Environment; Culture; and Health. A winner from each of the four categories will be revealed at the awards finals event being held at the new Barclays campus in Glasgow on 16th March.

Finalists in the Technology category, supported by CodeBase, are Irina Protasova, founder of BabyReady Finance, a platform which helps expectant parents to financially prepare for their baby; Judy Hornigold of Everybody Counts, a company providing a world class maths programme to help children in developing countries; and Stella Smith of pirkx, an online platform which increases accessibility to vital wellbeing benefits.

The three finalists from the Environment category are Elaine Galston of The Bettii Pod, creators of a menstrual cup washer and steriliser for use in public toilets; Beena Sharma, founder of carbon dioxide capture technology innovators CCU International; and Alicja Dzieciol of SilviBio, a company which helps growers decrease water and fertiliser usage while improving crop yields.

The Culture category finalists included Xann Schwinn of Biiah, a company which has developed technology to empower people from all backgrounds to sing for their wellbeing; Katherine Gunderson of Grand Bequest, a BCorp certified business focused on getting empty buildings back into use; and Monica Camino, founder of Dialexy, a company which improves the speed and cost of accessing certified translations.

Shortlisted under the Health category are Clara Doran, founder of Noggin Braincare, a company focused on improving cognitive health through education, supplementation and motivation; Caroline Laurenson of TL Tech, creators of technology aimed at transforming lives by creating a unique, caring and entertaining home environment; and Annabel de Gheldere of Womco, a science-based, personalised nutrition app for women’s hormonal health.

Meanwhile, Penelope Carruthers of Carruthers Renewables was named as this year’s Rising Star, a category which recognises a female founder with a great early-stage business idea. Carruthers Renewables has developed and commercialised the first modern patented waterwheel in over 140 years, designed for low carbon electricity production.

Now in their eighth year, the AccelerateHER Awards provide a springboard to growth for participants by opening doors to new opportunities and market-building connections through the organisation’s global network. The awards, supported by the Scottish Government, Barclays Eagle Labs and Scottish Enterprise, are open to women who are founders or co-founders of companies which are Scottish-based or actively trading in Scotland.

Award winners will benefit from a prize package that is potentially worth thousands of pounds and includes a six-month mentoring programme from Investing Women Angels, Scotland’s first all-female business angel group.

Elizabeth Pirrie, CEO of AccelerateHER said: “Once again we received an influx of high calibre applicants for this year’s awards programme. These 12 shortlisted finalist companies were selected amongst the dozens of quality entrants across our four key categories of Technology; Environment; Culture; and Health.

“I would like to thank all those who have participated in this year’s awards – many of these companies, all of which are led by female founders, have major growth potential. I would also like to congratulate the finalists and look forward to seeing them pitch their company at our finals event in March.

See the full list here.


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