Twelve aspirational female company founders have been shortlisted as finalists in the 2020 AccelerateHER Awards. This year’s programme called for applications from businesswomen whose companies fit into one of four specific categories: CleanTech and Climate; Disruptive Innovation; MedTech and Science; and FinTech and Cyber Security. Three companies from each sector made it onto the 2020 shortlist.
The three finalists from the CleanTech and Climate category were Jacqueline Morrison of Cedeco Contractors, developers of an offshore wind turbine installation solution; Aslihan Penley of Nomad Engineers, a green wave energy business; and Elaine Galston of Tubular Sciences, creators of a low carbon pipeline connection system.
Shortlisted under the Disruptive Innovation category were Fiona Gillies of content creation market disruptors SMASH; Chantal Epp of performance sports music licensing solution ClicknClear; and Tersha Willis of Terrible Merch, an app-supported music merchandising business.
Among the MedTech and Science category winners was Diane Harbison of health data platform Decipher Analytics. The other category finalists were Claudia Freigang of Hearing Diagnostics, developers of hearing screening technology; and Lise Pape of mobility equipment supplier Walk the Path.
The FinTech and Cyber Security category finalists were Sheila Hogan of Biscuit Tin Planning, developers of a digitally secure data storage vault; Tayyaba Nafees of Cybershell Solutions, a system that preempts weaknesses in software design that could be exploited by hackers; and Kiran Bhagotra of ProtectBox, a cybersecurity comparison web service.
Meanwhile Monika Ohashi, CIO of Edinburgh-based fintech business PolyDigi Tech was named as this year’s Rising Star, which recognises a female company founder with a great early stage business idea.
The short-listed companies were announced following pitches by 24 semi-finalists to the AccelerateHER Awards judging panel. Four winners, one from each category, will be revealed at the finals event on 26 March at Barclay’s Eagle Lab within Edinburgh’s Codebase. Each winner will secure a free slot on a market-building trade mission to Europe or North America to showcase their business to industry contacts and global investors.
Now in their fifth year, the AccelerateHER Awards are sponsored by Barclays and global IT and business consulting services firm CGI.
Jackie Waring, CEO of Investing Women said: “Congratulations to all our 2020 finalists. We’re delighted to have received so many great submissions from technology, life sciences and environmentally-focused companies. It is encouraging to see so many innovative businesses being developed across four core sectors which are firmly on the radar of the global investment community.
“Our finalists once again underline the immense entrepreneurial achievements of women who we are pleased to support in growing their businesses. We are also proud of the positive and significant impact the AccelerateHER Awards continue to have on female-led companies. Since the awards programme was launched participants we’ve run the competition have now gone on to secure over £25m of investment since getting involved in the programme.”