Three female-led companies were selected from each of the awards’ four specific categories – CleanTech and Climate; Disruptive Innovation; MedTech and Science; and FinTech, Data Science & Cyber Security. A winner from each of the four categories will be revealed at a virtual finals event on 25 March.
The FinTech, Data Science & Cyber Security category finalists were Sarah Wernér of HusMus, technology providers supporting tenants and landlords in the private rental market; Lynne Darcey Quiqley of Know-it, a cloud-based credit management platform; and Beth Michael of Streeva, a fintech focused on streamlining inefficiencies in payment processes.
The three finalists from the CleanTech and Climate category were Aslihan Penley of wave energy technology specialists ZOEX Power; Emily Rogers and Claire Rampen of Reath, a software platform enabling safe, compliant, scalable reuse systems for businesses; and Mhairi Cochrane of Dream Pads, creators of a sustainable and reusable period product.
The MedTech and Science category winners finalists include two Midlothian-based businesses at Roslin Innovation Centre - Ishani Malhotra of Carcinotech, a biotech business focused on the production of cancer research models; and Kate Cameron of Cytochroma, a fellow biotech company providing a flexible and ethical source of liver tissue for preclinical testing. The other category finalist was Jude Simms of Mygo4ward, creators of affordable, wearable technology for people with spinal cord injuries.
Shortlisted under the Disruptive Innovation category were Katharine Paterson of So To Company, creators of innovative nursery products; Rebecca Goss of pharmaceutical sector technology innovators, XGenix; and Tess Whittaker of The Voice Distillery, an innovative and ground breaking service for the voice-over industry.
Meanwhile Elaine Ford, founder of Electrek Explorer, the ‘world’s first’ AI powered electric vehicle mobile travel app, was named as this year’s Rising Star. Sponsored by Aberdein Considine and Purpose HR, this category recognises a female company founder with a great early stage business idea.
All AccelerateHER Awards finalists companies are UK-registered and trading, or intending to trade, in Scotland. The winners will receive a Barclays mentoring package and once again secure a place on an international trade mission to Europe, North America or the Middle East, which is planned for later in 2021, dependent on government rules over foreign travel and social distancing in light of the global pandemic.
Now in their sixth year, the AccelerateHER Awards are sponsored by Barclays and global IT and business consulting services firm CGI. The awards are also supported by the Scottish Government, through its Women in Enterprise Framework and Action Plan to help female entrepreneurs prepare for investment and growth.
Jackie Waring, CEO of Investing Women said: “I want to congratulate our 2021 finalists along with all who have taken part in this year’s awards programme. Despite the challenges of social distancing measures we had a high level of quality applicants from technology, life sciences and environmentally-focused companies participating in this year’s competition.
“These emerging businesses are to be celebrated and will play a key role in helping rebuild our economy as we emerge from the pandemic. This year’s award participants add to the growing AccelerateHER network which now includes over 4,000 female business founders within Scotland and beyond.”
Jon Hope, Director at Barclays Eagle Labs, said: “All of this year’s awards entrants should be commended for showing such determination and resilience in forging ahead with their business despite the challenging environment. Once again the competition has highlighted the growing number of dynamic female-led businesses with major global growth potential.”