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Women are building a better world

The annual EU Prize for Women Innovators is much more than an event that simply rewards excellence, it is a platform that is helping to inspire and catalyse the next generation of female changemakers.

This year’s 17 finalists were announced today, ahead of next month’s European Innovation Council Summit, where the winners will be announced.

Maria Fátima Lucas, co-founder and CEO of biotech startup, Zymvol, was a winner in 2020 and she wrote about the experience for Innovators Magazine.

“Many people have shown curiosity in knowing how the journey went, so I’m going to highlight some of the steps, hopefully to encourage other women to showcase their innovative projects,” she wrote.

“Personally, I spent more than 15 years working as a researcher in computational chemistry, a male-dominated area, but I had never felt any kind of discrimination for being a woman. However, since I started leading a startup, I did notice that in the business world there are certain differences. And, indeed, there are a small number of women in management positions,” she added. “That’s when I decided I had to do something. I felt the need to promote the role of women in the industry and to motivate others to embark on this adventure.”

That is a big part of what this prize is about, inspiring others to showcase their work. Of the 17 competing this time around, three will walk away with €100,000 in the Women Innovators category; and another three are going for the Rising Innovator title, which will go, along with €50,000, to a female entrepreneur under the age of 30.

The finalists in the Women Innovators category are:

  • Anita Finnegan (Ireland), co-founder and CEO of Nova Leah, a company offering cybersecurity risk management solutions for medical device manufacturers.
  • Asude Altıntaş (Turkey), co-founder and CEO of Twin Science, a company improving children’s STEAM skills with physical and digital products.
  • Ciara Clancy (Ireland), founder and CEO of Beats Therapeutics, a company developing technology solutions to tackle the mobility symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Danaë Delbeke (Belgium), founder and CEO of Indigo, a company designing innovative glucose monitoring solutions for people with diabetes.
  • Daphne Haim Langford (Israel), founder and CEO of Tarsier Pharma, a company developing disruptive medical solutions for the treatment and cure of autoimmune and inflammatory ocular diseases.
  • Elena García Armada (Spain), founder and CEO of MarsiBionics, a company designing innovative exoskeletons for personalised gait therapy.
  • Florence Gschwend (Switzerland/UK), co-founder and CTO of Lixea, a company developing a sustainable and innovative biomass fractionation process using low-cost ionic liquids.
  • Keren Leshem (Israel), co-founder and CEO of OCON Healthcare, a company developing an innovative intrauterine drug-delivery technology to improve women’s health and quality of life.
  • Lisa O’Donoghue (Ireland), founder and CEO of Votechnik, a company providing automated recycling technology for safe and sustainable disposal of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) units.
  • Mathilde Jakobsen (Denmark), co-founder and CEO of Fresh.Land, a digital platform that shortens and digitizes the food supply chain, providing easy access to good quality food.
  • Merel Boers (Netherlands), co-founder and CEO of NICO-LAB, a company offering cutting-edge technology to help physicians improve emergency care.
  • Monika Haider (Austria), founder and CEO of equalizent, a company offering education and training solutions for deaf and hard of hearing people.
  • Patricia Scanlon (Ireland), founder and Executive Chair of Soapbox Labs, a company developing an innovative speech-recognition solution for children.
  • Rocío Arroyo (Spain), founder and CEO of AMADIX, a company providing personalized medicine solutions for cancer diagnosis.
  • Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss (Austria/Germany), founder and CEO of omni:us, a data-driven, AI platform that automates insurance claims.
  • Suzanne Moloney (Ireland), founder and CEO of Hidramed Solutions, a company offering advanced wound care solutions for everyday care of chronic wounds.
  • Verónica Orvalho (Argentina/Portugal), founder and CEO of Didimo, a technology platform for the fast creation of user-generated digital humans

The finalists in the Rising Innovator category are:

  • Ailbhe and Izzy Keane (Ireland), founders of Izzy Wheels. Their company creates fashionable wheel covers for wheelchairs.
  • Emna Everard (Belgium), founder and CEO of Kazidomi, a healthy food e-commerce.
  • Livia Ng (UK), founder and CEO of Neucruit, a company that uses deep tech to build digital patient recruitment strategies that improve the lives of patients and clinical innovators.

The winners will be announced at the European Innovation Council Summit taking place on 24-25 November 2021.

For more on the impact being made by women innovators, check out Innovators Magazine’s special European Innovation Summit 2020 edition, which features stories about some of Europe’s leading female founders.

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Written By

Executive Producer of the Inside Ideas podcast, writer on sustainability issues, and social media content creator.


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