Female start-up mission to US prepares for lift-off

Five female entrepreneurs who were finalists at this year's AccelerateHER Awards will travel to California's Mojave Desert next week to meet a host of business leaders.

The meeting in California follows an invitation from Sir Richard Branson to Jackie Waring. Picture: Ian Georgeson.
The meeting in California follows an invitation from Sir Richard Branson to Jackie Waring. Picture: Ian Georgeson.

As part of Investing Women’s AccelerateHER Awards California Mission, the group will meet 100 leading females at Virgin Galactic and its manufacturing organisation The Spaceship Company.

It follows an invitation from Sir Richard Branson to Investing Women’s chief executive Jackie Waring to jointly chair a Virgin Start Up mentoring event for young entrepreneurs in Edinburgh earlier this year.

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She said: “The invitation for our AccelerateHER finalists to discuss their businesses with 100 inspirational women at Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Company is a once in a lifetime opportunity, which we’re delighted to include on our California Mission.

“Spending time with key people behind one of the world’s most innovative companies will undoubtedly be a key highlight for those taking part in the programme.

“I had the pleasure of chairing a Virgin Start Up mentoring event with Sir Richard in May which involved some of the AccelerateHER finalists. His support of the Scottish entrepreneurial community and the choice of Scotland as the site for Virgin Galactic’s first UK spaceport underlines Virgin’s close links to our nation. We look forward to building on these ties during next week’s visit to California.”

Jaime Shibley-Nieto, director of people at The Spaceship Company and host of the AccelerateHER Awards finalists event, said: “We are delighted to welcome this group of Scottish-based businesswomen to Mojave for what promises to be an insightful event where we will exchange ideas and focus on developing great innovation. We look forward to hearing about these inspiring companies in Scotland and meeting the dynamic women behind them.”

The agenda also includes meetings with Ron Weissman, a former adviser to the late Steve Jobs; Bob Bozeman, who was one of the first people to invest in Google; and Susan Preston, the US’ “First Lady” of female business angels.

The five Scottish-based entrepreneurs comprise Pooja Jain, Cognihealth co-founder; Ifeyinwa Kanu, director of Intellidigest; Deborah Wake, chief executive and chief medical officer at My Way Digital Health; Carmen Cummiskey, founder and managing director of Teqnox, and Monika Tomecka, executive director and chief operating officer at uFraction8.