Top female company founders sought for AccelerateHER Awards 2023 - which include four new categories

Female company founders are again being offered the chance to raise their firm’s profile and benefit from a package aimed at driving business growth with the launch of the AccelerateHER Awards 2023.

This year’s awards programme has now opened for applications from women behind companies focused on being a “force for good”, with four new categories: technology; health; environment; and culture. A Rising Star award for the female founder with the best early-stage business idea will also be presented.

Now in their eighth year, the awards are described as providing 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, are open to women who are founders or co-founders of companies that are Scottish-based or actively trading in Scotland. Winners will be given a prize package potentially worth thousands of pounds and including a six-month mentoring programme from Investing Women Angels, which says it is Scotland’s first all-female business angel group.

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Many former awards participants have secured places on AccelerateHER overseas trade missions, to showcase their business to industry contacts and global investors. Three of last year’s winners will attend next month’s mission to California, while to date, more than 5,500 female founders have joined the community of AccelerateHER, which recently teamed up with digital skills academy CodeBase.

Launching this year’s awards programme, AccelerateHER chief executive Elizabeth Pirrie said: “Over the last seven years, the AccelerateHER Awards has helped inspire and support hundreds of female-led companies across Scotland and beyond. The financial impact has also been significant, with the companies involved in [our] programme securing more than £45 million in external investment. I would encourage women behind growth-focused companies that aim to be a force for good to come forward and apply.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP said: “The AccelerateHER Awards are a fantastic way of recognising and celebrating the achievements and contributions of women in Scotland’s entrepreneurial landscape. The Scottish Government is working to identify and support additional ways to unlock the full potential of Scotland’s entrepreneurs and at the same time address the existing entrepreneurial gender gap.”

The deadline for entries is December 9. Shortlisted companies will be announced in early January, and winners announced at the new Barclays campus in Glasgow on March 16.

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