NI female start-ups secure £200,000 funding for new business ideas

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Audrey Osborne, Techstart Ventures, one of six winners Lucy Baxter, Sensalience, Roseann Kelly, Women in Business and Kathleen Garrett, Techstart Ventures

The women-focused initiative, which received more than 50 applications, welcomed pioneering projects from across the wide spectrum of NI’s business community, as winning ideas ranged from MedTech to baby products and virtual reality.

It comes at a time of significant growth in female entrepreneurship in NI, with Rose Review’s progress report revealing that more than 1,500 businesses were started by women here in 2021, double the figure from 2018.

Lucy Baxter, whose company Sensailence was one of the winning start-ups, said: “It is essential to celebrate and encourage women in the field of entrepreneurship, a growing sector here. Figures from Crunchbase show that in 2020, just 2.4% of global venture capital funding went to female founding teams and 5% of venture capital partner roles were filled by women; Techstart and Women in Business are helping to restore this balance.

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Fiona Gildea, ComplyFirst, Audrey Osborne, Techstart Ventures, Lucy Baxter, Sensalience, Roseann Kelly, Women in Business, Francesca Morelli and Chloe Henning, VaVa Influence, Kathleen Garrett, Techstart Ventures, Daniel Jelly, ComplyFirst Fiona’s Husband

“I am passionate about the Createch sector, and our new company Sensalience combines my skills in VR cinematographic production and the excellent track record of my spouse Elaine Bousfield in digital mental health. We’re excited to get started, and thank you so much to Techstart and Women in Business for giving us this opportunity!

The Women Founders Grant competition aimed to support women entrepreneurs with a grant and business mentorship to explore the viability and market potential of their innovative business idea.

Kathleen Garrett, who leads the Grant Fund at Techstart Ventures, said, “It’s been so inspiring to see firsthand the innovation and ingenuity within NI’s community of entrepreneurs. The caliber of contestants was truly impressive. Congratulations to the winners whom we look forward to supporting on their journey to success.

Roseann Kelly, CE of Women in Business, added, “We are thrilled to announce the deserving winners of our Women Founder Grant competition. Through our partnership with Techstart Ventures, we have the opportunity to empower female entrepreneurship right here on our doorstep.

“After more than 170 women attended the information session on women’s financing, it is clear that there is a real appetite here for women’s entrepreneurship. By accelerating the next generation of female-led start-ups, we can create an ecosystem of women’s businesses in Northern Ireland that has a positive ripple effect on local society and economy for many years to come. A huge “congratulations” to all the winners. »

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