Female Founders Award

Photo Credit: Jan Zappner/Raum11

Photo Copyright: Jan Zappner/Raum11

Award Ceremony on April 27!

AmCham Germany will present the Female Founders Award for the second time in April 2021 in order to promote and to empower two female (co-)founders in their visibility and networking while inspiring and motivating other women across Germany to become entrepreneurs. As Female founders are still a minority in the start-up ecosystem on both sides of the Atlantic, AmCham Germany launched the Female Founders Award in 2019 to set an example and to honor successful female founders as positive role models. We especially encourage female talent operating in the fields of technology, electronics, engineering or other branches usually underrepresented by women to apply. The award brings together the values of American entrepreneurial spirit and German entrepreneurship as well as the activities of AmCham Germany in the context of entrepreneurship and diversity/women in leadership.

Award Benefits

The prize of the award includes becoming part of AmCham Germany's Germany-wide and international network by earning a free Basic Membership for one year which includes complimentary tickets for our chapter events, the Annual Membership Meeting and the Transatlantic Business Conference. An introduction via email to three top-level representatives from our corporate members is also included. The recipients will also gain visibility for themselves and their businesses through our communication channels.


Selection Process

Together with our cooperation partners, AmCham Germany publicly calls for the nomination of candidates for the Female Founders Award 2021. Until March 7, 2021, the (co-)founders may either nominate themselves or be nominated by companies or individuals. An independent selection jury will select the recipients in March 2021. The award winners will be informed in early April and the award ceremony will take place on April 27, 2021 as part of a Transatlantic Evening in Berlin.


Selection Criteria

  • You are the female (co-)founder of a company or start-up (innovative technology or business model)
  • Your company has been successfully positioned on the market for 2-5 years and is not older than 10 years
  •  Healthy growth and a solid and growing customer base is shown
  •  The turnover of the company was at least 100,000 Euros in the last business year or your company can account for an equivalent turnover relevant engagement (e.g. paid pilot)
  •  You have a well-defined market in your segment
  •  Your team is comprised of at least 5 people
  •  There are leading media and established blogs that have already reported on you and speak for your visibility
  •  You are currently well funded and you have a clear vision for the future and growth of your company for the next 5 years
Your Information:
If you are nominating someone other than yourself:

Zarah Bruhn, Co-Founder & CEO of Social-Bee and Ashoka Fellow

About Zarah Bruhn
Zarah Bruhn studied business studies and technology in Mannheim and Munich. During her semester abroad in Stockholm, she took part in a refugees welcome event. Realising that it’s nice to welcome refugees but not really helpful or sustainable for them in terms of integration, she returned to Germany with an innovative business plan in her mind. After several internships and jobs in the fields of venture capital and startups, she founded the social startup "Social-Bee gGmbH" together with her partner Maximilian Felsner in Munich.


About Social-Bee gGmbH
Germany’s first integration service provider uses the temporary employment model to integrate refugees into the labour market and society. The social startup serves as the missing bridge between refugees and companies. Social-Bee takes care of all the bureaucratic work and supports its employees by offering them opportunities to learn German, acquire further qualifications and participate in integration programs. Founded in 2016, the non-profit organisation provided employment for 220 refugees in its first three years and is serving refugees and companies in Munich and Stuttgart.

Xenia Scholl, COO & Co-Founder at TeleRetail

About Xenia Scholl

With 10+ years professional IT experience, Xenia Scholl is passionate about the conceptualization, development & implementation of technology innovations. As Co-founder of TeleRetail, Xenia focuses on the development of the self-driving technology to automate vehicles of different sizes and shapes: from large industrial vehicles to smaller retail robots. Xenia partners with top research institutions such as the European Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center, and world leading companies such as Coca-Cola European Partners and Thyssenkrupp Elevator. Before devoting herself full-time to TeleRetail, she developed large-scale infrastructure projects in Canada, Spain, and Germany. Xenia majored in international studies, earning her Master’s degree at the Bochum University of Applied Sciences.


About TeleRetail

TeleRetail automates industrial and urban last mile logistics with its autopilot software for self-driving robots. The company’s award-winning “Aito” software drives autonomous vehicles of almost any size. Shaping the future of autonomous driving, TeleRetail technology reduces the cost of transport by up to 90% while enabling 24/7 on-demand transport services. Like driverless cars, the TeleRetail’s delivery robots use laser, cameras, GNSS, radar and other sensors to "see" their environment and to safely navigate through it. TeleRetail is widely recognized as a world leader in the globally emerging outdoor logistics automation space. Frost & Sullivan awarded TeleRetail its 2018 Visionary Innovation Leadership Award for globally outstanding technology developments. The company also received the 2018 German Innovation Award for its ground-breaking innovations. TeleRetail is supported by the European Space Agency “ESA” as well as global corporate partners such as Coca-Cola European Partners and thyssenkrupp Elevator AG.

Michelle Skodowski, Co-Founder & COO of BOTfriends

About Michelle Skodowski
Michelle Skodowski is a co-founder of BOTfriends, a company specialized in the design and development of Conversational AI applications, with a primary focus on Conversational Design. However, as the COO of the company, she is in charge of all customer projects with clients such as Porsche, Innogy or Bosch. While graduating from the University of Applied Sciences in Würzburg with a B.Sc. in E-Commerce and working at companies like eBay she bootstrapped BOTfriends with her three co-founders. She is also speaking at various tech and AI events such as theGoogle Cloud Summit or the Chatbot Summit as a conversational AI evangelist. As a female founder she strives to empower other young women for tech and entrepreneurship by participation in female founder programs.

About BOTfriends
Our goal is to make interaction with technology as natural and effortless as conversations between people. For this purpose we develop Conversational AI solutions for companies like Porsche, Innogy or Bosch, so that they can easily access information and use standardized communication processes. We combine different technologies and methods to enable outstanding individual chatbot and voice solutions. With Botfriends X, we also offer a Conversational Middleware platform with which our customers can independently create, train and maintain a chatbot via an intuitive user interface. The management of Conversational AI from across the enterprise on a single platform is therefore made possible. 


Click here to view photos from the Award Ceremony. 

Nadine Bütow, Founder, CommsART and Member of Berlin Team, Digital Media Women e.V.
Nadine Bütow is an entrepreneur, moderator and consultant for corporate communication in times of digital and social change. As a speaker, she focusses on the topics of diversity, gender equality, cultural change and leadership. At the network Digital Media Women (#DMW) in Berlin, she campaigns for the visibility and the networking of women from the digital economy. She also heads #DMW's #30mit30 national campaign, which is open to companies with at least 30 percent female representation in the top three management levels.

Dr. Guido Brinkel Head of Regulatory Policy and Director Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Germany
As Head of Regulatory Policy and Director Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Germany, Guido is responsible for the external political and regulatory relations regarding telecom regulation, cybersecurity and data protection. Previously he served as Head of Public Affairs for United Internet in Berlin and Brussels. From 2007 until 2011 Guido served as Head of the Media Policy Department at BITKOM, Germany´s largest ICT association. He is member of the board of the German Association for Voluntary Self-Regulation of Digital Media service providers (FSM e.V.). Guido studied law at the University of Göttingen and the Trinity College Dublin and holds a PhD degree. He is specialized in telecom regulation, intellectual property, cybersecurity, e-commerce and data protection law and has published several scientific articles on these topics.”

Maria Gross, Managing Director, GERMANTECH
Change (and her love for the city of Berlin) is the only constant in Maria's life - that's why she keeps on questioning the status quo, develops new ideas and gets her energy out of the challenge. She started her career at Daimler, studied Nonprofit-Management and travelled the world. Just to learn that everything she always seeked was working in a diverse field. After working for different accelerators & incubators and failing & learning with her own startups she joined GERMANTECH. As the Managing Director she loves bringing together diverse stakeholders to learn from each other and work on a sustainable future.

Prof. Dr. Torsten Oltmanns, Regional Chair Berlin-Brandenburg, AmCham Germany and Managing Partner, Gauly Advisors GmbH




Carolin Schäufele, CEO & Managing Editor, SHE works!
Carolin Schäufele is the founder of “SHE works!”, the business and career magazine and platform dedicated to female entrepreneurs. The digital magazine addresses a variety of topics and niche issues relevant to female founders helping them to manage the short and long term challenges ahead. Since its founding in 2015, “SHE works!” and its quarterly e-magazine reaches up to 500,000 readers.

Andreas Schwaiger, Vice President, Managing Director Germany, Texas Instruments Deutschland GmbH
Andreas Schwaiger started his professional career at Texas Instruments (TI) in 1997, working in a variety of different roles before being appointed Managing Director of TI Germany. He is a member of the AmCham Germany Executive Committee, and is wholeheartedly engaged in initiatives like NextGen. Andreas Schwaiger is excited to uphold TI’s commitment to STEM development from school through university to a career in Engineering, particularly focusing female development in these areas. As a sponsor of TI’s CSR branch in EMEA, he is strongly engaged in the team’s efforts in STEM education, supporting local organizations and initiatives like Girl’s Day and Female Tech Leaders. For him, TI’s commitment to drive innovation and support start-up initiatives matches perfectly to the engagement with the AmCham Female Founders award.

Edith Stier-Thompson, Managing Director, news aktuell GmbH
In 1999 Edith Stier-Thompson moved from the Associated Press news agency to the dpa group. She was in charge of the sales department of dpa Picture Alliance GmbH and was appointed Managing Director in 2007. Since 2014 she has been Managing Director of news aktuell GmbH, a subsidiary of the German Press Agency dpa. She is a founding member and on the extended board of the Association of Global Women in PR Deutschland e.V. The association aim to strengthen women in communication through mentoring and networking, encouraging them to take on leadership roles.

Barbara Biemann-Bennke

Manager, Events & Projects

+49 30 2130056-21



Cooperation Partner

Award Partner

Media and Network Partners