Female Entrepreneurship: Leveling the Societal Playing Field and Leading to Cosmic Heights

Female Founders Award Ceremony 2023: The American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany) hosted its fourth Female Founders Award Ceremony on April 26, 2023.

“With this award, we make women more visible as trailblazers, visionaries, and leaders who have defied the odds, shattered glass ceilings, and made a significant impact in their industries and communities,” stressed Dr. Marianne Janik, Award Patron Female Founders Award 2023, and CEO of Microsoft Germany.

This year, two female founders stood out with their innovative and successful business models. Their business models make contributions in either improving career opportunities or in developing space exploration technology.

The winners of the Female Founders Award 2023 are:

  • Natalya Nepomnyashcha, Founder, Netzwerk Chancen
  • Irene Selvanathan, CEO & Co-Founder, NEUROSPACE GmbH

Netzwerk Chancen, founded by Natalya Nepomnyashcha, is a start-up that focuses on improving career opportunities for people from disadvantaged social backgrounds. As of today, it has provided free career support for over 1800 young adults through coaching, workshops, mentoring, and other job opportunities. The organization is committed advocating for equal opportunities for children, youth, and adults from underprivileged families. Netzwerk Chancen also partners with companies to promote social diversity and assist in their efforts to integrate diversity into their workforce. The organization’s goal is to achieve a more inclusive society and leveling the playing field for those facing socio-economic barriers to success. “I am incredibly grateful for the award. As a founder who founded a start-up as a side hustle on top of a full-time job, I’m proud of what we have accomplished supporting people from underprivileged backgrounds on their paths. I hope my founding story inspires others - especially women - to become sidepreneurs,” remarked Nepomnyashcha.

NEUROSPACE GmbH, co-founded by Irene Selvanathan, is a Berlin-based NewSpace company that was founded by a team of experienced engineers specializing in space engineering, software, and physics. The company develops space technology using modern machine learning applications. NEUROSPACE GmbH aims to provide a new perspective on space exploration to the global space community through cutting-edge technological development.
“This award, presented by a chamber with so many well-known business representatives, is an incredible honor for us because we feel recognized and give ourselves attention and confirmation in our actions. It is an important milestone for us and also encourages us in our future plans, including opening an office in America and gaining a foothold there,”
Selvanathan noted.

Prominent speakers during the ceremony included Dr. Amy Gutmann, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Dr. Anna Christmann, Member of the German Bundestag, Commissioner of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action for the Digital Economy and Start-ups, Dr. Marianne Janik, CEO, Microsoft Germany, and Award Patron of the Female Founders Award, Simone Menne, AmCham Germany President, and Maria Gross, Managing Director of GERMANTECH. The event was hosted by Prof. Dr. Torsten Oltmanns, Regional Chair of the Berlin Brandenburg Chapter of AmCham Germany and Managing Director at Center for Sustainable Transformation at Quadriga University.

The following founders were shortlisted:

  • Dr. Kathrin Goldammer, CEO & Co-Founder, Localiser RLI GmbH
  • Leitha Matz, Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder & Head of Creators, finmarie GmbH
  • Maxie Matthiessen, CEO & Founder, FEMNA Health GmbH

Following individuals comprised the independent jury:

  • Nadine Bütow, Founder of CommsART and member of Digital Media Women e.V. in Berlin
  • Dr. Guido Brinkel, Head of Regulatory Policy & Director Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Germany
  • Maria Gross, Managing Director at GERMANTECH
  • Carolin Schäufele, CEO and Managing Editor at SHE works!
  • Andreas Schwaiger, Vice President and Managing Director at Texas Instruments Germany
  • Edith Stier-Thompson, Managing Director at news aktuell
  • Prof. Dr. Torsten Oltmanns, Regional Chapter Chair Berlin Brandenburg, AmCham Germany; Managing Director at Center for Sustainable Transformation at Quadriga University


“The Female Founders Award is a recognition of those who have taken risks and created innovative businesses while contributing also to the values of the transatlantic partnership. With the award, we emphasize the importance of fostering a richer business culture in terms of diversity and continue a dialogue between business and politics to promote a more equitable society," remarked Simone Menne, President of AmCham Germany.

About the Female Founders Award

With the Female Founders Award, AmCham Germany aims to provide a visibility and networking platform for female leaders and highlight the role women have in entrepreneurship and innovation. The award seeks to honor women who have founded solid business models based on unique ideas and, thus, motivate other women to become entrepreneurs themselves as they are still in the minority of the start-up ecosystem on both sides of the Atlantic.

AmCham Germany’s Female Founders Award is a proud supporter of the EMPOWERHER Initiative, a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the AmChams in Europe (ACE) Network to advance women’s economic empowerment in the workplace and support women-led entrepreneurial endeavors.

You can read more about the Female Founders Award here.

You can find the German version of this press release here.



For more detailed information please contact:

Heather Liermann

Head of Department

Membership Engagement & Development