Female Founders Award Ceremony 2023

Members of the transatlantic community gathered in Berlin to celebrate AmCham Germany's fourth Female Founders Award Ceremony
Photo copyright: Christian Kruppa

AmCham Germany hosted its fourth Female Founders Award Ceremony at the Microsoft Berlin Office to celebrate the innovative stories of five female founders and recognize the success of their business models.

AmCham Germany President, Simone Menne and Dr. Marianne Janik, CEO of Microsoft Germany and Patron of the Award kicked-off the event. Simone Menne underlined the significance of the award for AmCham Germany’s goals to foster a diverse and innovative business climate and provide visibility to female founders. A continuous dialogue between business and politics is essential to move forward a more equitable society.

Dr. Janik emphasized the significance of the award and of the evening - not only as a recognition, but as an initiative to promote visibility for courageous female entrepreneurs. She underlined the significant gap in the proportion of female founders within Germany and how transatlantic societies must work to foster friendly business climates for entrepreneurs to thrive.

U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Dr. Amy Gutmann delivered the first keynote speech of the evening. In her speech, she focused on the importance of empowering women and how it is a crucial investment in the success of democracy. The Empower Her Initiative, an initiative led by the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the AmChams in Europe Network (ACE) was highlighted as a significant effort in supporting this cause. She emphasized the need for women to have a seat at the table and make inclusive innovation a priority. Companies become more innovative when they bring diverse people together, making inclusivity a critical factor in achieving success.

Dr. Anna Christmann, Member of the German Bundestag, Commissioner of the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Climate Action for Economic Affairs and Climate Action for the Digital Economy and Start-ups gave insight to the key goals of the start-up strategy of the ministry. These include: creating frameworks to support female founders, including venture capital financing, fostering a friendlier venture ecosystem, as well as skill development programs. It is essential to build up on the networks that already exist, and to diversify the start-up scene in Germany, she added.

Torsten Oltmanns, AmCham Germnay Chapter Chair Berlin-Brandenburg and Dr. Marianne Janik announced the two winners of this year:

Natalya Nepomnyashcha, Founder, Netzwerk Chancen

Irene Selvanathan, CEO & Founder, NEUROSPACE

Netzwerk Chancen, founded by Natalya Nepomnyashcha, is a start-up that offers free career support for people from disadvantaged social backgrounds by assisting them via coaching, workshops, mentoring, and other job opportunities. Its goal is to achieve a more inclusive society by advocating for equal opportunities and leveling the playing field for those facing socio-economic barriers to success.

NEUROSPACE is a Berlin-based NewSpace company co-founded by Irene Selvanathan. The company specializes in space engineering, software, and physics and aims to develop space technology using modern machine learning applications. NEUROSPACE aims to provide a new perspective on space exploration through innovative technological development.

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

Afterwards,Maria Gross, Managing Director at GERMANTECH, moderated a short panel discussion with the award recipients. The discussion centered around Ms. Nepomnyashcha’s and Ms. Selvanathan’s views and experience in their entrepreneurial endeavors, the background of their businesses and their goals as female founders.

Torsten Oltmanns, Regional Chapter Chair Berlin Brandenburg, AmCham Germany; Managing Director at Center for Sustainable Transformation at Quadriga University hosted the award ceremony.

We wish to thank our cooperation partner, Microsoft Germany, and especially our Award Patron, Dr. Marianne Janik for their generous support and commitment to the Female Founders Award. We also thank the Empower Her Initiative for their support of our award.

A warm thank you goes to our sponsors Texas Instruments, Lilly Deutschland, our mobility partner Uber, as well as our media and network partners news aktuell, Digital Media Women, SHE Works!, UPS Women Exporters, Grace, GERMANTECH, GreenbergTraurig, herCAREER, Transatlantic Female Forum, Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie, and think.speak.transform. A heartfelt thank you goes to our jury and to all the inspiring women who applied to this year’s award with their unique stories and business models.

You can read the press release here.

For more detailed information please contact:

Heather Liermann

Head of Department

Membership Engagement & Development