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Press Berlin-Brandenburg Entrepreneurship Media Library Event Report

Female Founders Award 2019: Role Models and Inspiring Business Models


As part of the Transatlantic Evening, on 4 December, AmCham Germany honored three female founders, who have asserted themselves in the application process with their innovative and successful business models. The focus of the winners’ start-ups lies on innovation in integration, robotics and AI. As female founders are still a minority in the start-up ecosystem on both sides of the Atlantic, AmCham Germany’s Female Founders Award is setting an example by honoring successful female (co-)founders as positive role models.

The winners of the Female Founders Award 2019 are:

  • Zarah Bruhn, Co-Founder & CEO, Social-Bee gGmbH
  • Xenia Scholl, Co-Founder & COO, TeleRetail
  • Michelle Skodowski, CO-Founder & COO, BOTfriends

Social Bee, founded by Zarah Bruhn, is Germany’s first integration service provider. By social hiring-out of employees, the start-up as a non-profit company enables the sustainable integration of refugees. Managing Director Zarah Bruhn explains: “The Female Founders Award helps to make female founders visible and to point out positive examples. They draw attention to the job description and show other women that one can also or especially as a woman be successful in the founder scene.”

With software for self-propelled robots, TeleRetail automates the industrial and urban logistics of the last mile. The company’s award-winning Aito software also controls autonomous vehicles of almost any size. “A start-up is an exciting journey with many challenges. Every support counts and is worth its salt. I would be very happy if more women decided to set up their own start-ups and realize their ideas and visions,” says Xenia Scholl, founder of TeleRetail.

Botfriends also focuses on artificial intelligence. Together with 12 employees, founder Michelle Skodowski develops chatbots in messenger platforms and voice assistants. “With the AmCham Germany Female Founders Award we can set an example and inspire women for the topic of reasoning by creating role models. The membership in AmCham Germany enables me to exchange ideas with other successful and courageous women and to build up a network. That’s great,” says Michelle Skodowski.

We need more inspiring role models

“I’ve never had female role models. We have to change that,” said Maria Gross, Managing Director of Germantech and part of the Female Founders Award jury. In her remarks, she made clear that we need more inspiring role models for future female founders and that it is important that organizations such as AmCham Germany make them visible.

In addition to the innovative strength of the business model, financing and growth figures were also evaluated in the selection process. “We are delighted to award the Female Founders Award to three passionate founders and their successful and promising business models,” explained Eveline Metzen, Managing Director of AmCham Germany. Jury member Torsten Oltmanns, Chairman of the Berlin Chapter of AmCham Germany and Partner at Roland Berger, emphasizes: “It is particularly important to us to combine American founding spirit and German entrepreneurship. The three winners are role models for other female entrepreneurs, inspiring and motivating other women to become entrepreneurially active.”

Adel Al-Saleh, Member of the Board of Deutsche Telekom AG and CEO T-Systems, and Thomas Langkabel, Technology Officer Microsoft Germany, also spoke at the ceremony. The evening was moderated by Chelsea Spieker, Podcast Host with Media Pioneer.

Find more information about our Female Founders Award here.

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