Record seven Irish female entrepreneurs up for EU innovation awards

Over 260 applications from 35 countries for the EU Prize for Women Innovators

A record seven Irish female entrepreneurs have been shortlisted for prestigious European Union-backed innovation prizes.

They have been selected from more than 260 applications from 35 countries for the EU Prize for Women Innovators awards.

Five Irish women are named among 17 candidates competing for three prizes of €100,000 each in the Women Innovators category. A further two are in the running for the Rising Innovator title which recognises entrepreneurs under the age of 30 and comes with a €50,000 award.

The five Irish women named as finalists in the primary award are:


Anita Finnegan, co-founder and chief executive of Nova Leah, a Dundalk-based cybersecurity company that develops risk assessment software for connected medical devices.

Ciara Clancy, founder and chief executive of Beats Therapuetics, which is developing technology solutions to tackle the mobility symptoms associated with Parkinson's s disease.

Lisa O'Donoghue, founder and chief executive of Votechnik, a start-up providing automated recycling technology for safe and sustainable disposal of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) units.

Patricia Scanlon, founder and executive chair of Soapbox Labs, a company developing an innovative speech-recognition solution for children.

Suzanne Moloney, founder and chief executive of Hidramed Solutions, which offers advanced wound care solutions for everyday care of chronic wounds.

In addition, Ailbhe and Izzy Keane, founders of Izzy Wheels, which create fashionable covers for wheelchairs, are shortlisted for the rising innovator category.

Both Ms Finnegan and Ailbhe Keane were shortlisted in the same categories in last year's awards.

The awards were launched in 2011 to help raise awareness of the need for more female entrepreneurs.

Although there are more women than men in Europe, three quarters of start-ups in Europe are founded by men, with just 8 per cent established by all-women teams. In addition, 92 per cent of all funds raised by European VC-backed companies in 2019 went to all-male founding teams.

The winners of the awards re due to be announced at the end of November.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist