Fiona Scott Lazareff is an entrepreneur, publisher, writer, sportswoman and pilot who launched The Techpreneur of the Year Award in March this year to encourage women to become involved in tech start-ups – she also chairs its judging panel. Formerly a magazine publisher, Fiona was among the first women to raise institutional funding to launch a real-time reservations platform, before taking over divento.com in 2002. Today she is CEO of divento.com and is on the Committee of University Women’s Club in London, where the awards were hosted on 27th June 2014.
“…The word “tech” and the idea of starting a business need no longer be stereotyped to males – and we hope the success of these awards will enable more women to start their own businesses and apply for next years’ awards…”
Have you always dreamed of starting a business, but never quite dared?
I believe from my own experience as a techpreneur, that most women are capable of succeeding. I also think they are particularly suited to tech related start-ups, which can offer enormous flexibility in terms of where and when you work.
Images of alien techpreneur stereotypes: usually male
Unfortunately the word “tech” and the idea of starting a business often conjures up images of alien stereotypes: usually male! Yet skills such as marketing, design, sales and team leadership are often just as important. So if you don’t consider yourself to be an expert in MYSQL or PHP or in ROIs and cash flows, don’t worry: all you need is the ability to find the right people who are.
What you need is imagination and resolve
I have launched Techpreneurs.co.uk to encourage women to set up tech-related businesses. The idea is to pull established and would be techpreneurs together so we can share our resources, our knowledge and contacts to make women techpreneurs a phenomenon of the 21st century.
It’s easy to forget just how difficult it was to get the awards up and running. A month after the awards had opened, there was only one entry on our system: the test we had run to see if the platform worked.
It was the normal entrepreneur’s nightmare of coming up against the unexpected. Fortunately, thanks to everybody’s help, the word got out and we ended up with yet another surprise: a mind-boggling 67 entries.
Reward and acknowledge exceptional techpreneur women
This has been an incredible first year for the awards, which has allowed us to finally reward and acknowledge the exceptional women within the tech industry.
New innovations and advances in technology continue to change dramatically but this group of finalists has not only embraced these developments, but is genuinely creating a path for the next generation of female professionals.
Unrivalled potential, talent and success
These awards are designed to honour these female leaders and start-ups for their unrivalled potential, talent and success in the industry and to be an advocate for women in technology at all levels.
The word “tech” and the idea of starting a business need no longer be stereotyped to males – and we hope the success of these awards will enable more women to start their own businesses and apply for next years’ awards.
There were two main categories to enter this year:
Conceptual: For women involved in enterprises that have not yet started actively trading
Laura Willoughby – Club Soda
Also highly commended were:
- Emma Coles – Adlet
- Nathalie Richards – Edukit
- Sinead MacManus – Fluency
- Karoline Gross – Smartzer
- Victoria Thomas – Trigah
Veterans: For women who play a definitive role in an existing company which has been trading for less than five years, and has a turnover of less than £10m
Rosemary Francis – Ellexus
Also highly commended were:
- Lucy Yu – Swiftkey
- Irina Turcan – Arti:i:curate
- Kal di Paola – BuyMyWardrobe
- Kelley Klein – Student@Home
- Victoria Johnson – VetCT