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65,000 euros for the most innovative business start-ups by women
The criteria for the award of the prize are clearly defined. The focus is on the viable business concept, the degree of innovation of the business idea, the personal involvement of the founder, and the number of new jobs created or expected. The benefactor and the judging panel are also happy to see entrepreneurial concepts from the social sector as well as from female founders with a migration background. Entrepreneurs who have been self-employed for no longer than three years are eligible to participate. In the primary application phase, all applicants must fill out a standardised application form and submit it by 31 July 2019. Three business ideas are rewarded. The first prize is endowed with 50,000 euros, the second prize with 10,000 euros and the third prize with 5,000 euros. From the large number of entries, five applicants are usually given the opportunity to pitch themselves and their founding idea in person to the judging panel. A place for the final round will be awarded through audience voting. The award ceremony will take place in Hamburg in November 2019.
The prize is under the patronage of Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schipanski. The winners will be selected by a top-class panel of judges chaired by Prof. Dr. Rolf Eggert. The other members of the judging panel of judges are: Dr. Frank Dettmann, Dr. Necla Kelek, Norbert Leopoldseder, Wilfried Peters, Dr. Anita Plantikow and Dr. Jelena Stojadinovic (winner of the Darboven IDEE Sponsorship Prize 2015). The award winner is a very good example of an outstanding scientific career and the subsequent path of a successful spin-off. MEMBRASENZ GmbH, the company she founded, has developed an innovative membrane for the production of hydrogen (H2). The membrane used in alkaline electrolysis ensures the separation of hydrogen from the atmosphere, thus guaranteeing safe handling and purity of the hydrogen produced. Hydrogen (H2) in gaseous and liquid form is already being used on an industrial scale and is becoming increasingly competitive as an alternative energy source. Hydrogen can thus contribute to mastering the challenges of the energy revolution.
In 2017, the panel of judges selected five topics in the final that could not have been more different. Dr. Joyce Schmatz presented her imaging microstructure analysis, which showed the nanostructure of samples. Dr. Ruzin Ağanoğlu presented Lab-on-Fiber laser probes that make it possible, for the first time, to irradiate cancer cells precisely and communicate data to the surgeon in real time. Artificial intelligence was the subject of Manuela Rasthofer's work that can produce world maps of information from ordinary aerial photographs. Tanja Nickel and Katharina Obladen on the other hand came up with the idea of preventing pandemics with UV-C radiation by disinfecting handrails as well as escalators with UV radiation. The fifth finalist, Mariam Vollmar, impressed the audience with her children's furniture, which is supposed to prevent movement injuries by simulating riding movements.
With facts and figures, with Powerpoint and videos and with their vision and self-confident appearances, each finalist seized the opportunity the day before the award ceremony to pitch themselves and their business concepts to a six-member, top-class panel of judges chaired by Prof. Dr. Rolf Eggert. While formal criteria played a major role in the pre-selection, in the final it was important to pitch to the panel of judges in person and on site at the Darboven Academy in Hamburg as well as to respond to enquiries. The finalists were selected from the 146 applications received by the panel of judges.
In two panel sessions, the panel of judges reviewed the most promising concepts and requested further materials, including their respective business plans, profit and loss accounts, employee development strategies, and patent applications. Four young companies made it directly into the finals: Dr. Joyce Schmatzs Microstructures and Pores GmbH, Manuela Rasthofers TerraLoupe GmbH, Tanja Nickels & Katharina Obladens UVIS UV Innovative Solutions GmbH and Dr. Ruzin Ağanoğlus Lab-on-Fiber GmbH. Furthermore, the panel of judges selected nine candidates for an audience vote on brigitte.de. The female readership gave 45,000 clicks for their favorites: Mariam Vollmar’s KOH - Kings of Horses - received the most votes.