Polly Van Alstyne
Polly Van Alstyne

Three female entrepreneurs crowned winners at 2017 AccelerateHER Awards

Three Scottish-based female entrepreneurs are celebrating after securing an all-expense paid trip to meet US investors in California next month.

Rebecca Pick of Pick Protection, Heather McDonald of WooHa Brewing and Polly Van Alstyne of Scottish Biotechnology were all named as winners in the Growth Category at this year’s AccelerateHER Awards. The award winning entrants were unveiled at the Investing Women Ambition and Growth conference in Edinburgh, held in Edinburgh last night (Thursday, 9 March).

Rebecca Pick

Co-founded by Rebecca Pick in 2014, Glasgow-based Pick Protection provides innovative personal protection devices for the student and lone worker market. The members of the awards judging panel commended Pick for her business, highlighting a ‘fantastic strategic partnership’ with Unipart which could help her company command a UK, EU and international marketplace.

Wooha Brewing in Nairn, established by Heather in 2014, produces a range of award winning bottled conditioned ales and lagers which have a distinct focus on the rapidly expanding export market. Heather was praised by the judges for developing a ‘smart’ branding with potential to attract broad consumer appeal.

Heather Macleod

Scottish Biotechnology, based in Midlothian, was founded in 2007 – its Director of Operations, Polly Van Alstyne, has advised the business since its inception. Scottish Biotechnology produces an extract from algae that is used as an internationally approved natural blue food colourant or healthy additive to juices, waters and even pet foods. The judges recognised Scottish Biotechnology’s focus on an interesting market which has few competitors and described Polly as a highly credible businesswoman.

In addition to the Growth category, a number of up and coming female entrepreneurs and their companies were recognised in the Ambition category:

Karena Moore of Kittiwig
Catherine Truel of Alegrant
Sydney Chasin of Lil Pop
Catriona Morrison of Everactiv Apparel
Laura Draper of Gooseberry Pink
Joanna Mackenzie of Clean Bees
Fiona McIntyre of Grey Hope Bay
Victoria Hamilton of Recoil Knee Pads
Mari Hawkes of Johnnie Mac’s Oysters Ltd
Angel Xue of Hi Home Away
Martha Mackenzie of Seltza

In its second year, The AccelerateHER Awards competition is designed to give female-led businesses in Scotland an ideal platform to promote themselves and potentially attract business angel investment.

Jackie Waring, CEO of Investing Women which runs the AccelerateHER Awards said: “Congratulations to our three Growth category winners, all of which are highly investable businesses which are run by a female. I look forward to accompanying them to meet an audience of global investors at the Angel Capital Association conference in California next month.

“This is only our second year of staging the AccelerateHER Awards where the quality of those taking part was exceptional. We were blown away by the standard of award submissions this year so I would like to acknowledge all those who took part. We will be looking to build on last year’s competition where four of the six finalists secured over £2m worth of growth financing between them since their involvement in the programme.”

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