FEM-START, a platform for education, mentoring, and networking to bridge the funding gap for female entrepreneurs, announced Laurie Lancee of Amsterdam-based Vini Mini as the winner of the FEM-START Up Awards 2023.
Laurie Lancee, the founder of Vini Mini, is on a mission to simplify and improve infant nutrition. Her startup was born out of her exploration, which revealed several missing elements in the first 1000 days of a newborn’s life.
Lancee, alongside co-founder Jozien Boersma, aims to make the allergen introduction process easier, healthier, and safer for parents. Vini Mini provides a solution for parents looking to feed allergens to their little ones.
“Vini Mini is the convincing winner, because of the unprecedented drive and strength of its owners. Together with its advisory board, which adds medical expertise, and its partners, this company has the right structure to realize its growth plans. Vini Mini has the potential to become the player of choice in the field of preventive child health care,” says the jury, which included Rodney Lam (CEO of Daily Paper) and Jacqueline van den Ende (CEO of the successful Carbon Equity).
As the winner of the FEM-START Up Awards, Laurie Lancee received an investment of €100,000 from Antler. This financial boost will enable Vini Mini to further develop and scale its innovative solution.
Additionally, Kinga Matula of QurieGen secured the second spot and earned a trip to Silicon Valley, providing her with valuable networking opportunities and potential investments.
The third edition of the FEM-START Up Awards was inaugurated by Alderman Sofyan Mbarki, who says, “Wonderful to witness such important innovations. The dedication to making an impact both locally and globally, to address the most pressing global issues from decarbonisation to drug development – represents exactly the kind of work that Amsterdam, and all of the Netherlands, should cherish and support.”
Marian Spier, CEO, says, “In a blistering finale, the FEM-START Awards powered by Antler crowned a deserved winner. We express our deep gratitude to all the participating women entrepreneurs whose passion and perseverance made this competition an extraordinary success.”
Finalists with impactful solutions
Among the finalists of the FEM-START Up awards, four other exceptional startups showcased their groundbreaking solutions:
- QurieGen: Led by Kinga Matula, QurieGen focuses on accelerating the development of effective medication. By streamlining processes and minimising unnecessary tests, QurieGen aims to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry.
- Merqato: Claire Bénard’s Merqato platform leverages AI to tackle the issue of waste in the fresh produce sector. By optimising supply chains and reducing food waste, Merqato aims to create a more sustainable and efficient system.
- SEA02: SEA02, founded by Monica Larrazabal, is dedicated to reducing CO2 concentration in the oceans to combat global warming. Their innovative technology aims to contribute to a healthier planet by mitigating the effects of climate change.
- Sirius: Anastasia Kuskova’s startup, Sirius, aims to make the metal industry more sustainable. By implementing eco-friendly practices and innovative technologies, Sirius seeks to reduce the environmental impact of metal production.
Overcoming funding challenges for Women
FEM-START, in collaboration with partner Antler, embarked on a mission to identify and support female-led startups in impact-driven sectors such as technology, fintech, and healthcare.
The goal was to equip these entrepreneurs with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the funding landscape successfully. Research conducted by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship & FEM-START revealed that 33 per cent of women hesitate to seek funding due to feelings of fear, loss of control, and insecurity.
The FEM-START Up Awards journey began with a rigorous selection process, where 15 promising startups were chosen out of over 90 applications. These selected entrepreneurs received training and mentoring on funding strategies to enhance their chances of success.
Throughout the process, FEM-START and Antler provided guidance and support, ensuring that the participants were well-prepared to present their ideas and secure investments.
FEM-START: What you need to know
Marian Spier celebrated female entrepreneurship through the Startup Awards for five years.
In 2020, amid the pandemic, she established FEM-START with Sandra van der Pal, Simone van Bijsterveldt, and Ellen Tacoma to bridge the funding gap for female entrepreneurs.
FEM-START is an e-educational platform offering courses on funding and entrepreneurship to help female entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.
The platform aims to fund 100,000 women by 2030.