#IWD2016 – 5 inspiring Social Ventures making waves in their fields.

To celebrate International Womens Day 2016, we’re celebrating the successes of Social Ventures, led by inspiring women, who are making waves in their fields.

This year the theme for #IWD2016 is ‘Pledge for Parity’, a campaign designed to promote, and, ultimately, accelerate, the closing of the gender gap, which it has been estimated, at the current rate, won’t be closed entirely until 2133. We’re pleased to say that Social Ventures, meaning businesses that put making an impact for people or planet at their heart, are already ahead of the curve.

At Allia, we are proud and privileged to have worked with a huge range of social and environmental ventures, through the provision of both workspace solutions and enterprise support, and that a large proportion of these businesses have been female led.

Social Incubator East, one of Allia’s incubation programmes, has trained over 238 social ventures at their Social Venture Weekends, a massive 60% of these businesses having been led by women. Of the 60 social ventures who have benefited from this 12 month incubator programme, again over 50% have had female founders or CEOs.

Similarly, Neil Prem, Head of Enterprise Engagement at Allia, is currently supporting 40 entrepreneurs through our enterprise support programme, including an impressive 26 (65%) women.

But it’s not just about the figures. The ongoing successes of the businesses in question speak for themselves. From Gene Adviser to Form the Future, these female entrepreneurs are making names for themselves, and finding creative, business led solutions, to societal and environmental problems, which make a big impact on people or the planet. Take a look at some of the wonderful women making waves at Allia’s Future Business Centre below:

Dr Jelena Aleksic BioBusiness Rising Star

GeneAdviser – Dr Jelena Aleksic, CEO & Founder

The GeneAdviser platform launched early last month, offering a new way for doctors across the globe to access genetic testing, and both Jelena and GeneAdviser have already picked up a number of impressive awards.

In the last 6 months, Jelena has been named FDM Everywoman in Tech start-up woman of the year, was listed in the BioBeat top 50 movers and shakers in BioTech & GeneAdviser was named winner of the 2015 Cambridge Wireless Discovering Start-Ups competition hosted by Deloitte in London. We can’t wait to see what’s next for this exciting start-up…


Fiona Nielsen of Repositive

Repositive – Fiona Nielsen CEO

Repositive Limited, a software company, who develop novel tools to improve access to human genomic research data, has had a hugely successful start to 2016. In February, they secured £500,000 of seed funding from Amadeus Capital, Seedcamp, ClearlySo and Cambridge Angels. Fiona Nielsen, CEO of Repositive, said: “This additional seed funding will bring us to public launch of the Repositive platform to build upon our popularity and success with beta users.”

They were also announced as a winner of the inaugural 2015 Pistoia Alliance President’s Start Up Challenge. You can watch their winning video entry, and find out more about the competition here.



GAP Learning – Teresa Crickmar & Amanda Keel, Co-Founders.

GAP Learning empowers vulnerable people to create beautiful products that last, have a meaning and can be sold. For every £1 GAP Learning has spent in it’s first year, their SOIR report calculates that they have generated £60.79 of social return, through building skills, helping return to work and building relationships. As the business and workshops continue to grow, the team have established an online shop as an outlet for the products their learners produce, helping to support further courses and to support the learners own ventures.



Form the Future – Anne Bailey & Michaela Eschbach, Co-founders.

Form the Future connects schools and businesses to help students prepare for their future careers. Students gain insight, skills and experience while businesses can invest in their future workforce. In the last academic year alone they connected over 10,000 students with employers to expand their horizons and improve their skills.

Their packed events calendar gives a clear insight into the value this company is providing for students and employers in the Cambridgeshire area, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they grow over the next 12 months.


SugarWise – Rend Platings, CEO & Founder

SugarWise, founded by Rend Platings, is on a mission to to open up more choices in food and drink low in free sugars, and the charity is now working to introduce a transparent means for identifying low sugar options ‘Level Cert’. This voluntary certification process is designed to provide a positive reinforcement for brands low in free sugars, taking inspiration from the ‘Fair Trade’ certification.

LevelCert has received a wide range of support, has been a prominent feature in the press over the past few months, and have worked with TV Chef Jamie Oliver, who famously fights childhood obesity across the globe. Currently working with a number of household brands, we’re looking forward to seeing the SugarWise Logo on supermarket shelves!


Leave a comment

Please note your email address will not be published. All fields are required.