Empowering Change

Celebrating International Women's Day and Our Women-Led Startups

International Women's Day is a global celebration of the achievements, contributions, and progress made by women around the world. In the spirit of this empowering day, we are proud to shine a spotlight on the incredible women entrepreneurs leading the way in our Global Start-up Service. These visionary women are not just breaking glass ceilings; they are shattering stereotypes and reshaping the landscape of innovation and business.

The rise of women-led start-ups:

To our delight, we notice a steady increase in the application of women led and/or founded start-ups in the applications for our GSS. These entrepreneurs bring unique perspectives, creativity, and resilience to the business world. Our commitment to supporting these trailblazers stems from the belief that diverse leadership is not only essential for fostering innovation but also for creating a more inclusive and equitable future.

Highlighting our women leaders:


Germany-based start-up ClimEtSan-OnTheGround has implemented an integrated approach of pyrolysis cookstoves, eco-toilets, compost, and regenerative agriculture for climate-smart projects. The start-up recycles waste from eco-sanitation together with other organic waste and combines it with biochar to produce hygienically safe, nutrient-rich, and climate-smart fertilisers.

Katharina Prost, founder of ClimEtSan-OnTheGround

RAY Cosmetics

In Bahirdar, Rewla Ephrem, CEO of RAY Cosmetics, leads a team dedicated to sustainability and innovation. Concerned by pollution in Lake Tana, they founded RAY Cosmetics in 2021, using fish waste to create skincare products. Their diverse team blends expertise in engineering, business, and dermatology to address environmental challenges while empowering their community.

Rewla Ephrem, RAY Cosmetics CEO and co-founder

Le Qara

Isemar and Jacqueline, sisters from Arequipa, Peru, founded Le Qara in 2017 to address chromium pollution from local leather tanneries. With backgrounds in engineering and design, they're leading the charge to transform the leather industry sustainably. The name, meaning "leather" in Quechua, reflects their commitment to transforming the leather industry towards sustainability and circularity. Through their innovative approach, Isemar and Jacqueline exemplify the power of women founders in driving positive change.

Isemar and Jacqueline Cruz, Founders of Le Qara


BlockchainAR, established in 2018, is a testament to women founders' entrepreneurial spirit. Led by Sara Goldberg, Mariano Nogueron, Veronica Venturini, and Cecilia Mayas Paez, their diverse expertise in innovation, industrial operations, data science, and energy markets converged to launch the startup. With a multidisciplinary team including engineers, data scientists, and project managers, Blockchainar pioneers green energy solutions using blockchain technology. Their name reflects their proactive approach, aiming to catalyze action in the green energy transition.

Ecorich Solutions

Ecorich Solutions' journey began when a group of experts united to address environmental challenges through sustainable waste management. Led by CEO Joyce Rugano and co-founder Robinson Irekwa, their team devised an innovative solution to recycle food waste into organic fertilizer, reducing methane emissions and enhancing soil health. Despite modest beginnings, Ecorich's impact has grown, reaching over 3,150 farmers and earning recognition in prestigious awards such as the African Women in Agribusiness. Their story embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to sustainability.

 Two african women dressed in Ecorich´s company shirts surrounded by palms and greenery, smiling into camera
Joyce Rugano, CEO, Founder & Managing director and Ruth Wanjiru, field representative.

New Dawn Silicones

New Dawn Silicones (formerly: We Are Galaktika) founded in 2021 by Tina Rose and Klara Yoon, set out to create a zero-waste menstrual cup. Realizing the need for a unique approach, they partnered with scientist Stephan Enthaler to develop recycled silicone technology. Recognized for their innovative vision, they won the "Circular Together" competition and joined Impact Hub Berlin's incubator programme in 2022. Transitioning to a B2B model, they now offer recycled silicone for various products, driven by their commitment to reducing CO2 emissions and making a lasting impact on sustainability.

 two women smiling into the camera
Klara Yoon & Tina Rose, co-founders of New Dawn Silcones

Natupla: Natural Plastic

Natupla founded in March 2021 by Katerin Carrillo (CEO & co-founder) and her father Ramon Carrillo, tackles single-use plastic pollution with their innovative starch-based alternative. With over 25 years of combined entrepreneurial experience and expertise in bio-based polymers, they launched Natupla after participating in the "Business Ideas for Development" program by CIM/GIZ. Their dedication to sustainability and entrepreneurial spirit drives their mission to combat plastic waste.

Katerin Carrillo, CEO & co-founder of Natupla (in the middle)

Microciclo Biotecnologia

Microciclo Biotecnologia, a women-led start-up from Brazil, pioneers a microbial treatment for decontaminating industrial oily wastewater. Founded as a spin-off from the research lab at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, the team of 5 researchers, all with master’s degrees and PhDs, is committed to translating their 15 years of research into action. Despite being located outside Brazil's industrial hubs, they demonstrate unwavering dedication by traveling long distances to test their innovative solution, aiming to revolutionise waste management practices.

 five women in protective clothes chatting in a labor.
From right to left Kamilla Barbalho (Ms), Marbella Fonsêca (PhD), Lucymara Agnez Lima (PhD), Carolina Minnicelli (PhD) and Rita Portela (PhD). Photo: Cícero Oliveira – Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN)


AHEZA IWACU a women-led African start-up, revolutionizes waste management in Burundi. Founded in 2017 by CEO Aniella Niyondiko, the team pioneers innovative solutions for local organic and plastic waste, promoting a circular economy and sustainable food systems. Their efforts include educating smallholders and introducing the "Heza App" for waste management education. Guided by a passion for solving existing problems, AHEZA IWACU is transforming the waste management landscape in Burundi.

 Two women wearing white polo shirts looking at the camera - Aniella and Carmen @Labyllstar Productions
Aniella Niyondiko, CEO and founder, and Carmen Kanziza, Associate and Board Member


Innoverda a French start-up founded by Dr. Irene Erdelmeier, revolutionises chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing with innovative flow electrosynthesis. Dr. Erdelmeier's extensive experience in the industry, coupled with her involvement in previous start-ups, led to the founding of Innoverda in 2017. The company offers sustainable solutions that significantly reduce energy consumption, chemical waste, and financial costs, aiming to transform traditional industrial processes. Through their expertise in electrochemical methods, particularly flow electrosynthesis, Innoverda pioneers new possibilities for organic synthesis and drives innovation in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors.


E[co]work led by its women founders, offers a groundbreaking solution to the mounting challenge of electronic waste (e-waste) management, particularly in India. Set to open in Delhi, this innovative initiative provides a safe space for dismantling e-waste while facilitating efficient recycling practices. By prioritising worker safety and environmental responsibility, E[co]work aims to address the pressing need for sustainable e-waste management, safeguarding the well-being of communities and the planet.

Dr. Deepali Khetriwal, Dea Wehrli and Michael Gasser, The founders of E[co]work

Challenges Faced and Overcome:

Despite their remarkable achievements, female entrepreneurs still often face unique challenges in the business world. From gender bias to access to funding, these women have confronted and overcome obstacles with resilience and determination. By sharing their stories, we hope to inspire others and advocate for a more supportive and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Supporting the Next Generation:

As we celebrate International Women's Day, we recognise the importance of fostering an environment where aspiring female entrepreneurs can thrive. Through mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and dedicated resources, we aim to pave the way for the next generation of women leaders to turn their dreams into reality.

Do you know more female led start-ups in Sustainable Chemistry? Let them know about our Global Start-up Service to further female empowerment.

Also, have a look at our mentors and experts programmes – maybe there’s a perfect fit for you? Or do you know women that would perfectly fit to be added to our programmes?


On International Women's Day, let us celebrate the achievements of women in entrepreneurship and acknowledge the transformative power of female-led start-ups. By supporting and uplifting these trailblazers, we contribute to a future where diversity, innovation, and equality are at the forefront of business success. Together, we can create a world where every woman has the opportunity to lead, innovate, and make a lasting impact.