FDM everywoman in Technology Awards are hugely respected in the tech community, and champion 50 women shaking up the tech industry in the UK and beyond.
Research by PwC has found that only 5% of leadership roles in the technology sector are held by women and just 3% of British female school students would consider a career in tech. A shortage of female role models was cited as one of the main reasons young women don’t feel encouraged to nurture their interest in technology, which is why platforms such as the FDM everywoman in Technology Awards that share the success stories of individuals at all stages of their career are so vital.
We are bursting with pride to announce that the overall Woman of the Year was Felicia Meyerowitz Singh, CEO and Founder of portfolio company Akoni.
On setting up her own finance business in India, Felicia identified a lack of resources available to SMEs and that banks didn’t offer decent interest rates to small businesses. This inspired Akoni – a digital cash management tool, specifically for smaller businesses, investors and charities. Felicia is dedicated to gender diversity in finance and technology, which is why she founded a “Female Founder” group offering mentorship to young female entrepreneurs and dedicates her time to promoting gender equality. Her passion for helping small businesses thrive and succeed is what made her truly stand out to the judging panel.
We caught up with Felicia to find out how this award had impacted her and her business.
What does it mean to you to win this award?
Winning “Woman of the Year” recognises the role of women introducing innovative ideas to market and honouring such achievements as well as providing a platform for young children, particularly young girls, to normalise seeing women as strong leaders and role models in technology. Statistics of women in both leadership roles as well as in technology are extremely poor and we need to have clear research across life markers to understand the maximum points of intervention. Recent research has also shown women run only 6% of businesses in the U.K. vs 11% in the USA and 9% in Australia – even increasing this to 9% would contribute £200Bn to the economy. The solution is obviously a combination of interventions and Contributions across all members of society.
Why do you think you won the award?
The everywoman awards focuses on Tech and innovation and in addition the journey of supporting other entrepreneurs, in particular women, at the early stages of business growth. I believe in the broadest approach to the world and our experiences through our choices to work. Our hive Female Founders club is entirely group-drive and collaborative where we discuss business issues in a friendly and supportive environment, and I believe in women and girls as leaders and drivers of business. In addition to my work as a female founder, I am actively involved in volunteer work in venture philanthropy, essentially bringing more structure to the growth and impact of charities. I am a trustee of a paediatric and adolescent HIV charity and a member of the Foundation Board for TEDxEuston, which shares inspiring African stories and has been featured on BBC, CNN, amongst other media profiles, improving how Africa is seen by the diaspora and the public.
What things do you do, to empower other women?
I am dedicated to addressing gender issues and as a CEO and co-founder of Akoni, I am a role model for gender parity in senior roles. I speak with passion for gender equality at panel events and podcasts, meeting many people in person and discussing specific issues. During my acceptance speech I stated that ‘I do not want my child or any child to grow up in a world where…the positions of power are occupied by people who do not look like them’.
Being committed to diversity in business is part of my DNA. Akoni fully represents this with our current team consisting of multiple countries (13), cultures and almost half our team being women.
Thank you Felicia, from all of us at Hambro Perks, we are hugely proud of you and your work, and thrilled this award recognised you.