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Women in food: Inspiring women entrepreneurs [On-demand webinar]

Article-Women in food: Inspiring women entrepreneurs [On-demand webinar]

In this webinar, we are joined by women entrepreneurs and business angels within the F&B industry to discuss building networks, business partnering, access to markets, and funding. Watch it free here.

With a record number of 21 female-founded unicorns being born in 2019 (compared to 15 in 2018, 8 in 2017 and 4 in 2016),[1] the number of female-founded businesses are looking healthier than ever. Despite these encouraging growth rates, a large number of challenges and biases still exist for female entrepreneurs and the path to success may seem rather daunting. And for the F&B industry to reach its full potential, a greater state of equality needs to be achieved in terms of gender representation.

There is no denying that the success of any new business, is subject to the level of support and guidance that is continuously being received. This is especially evident within the F&B industry, as having access to funding and the ability to build a strong network is imperative, especially during the startup phase. Reports show, however, that there is still a clear disparity of funding received between female- and male-led startups.[2] While women have a higher success rate of raising funds through crowdfunding, they’ve received only 7% of venture funds for their startups during 2019.[3]

These findings could be due to several factors, such as that women tend to have higher risk aversion and are less likely to seek external funding. Additional contributing factors could be due to gender investment bias, as well as the clear lack of female representation in decision-making roles among investors.[4]

In this webinar, we are joined by women entrepreneurs and business angels within the F&B industry to discuss building networks, business partnering, access to markets, and funding. Join us as we continue the tradition of bringing female and male industry leaders together, to discuss diversity and inclusion in the F&B industry.



Angelique Cachia, Content & Digital Director Fi Global


Kinga Wojcicka-Swiderska, Senior Content Producer

In her work Kinga connects the best solutions in ingredients and food science to food businesses through content creation for the largest B2B exhibitions in the world: Fi Europe and Fi North America. She is an experienced manager and a food expert. Throughout her career she has led a wide range of projects from product design to establishing strategic partnerships for R&D. She is also a food law expert, having managed an association of food supplement producers and taken part in formulating opinions on regulatory consultation processes at both national and EU level.



Lukxmi Balathasan, Business Creation Manager (Startup Launch Programmes), EIT Food

Lukxmi is part of EIT Food’s Business Creation team and leads the Startup Launch Programmes, which provides talented entrepreneurs with training, mentoring and funding to transform early-stage technologies into viable ventures with the potential to transform our broken food system. Lukxmi is passionate about combining science and business to deliver benefit to society, and after a decade as a cancer researcher, she spent the past decade in a variety of roles focusing on the commercialisation of scientific research. Prior to joining EIT Food, she led the commercial partnerships arm of a biotech spin-out company aiming to revolutionise the control of disease-causing insects.

Mariette Abrahams photo.jpg

Mariette Abrahams, CEO & Founder, Qina

Mariëtte Abrahams is the CEO of Qina, a niche consultancy and platform that provides market intelligence and access to experts in personalised nutrition to launch projects fast. Mariëttehas a combined background in business, research and nutrition with a passion for prevention, health and technology. She is based in sunny Portugal, enjoying a healthy Mediterranean lifestyle with her family.


Anja Leissner, Founder and Head of R&D, Noquo Foods

Anja Leissner comes from a food loving family with a background in biotechnology, immunotechnology and food science. She has been working in the food industry as well as at LundsUniversity with a focus on dairy processing, technology and oils. The correlation between what we eat and our health, has always been close to Anja’s heart and something she devoted both time and research to. After a couple of years immersed deep in the dairy industry, she got intrigued by a project researching insects and plants as alternative protein sources for cheese. By the end of the 3-months project, she had got an initial taste of the potential in developing new plant-based products and eventually in 2019, she decided to start Noquo Foods together with her business partner and tech entrepreneur Sorosh Tavakoli. The focus is to develop sustainable products that are delicious and nutritious,and to lead the next generation food products. Having raiseda seed round of EUR 3.25M,the company now employs 8 people and is expected to launch its first product in 2020. Stay tuned to get a taste of the future!


Vanessa Mayneris, Strategy and Innovation consultant, Plan

Vanessa Mayneris helpscompanies to create powerful new ideas and productsthrough strategic and creative  thinking,  in  depth  consumer  understanding  and  project  executional  expertise.  She workswithin  a  network  of  brilliant  international  freelancers  to  bring  together  consumers,  marketing  & prototyping know-how and fresh thinking. With 20+ years of experience as Innovation consultant & Innovation Director –in agency & client side, Vanessa remains curious and very practical in everything that she does.  She  is  an  enthusiasticfood  innovation  blogger,  Startup  Growth  partner, as  well  as  a well-being & stress management (through Sophrology) practitioner.