World First: Female Plant-Based Founder Pitch Competition Launched By Vegan Women Summit

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The Vegan Women Summit (VWS), an events and media organisation dedicated to upending the gender bias and discrimination in the food tech world, has just annouced the launch of VWS Pathfinder, the world’s first summit and pitch competition dedicated to plant-based female-identifying founders. The event, held this December, will feature leaders in venture capital, founder chats, panel discussions and aims to break down the fundraising challenges that female entrepreneurs face in the plant-based industry. 

Taking place on December 5 virtually, VWS Pathfinder will be connecting female-identifying entrepreneurs in the plant-based food tech world with leaders in venture capital. The summit and pitch competition will see the top winner take home a prize worth US$50,000. The prize includes a US$10,000 cash reward sponsored by Purple Orange Ventures, US$35,000 worth of branding services from Evolution Bureau and more perks such as a global membership to WeWork office space. 

Applications for VWS Pathfinder are now open until October 23, with ten semi-finalists selected before the final five are announced on December 1. 

VWS Pathfinder creates a platform to showcase and drive investment to these underfunded and overlooked up-and-coming founders, while bringing out the industry’s top leaders to inspire and educate this future generation. With founders and CEOs joining from five continents, we are proud to create the much needed amplification for these voices and will feature a lineup with more than two-thirds founders of color.

Jennifer Stojkovic, Founder of VWS

“Almost half of female founders and CEOs in the food tech industry have encountered bias, particularly gender bias, from investors, while nearly half of all female founders of color have experienced racial bias,” explained founder of VWS Jennifer Stojkovic, citing the findings of its recent survey on the pervasive gender inequalities that female founders continue to face, particularly in fundraising. 

“VWS Pathfinder creates a platform to showcase and drive investment to these underfunded and overlooked up-and-coming founders, while bringing out the industry’s top leaders to inspire and educate this future generation. With founders and CEOs joining from five continents, we are proud to create the much needed amplification for these voices and will feature a lineup with more than two-thirds founders of color.”

By building a more inclusive, global ecosystem to empower, cultivate, and support female founders through VWS Pathfinder, we can bring more solutions to the table, move quicker to enact change, and create a kinder future for us all.

Miyoko Schinner, Founder of Miyoko’s Creamery

In addition to the pitch competition, the event will feature CEO panels, founder discussions and other programs that will showcase some of the world’s most recognisable names in the plant-based space, including Miyoko Schinner, the founder of Miyoko’s Creamery, CEO of Sunfed Meats Shama Sukul Lee, co-founder of Kinder Beauty Box Daniella Monet, Denise Woodard of Partake Foods and Green Queen’s founder and editor-in-chief Sonalie Figueiras. 

“By building a more inclusive, global ecosystem to empower, cultivate, and support female founders through VWS Pathfinder, we can bring more solutions to the table, move quicker to enact change, and create a kinder future for us all,” said Schinner.

Matilda Ho, founder and managing director of Bits x Bites, Lisa Feria, the CEO of Stray Dog Capital, partner at Blue Horizon Ventures Dr. Regina Hecker and Dismatrix’s Miray Zaki will also be joining the summit as key players in the food tech VC ecosystem.

“It’s been proven that diverse teams deliver outsized returns and we fully support the female founders that are driving so many of these startups,” said Feria. 

Among the sponsors of the event are a number of plant-based brands as well as VCs, including Upfield, the parent company behind multiple vegan butters and spreads, Miyoko’s Creamery, Califia Farms, VegInvest, Big Idea Ventures (BIV) and Vegan Capital.


Lead image courtesy of VWS.


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