SEF.WomenAward reveals the finalists

The finale of the fourth edition of the SEF.WomenAward will take place on 8 March in Zurich to recognise women with an outstanding track record in entrepreneurship. The jury has selected six female founders and leaders for the categories «Young Entrepreneur of the Year» and the «Entrepreneur/CEO of the Year».

Organised by NZZ Connect, the SEF.WomenAward is bestowed onto women with an outstanding entrepreneurial trajectory in two categories. The first category "Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year" recognises early-stage founders of Swiss companies less than 7 years, with an active/C-level position. Eligible for the category "Entrepreneur/CEO of the Year" are women leaders - entrepreneur or CEO who makes an active contribution to the promotion of women in entrepreneurship. They are active in established companies founded more than 7 years ago and have an impact on the Swiss economy. The winners will be announced during the award ceremony at a gala evening on March 8, 2024, in Zurich.

The jury has determined the three finalists in each category to compete in the final round. They are:

Stefanie Flückiger-Mangual | TOLREMO therapeutics AG | Basel-Stadt
Founded in 2017 as an ETH Spinoff, TOLREMO pioneers the development of therapies that combat cancer drug resistance, a major obstacle in modern cancer therapy. Its clinical compound TT125-802 is an orally available small molecule inhibitor designed to block cancer's natural defence mechanisms to medicines using a unique and novel approach to target identification and medicinal chemistry. When combined with existing drugs, Tolremo drug candidates boost the efficacy of existing cancer drugs and bring lasting benefits to patients. TT125-802 is advancing through a Phase 1 dose-escalation study as a monotherapy in solid tumour patients. The CHF 36 million from its recent financing round will fuel this development stage. Investors supporting Tolremo and its team of nine employees, include private individuals, family offices, VC groups and a pharma company.

Patrizia Laeri, Nadine Jürgensen, Simone Züger | ellexx | Zurich
The co-founder trio founded the fintech startup elleXX, an independent money media platform for women with the goal of changing the structural financial inequality of women and empower them to be financially self-sufficient and invest. The company offers independent financial advice, coaching, investment products and information on social and financial topics and focuses on equality and sustainability. The platform also gives visibility to female founders by featuring their journey. After breaking the European crowdinvesting record with their own campaign, the startup now aspires to support further female founders' crowdinvesting efforts in order to bridge the gender funding gap. Founded in 2020, ellexx boasts a team of 16 employees, with 95% of them being women.

Alessia Schrepfer | WeNurse AG | Thurgau
Founded in 2022, WeNurse is the first healthcare rental and consulting company owned by working employees. Despite having a significant number of female employees in the nursing profession, it is mainly "men" in management positions. WeNuerse aims to change the status quo in healthcare by empowering nurses to make decisions and benefit from the company's success. The company enables ambitious women and men in Switzerland from the FAGE level up to master’s degree graduates, regardless of their workload (from 40%), the opportunity to work as entrepreneurs in the care and nursing sector. Using this approach, all employees become co-shareholders and have a say in the development of the company, participating in its success through a participation plan. WeNurse became operational in January 2023 with six people. Today, the company has 25 employees, 84% of whom are women and by the end of 2026, it hopes to have created 200 full-time positions.

Three women leaders are in the race for the title of «Entrepreneur/CEO of the Year»

In 2021, Sandra Banholzer assumed the CEO role at RAUSCH, a global company with three subsidiaries in Austria, Germany and Italy and partners in the Middle and Far East that develops premium-quality beauty products and cosmetics based on a long-standing approach. Rausch is an incumbent company founded in 1890 and today boasts 160 employees, with 65% women. Building on the company’s legacy, Banholzer continues to provide family-friendly working conditions, encouraging women in full-time or part-time positions to assume leadership positions and supporting their career development. Alongside her leadership at RAUSCH, she strives to inspire more women by transparently sharing her leadership journey.

Nicola Thibaudeau | MPS Micro Precision Systems AG
Founded in 2003 in Biel/Bienne, MPS develops and produces customized micromechanical, technical solutions for the watch industry (miniature bearing), for the medical and precision industries such as medical devices, implantable drug delivery and orthopaedic instruments. As the company’s CEO since its inception, Nicola Thibaudeau leads 480 employees, of which 43% are women, she has held multiple executive roles and board positions in other companies and is currently an active advocate for female leadership, demonstrated through her engagements in promoting, mentoring and speaking to aspiring women leaders.

Aniela Unguresan | EDGE Strategy.
Based in Zug, EDGE Strategy is an eco-system solution to measure, accelerate and certify workplace diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) which encompasses a Swiss-based foundation (EDGE Certified Foundation) focusing on DE&I research, standards and certification and a Swiss-based tech company (EDGE Strategy) delivering a leading-edge software for organizations to measure, accelerate and prepare to be certified for using DE&I as one of the core pillars of their sustainable business success. For more than a decade, EDGE Certification has given 250+ global organizations in 56 countries and 27 different industries their employees, customers, and investors a universally recognizable symbol of commitment and progress in DE&I.  Aniela is the founder of EDGE Certified Foundation since 2009 and currently, the founder and CEO of EDGE Strategy since 2013, which today employs 26 people. The company completed a series A multi-million financing round for EDGE Strategy in 2022.