Fintech business leader named 2020 AccelerateHER Awards Rising Star

Monika Ohashi, CIO of Edinburgh-based fintech business PolyDigi Tech has been named as the Rising Star for this year’s AccelerateHER Awards, an accolade which recognises a female company founder with the best early stage business idea.

Monika co-founded PolyDigi in 2012. The company has already gained recognition from Bank of China’s Hong Kong division for its SIM card authentication-focused patent. 

As the Rising Star she will benefit from a package of in-kind support from AccelerateHER’s network of professional partners. She will also have the opportunity to further showcase her business at the awards finals in March where 12 aspirational female company founders have been shortlisted.  

This year’s programme called for applications from businesswomen whose companies fit into one of four specific categories: CleanTech and Climate; Disruptive Innovation; MedTech and Science; and FinTech and Cyber Security. Three companies from each sector made it onto the 2020 shortlist.  

The three finalists from the CleanTech and Climate category were Jacqueline Morrison of Cedeco Contractors, developers of an offshore wind turbine installation solution; Aslihan Penley of Nomad Engineers, a green wave energy business; and Elaine Galston of Tubular Sciences, creators of a low carbon pipeline connection system. 

Shortlisted under the Disruptive Innovation category were Fiona Gillies of content creation market disruptors SMASH; Chantal Epp of performance sports music licensing solution ClicknClear; and Tersha Willis of Terrible Merch, an app-supported music merchandising business. 

Among the MedTech and Science category winners was Diane Harbison of health data platform Decipher Analytics. The other category finalists were Claudia Freigang of Hearing Diagnostics, developers of hearing screening technology; and Lise Pape of mobility equipment supplier Walk the Path. 

The FinTech and Cyber Security category finalists were Sheila Hogan of Biscuit Tin Planning, developers of a digitally secure data storage vault; Dr Tayyaba Nafees of CyberShell Solutions, developers of a cost effective cyber security system; and Kiran Bhagotra of ProtectBox, a cybersecurity comparison web service. 

The short-listed companies were announced following pitches by 24 semi-finalists to the AccelerateHER Awards judging panel. Four winners, one from each category, will be revealed at the finals event on 26 March at Barclay’s Eagle Lab within Edinburgh’s CodebaseEach winner will secure a free slot on a market-building trade mission to Europe or North America to showcase their business to industry contacts and global investors. 

“I’m delighted to announce Monika Ohashi as the Rising Star for this year’s AccelerateHER Awards. While PolyDigi may not be quite at the right stage to benefit from winning a place on our market building missions just yet, we join others in seeing its huge future potential. This latest accolade for Monkia will help in their growth journey.“I would also like to congratulate our 2020 finalists. We’re delighted to have received so many great submissions from technology, life sciences and environmentally-focused companies. It is encouraging to see so many innovative businesses being developed across four core sectors which are firmly on the radar of the global investment community.”

Jackie Waring, CEO of Investing Women