Irish businesswomen named among 50 most inspiring in Europe’s tech community

13 Feb 2015

Photo by Pagina/Shutterstock

Two Irish women are among those honoured in the Inspiring Fifty list of the Most Inspiring Women in European Tech, which pays recognition to a mix of entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics and policy-makers.

Among these influencers, leaders and role models are Elaine Coughlan and Louise O’Sullivan.

As co-founder and general partner at Atlantic Bridge Capital, Coughlan has supported technology businesses in Ireland, Europe and the US and serves as a non-executive director on the board of a number of Irish software companies.

O’Sullivan is CEO of Anam, a company that provides software for mobile network operators. Outside of her career in telecoms, she has also been a restaurateur and set up businesses in music and the media.

Europe’s digital champions

Inspiring Fifty, a not-for-profit pan-European organisation, works to identify and showcase women in leadership positions within the technology sector. Last year, the programme highlighted 50 top women in business and technology in the Netherlands, but this latest search extended across Europe, seeking out the most inspiring women in the technology community.

In all, 16 countries are represented on the list, with the UK leading the pack with 17 finalists, followed by France with nine and Germany with six.

Among the UK’s many representatives is Dr Sue Black, founder and CEO of Savvify, a social enterprise aimed at empowering people through technology. Last year, Dr Black brought her #techmums initiative to Ireland through An Cosán’s Young Women in Technology programme and she returns this summer to speak at Inspire 2015.

Inspiring Fifty: Most Inspiring Women in European Tech

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Also on the Inspiring Fifty list is Finland’s digital champion Linda Liukas, co-founder of Rails Girls and author of Hello Ruby; Neelie Kroes, the Dutch European Commissioner who previously led Europe’s Digital Agenda; and, from the UK, Kathryn Parsons, co-founder and co-CEO of Decoded.

Putting tech women on the map

“Many women in tech seeking female role models currently look towards the most visible, the headline-makers, like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer,” said Inspiring Fifty co-founder Janneke Niessen.

“However, as amazing as those women are, we felt there was a need to showcase the many accomplished, and all-too-often overlooked women in technology closer to home.”

The list of 50 women was compiled through nominations from Inspiring Fifty’s extended network of professionals, journalists and social media followers.

As well as Niessen and co-founder Joelle Frijters, the panel of judges tasked with whittling hundreds of nominations down to just 50 included Atomico partner Shari Yoder Doherty, Amazon’s diversity director Ellenore Angelidis, UK government adviser Russell Buckley, and CNN business anchor Nina Dos Santos.

Europe Map image by Pagina via Shutterstock

Inspire 2015 is Silicon Republic’s international event running 18-19 June in Dublin, connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity. Buy your early bird tickets now

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic