Honoring Women Entrepreneurs Working to Build a Better World

The future has never looked brighter for entrepreneurial women involved in technology, and the Extreme Tech Challenge is proud to encourage the inclusion and the ultimate success of women founders participating in its competitions.

Having been deeply involved with XTC as a partner representing the University of California System, I’m thrilled to now take the helm of such an amazing organization. I’m deeply inspired by XTC’s mission to empower entrepreneurs who are developing new technologies to build a better world by increasing their visibility on the global stage, leading to investment, strategic partnerships, and mentorship opportunities. The strengths of this community come from the commitment and dedication of our 47 partners and sponsors, many of which hold the XTC regional competitions across six continents to identify the most promising startups. Through these activities and the participants involved, XTC is truly emerging as the world’s number one ecosystem for purpose driven innovation and technology.

Consistent with XTC’s core values of enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion to democratize opportunities for all, I want to recognize the amazing work women founders are undertaking to build innovative companies focused on sustainability and bettering our world. In celebration of Women’s History Month, I’m pleased to announce the return of our Female Founder’s Award for 2021 to fulfill XTC’s promise to recognize, encourage, and celebrate female entrepreneurs!

We can’t wait to see what ideas, solutions and businesses our competitions showcase this year. Our previous XTC category and overall winners have set a high bar and continue to impress with their achievements. Here are just a few of our high-achieving women-led companies from the XTC 2020 competition that I’d like to highlight.

  1. Overall Winner -- Genecis (Luna Yu) converts food waste into biodegradable plastics and high value materials. In the last eight months the company has nearly doubled in size and reached the $1M revenue milestone.
  2. Female Winner -- Microgen (Dr. Xuemei Germaine) develops sustainable solutions for oilfield and brownfield remediation, using natural microbes to block the uptake of heavy metals by crops and to restore soil health. The company has launched Ireland’s largest bioremediation project, and China’s largest trial project.
  3. Health Winner -- Saathi (Kristin Kagetsu) makes eco-friendly hygiene products that are good for the body, environment and community. Saathi Pads, the company’s first product, are produced from highly absorbent banana fibers which use six times less water per ton than cotton, ten times less fertilizer, and zero additional land.

In honor of Women’s History Month, I celebrate these women and all of the women who inspire me to persevere - and pay it forward. At XTC, we understand that diversity strengthens innovation. We believe we have an obligation to lead and inspire an entire generation of women entrepreneurs to boldly pursue their dreams. Remember: It’s great to be the first. But it comes with an obligation to ensure we’re not the last!

Applications for XTC 2021 are open for just two more weeks! We strongly encourage you to spread the word amongst your network and virtual families, ahead of our March 31st deadline.

I can’t wait to share your successes!

Victoria Slivkoff
Executive Managing Director
Extreme Tech Challenge