Watch the replay of the UBS Female Founder Award 2022 award ceremony where we recognise the finalists of the program and announce the winner. Listen to a discussion around the latest trends and investment themes emerging in the world of female entrepreneurs and fintech with a group of senior leaders from the world of finance and venture.
Thank you to our client advisors, venture capital partners, startup and fintech experts and collaborators who have nominated an amazing group of 146 founders this year.
The jury of UBS senior management and external experts selected ten outstanding female founders and C-executives, who were shortlisted for the 2022 award:
The winner of the UBS Female Founder Award is…
The winner of the UBS Female Founder Award is…
Ahead of International Women’s Day, Alice Page, Chief of Staff and Head of the Ultra-High Net Worth (UHNW) Solutions Group at UBS Global Wealth Management (GWM), joined this year’s UBS Female Founder Award winner, Danielle Lawrence, for a chat on being an intrapreneur, the gender funding gap, and the value of data.
The votes are in, and the winner of this year’s UBS Female Founder Award (FFA) is Danielle Lawrence, Founder and CEO of Freyda! With International Women’s Day on the horizon, Alice Page, Chief of Staff and Head of the UHNW Solutions Group at UBS GWM, sat down for a chat with her to learn more about her background and experiences so far…
Alice: Congratulations on winning the UBS Female Founder Award 2022! Can you tell us a little bit about how you’re feeling?
Danielle: Thank you! I was so shocked; there was such a high calibre of nominees for the award and I didn’t think we’d be in with a chance. I think that’s really inspiring in a way – there is a significant shift happening in terms of fintech founders coming from more diverse backgrounds, and it is really empowering to see so many amazing female entrepreneurs in the front of that change.
Alice: What about your business, Freyda? What is it and why did you create the company?
Danielle: So, Freyda is a cloud-based solution that aims to help financial institutions to process, interpret and analyze data from their documents. Our mission is to provide companies with Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered products that enable employees to focus on high-value, high-impact work.
I created the company because I have worked in the industry myself and I became frustrated by the lack of solutions to help accurately collect, process, and analyze data to inform more data-driven investment decision making. Manual methods aren't scalable in today's world and technology is changing that.
And what about the Female Founder Award? How did you find out about the awards, and what was the nomination process like?
I found out about FFA from last year's winner, Kimberly Abbott. We had both taken part in the Fintech Innovation Lab and she recommended that I apply. She'd had a fantastic experience and so I just went for it!
Alice: What do you think the biggest challenges are for women working in technology? What more could be done to close the gender funding gap in your view?
Danielle: There are a number of studies that show that the biggest issue faced by women in tech remains being taken seriously due to gender perception. Women make incredible contributions to technology but too often their voices are underappreciated or go unheard. Career progression is also an issue, and we need to do more to ensure promotion and retention of female talent happens at the mid and senior levels.
When it comes to the gender funding gap, the dialogue today tends to be focused on women, with questions like: ‘why can’t women get access to funding?’. Whilst this can be helpful to raise awareness, I think the language should be shifted to ‘why aren’t investors funding women?’. They are the decision makers after all, so by exploring the conscious and unconscious biases that investors hold, we can take a big step forward in trying to address them.
Alice: Do you think that anyone can be an entrepreneur in their job, even if they’re not founding a new company?
Danielle: Yes, I believe that anyone with a growth mindset can become an entrepreneur or 'intrapreneur' in their job. Like entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs are typically innovators who thrive on creation and are curious to improve something or do something differently. In my last role before I founded Freyda, I started taking Spanish lessons, teaching myself to play guitar and listening to almost every Ted Talk out there! In hindsight, that was the 'growth mindset' bubbling up to the surface and it's something that can be harnessed, whether that's within a company or stepping out on your own.
Alice: What has been the most important component of your career that you wish you’d been more aware of when you started out?
Danielle: I cannot state this enough: networking! Surrounding yourself with a strong support network of contacts, friends and mentors is just so important. It can get lonely, so I’m delighted to have some friendly faces to add to my list of people I can talk with who might have faced similar challenges and can give me guidance on what to try next.
Believing in yourself and in your idea is also essential. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? Starting a business is not for the faint of heart, so if you really believe in your idea, it will give you the confidence to push forward and overcome challenges.
Alice: Danielle, for this last question, I’d love for you to share your top three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs alike:
Danielle: Of course!
- Always listen to your customers. They should always be at the forefront of whatever business you have. Listen to their feedback and iterate quickly on your product or service to meet their needs.
- Learn from failure. Failure is inevitable in business but it’s also a valuable opportunity. Use it to learn and grow.
- Take care of yourself. As a founder, it’s so easy to get caught up in work!