The 2022 Women’s Entrepreneurship Award goes to Dr Antje Eckel
Pictures: © ISB / Kristina Schäfer
Rhineland‑Palatinate has top women entrepreneurs, stimulating ideas and plenty of potential for innovation. This was very much in evidence at this year’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, which was again held at the ISB’s premises in Mainz after a two-year break. Following a series of workshop sessions, host and ISB board member Dr Ulrich Link welcomed all present to the first Women’s Entrepreneurship Award ceremony in Rhineland‑Palatinate.
“In order to ensure a successful business location, it is indispensable to continuously support women willing to take on the responsibility of being founders or entrepreneurs,” said Minister of Economic Affairs Daniela Schmitt, who distributed the awards together with Minister for Women’s Affairs Katharina Binz. “We want to consistently improve the essential conditions for a vibrant women entrepreneurs scene. This is why I am pleased that we have created another instrument in the form of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Award, which is being distributed for the first time today. And there could be no better time than Women’s Entrepreneurship Day for this.”
In the panel discussion at the Women’s Entrepreneurship Award ceremony, Katharina Binz emphasised the importance of supporting women in setting up their own businesses. “I hope that many other women will be inspired by the women entrepreneurs we are honouring today and also set their sights on starting up or taking over a business. So far, this has been mostly the domain of men. In our society, we will only achieve true equality between men and women when at least as many women as men head commercial enterprises too.”
One such source of inspiration is the winner of the award for category 3 – experienced women entrepreneurs who have been in business for more than five years – which was presented to Dr Antje Eckel, founder and CEO of Dr. Eckel Animal Nutrition. In her laudatory speech, host Daniela Bublitz especially emphasised the vision Antje Eckel had in developing her company from a start-up into a successful international Mittelstand company within just a few years in what is still a strongly male-dominated industry. It was indeed fortunate that, due to a lack of family-friendly job options, Antje Eckel opted for self-employment after completing her doctorate. After all, this is how we now have a company, “… where anyone would like to work, with flexible working hours, fathers who take parental leave, an informal culture, English as the corporate language and no gender pay gap.”
The award for category 1 – young women entrepreneurs who have been in business for up to three years – went to Alice Demessier from Hajok Wasser + Wärme GmbH in Ludwigshafen. The young entrepreneur took over the company, which provides heating supplies, bathrooms and plumbing services, in 2021 and has been running it successfully ever since. The award for category 2 – women entrepreneurs who have been in business for up to five years – went to Dr Alexandra Kohlmann, managing director of ROWE Mineralölwerk GmbH in Worms, a company of around 300 employees producing innovative and high-quality lubricants ‘Made in Germany’. A special newcomer award was presented to Johanna and Maria Daubner, founders of vonhanni non-dairy GmbH, which sells regionally produced oat drinks in returnable bottles.
The reception following the award ceremony presented the perfect opportunity for networking and exchanging ideas. Overall, the first Women’s Entrepreneurship Award was a resounding success and will serve as a wonderful source of inspiration for future women entrepreneurs and founders.