Accelerate HER 2019 winners
Lina Gasiunaite, Corien Staels of Staels Design, Jackie Waring and Rachel Jones at AccelerateHER awards. Source:

After being praised at an event recognising female business founders and leaders in tech, wheelAIR innovator and entrepreneur Corien Staels will be taking her mobility device on a trade mission to Dubai and Berlin to meet key industry contacts and investors.

Recognising Scottish businesses with a high growth global potential, Corien Staels, along with two others, was crowned a winner of the AccelerateHER Awards 2019 in Edinburgh.

Chosen from a field of 698 applicants, the winners were announced at Barclays’ Eagle Lab in Edinburgh’s Codebase and will now see Corien and her fellow winners jet-set off to the two cities to showcase their wares to investors around the world.

Belgian-born Staels came up with the wheelAIR, a cooling backrest with inbuilt fan technology to help cool the back and reduce a user’s core temperature by taking away excess heat and moisture, in 2015 whilst completing her Masters at the University of Glasgow.

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In July 2018, she also featured in THIIS’ ‘More about’ feature, discussing her entrepreneurial journey and the challenges of operating a start-up.

The Glasgow company has now set its sights on reaching the world’s population of wheelchair users, as well as producing new products in the mobility industry.

Jackie Waring, CEO of Investing Women which runs the AccelerateHER Awards programme, said: “I would like to congratulate this year’s winners who have succeeded within a very competitive field where we had our highest-ever number of applicants for scalable international businesses.

“Our winners are dynamic females who play a key leadership role in innovative companies with huge global growth investment potential. The forthcoming trade missions to Berlin and Dubai, where they have secured complimentary places, will help them in achieving that aim.

“We continue to see a significant impact from the AccelerateHER Awards with finalists from the four years we’ve run the competition securing more than £11 million of investment since getting involved in the programme.”

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