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Women in Tech

Here are the 100 most powerful women in sports innovation

- July 9, 2024 2 MIN READ
Zonely, Alicia Nagle
Zonely founder Alicia Nagle
More than 30 startup founders and execs, including Zonely’s Alicia Nagle and Stephanie Bofinger from FemPro Armour, have been recognised among the 100 most powerful women in Australian sports innovation. 

The second edition of the ‘Women in Sports Innovation’ report, which recognises the outstanding contributions of emerging and established leaders in sports innovation, was released today by the Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN).

The 2024 report covers data, digital and technology within sports, entertainment, esports and digital health to select 100 women who are key drivers in the respective sectors, spanning government, industry, sporting institutions and universities.

ASTN Chief Operating Officer Amy Crosland said that while it celebrates the achievements of women in leadership, it also reveals that the sector suffers from similar issues around barriers for female founders, especially when it comes to investor support.

“In Australia, there’s been a commendable focus on gender participation in sports. However, the representation of women founders and leaders in sportstech and innovation remains disproportionately low,”she said.

“Recent data reveals that one-quarter of total funding in this sector has flowed to businesses with at least one woman founder, while a staggering two-thirds of funding has gone to male-founded ventures. Additionally, three in four of women founders believe their gender has negatively affected their ability to raise funds, a sentiment shared by only 9% of their male counterparts.”

Compiled through ASTN workshops, interviews, research, and conversations over the past 12 months, the leaders were evaluated on the following criteria: innovative impact, leadership and influence, entrepreneurship, collaboration, diversity advocacy, industry recognition, and their overall impact on the industry.

“This report is one of the many steps we are taking at ASTN to drive change and improve diversity and inclusion within the industry,” Crosland said.

“By highlighting these influential leaders, we aim to celebrate their invaluable contributions and inspire the next generation of women leaders in sportstech.”

This year, the report also features an interview series with seven prominent leaders, including Suzie Betts, founder and CEO Boob Armour, a protective apparel startup for active women; and Lydia O’Donnell, CEO and cofounder of Femmi, an app for women to track and train in line with their menstrual cycle.

The conversations discuss how they navigate gender biases, champion diversity and challenge norms to foster inclusivity in the sector, as well as exploring the value of partnerships, resilience, and community support in overcoming obstacles.

Crosland said the women featured are not only propelling Australian sports onto the global stage, but also driving a broader cultural shift towards greater diversity and inclusion.

“Ideally, we shouldn’t need gender prefixes, however, recognising ‘women leaders’ is essential to address ongoing disparities and challenges,” she said.

“By shining a light on these leaders, we can better understand and dismantle the barriers women face in leadership and entrepreneurial roles, fostering a more inclusive and equitable industry.”

The full Power 100+ list is available at astn.com.au

To nominate a woman for the 2025 list, contact Tara Ballard, at tara.ballard[at]astn.com.au

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