Empowering Female Healthcare & Life Science Innovators

Grit accelerator is operated through GDTHealth Network (Global Digital Technologies Health Network) Not-for-profit membership organisation. We provide a global network for digital health & life science to collaborate with industry, academia and public sector organisations.

Our aim is to enable female founders with the confidence and skills required to scale a global business. We also aim to improve gender equality when it comes to raising investment. The gender gap in VC is appalling. Despite a record amount of VC capital invested in the EU in 2021, less than 1% was invested in female founders. And in that same year, the U.S. only invested in 2% of funding in female founders.

We support female founders using our network and strengths, to connect our cohorts to potential investors. We also work with investors to understand the importance of investing in female founders. Our accelerators provide female founders with extensive learnings in how to become investment ready, and the knowledge required to grow their international network. We also provide high-level learnings in a range of bespoke topics and mentorship, delivered by our global experts. Along with masterclasses led by our core partners.

7 Further Reasons To Participant In Grit

1. Opportunities to grow your business through international collaboration

2. Gain greater understanding of the many challenges faced-when working outside your home market

3. Build lifelong relationships with other international female participants

4. Gain an in-depth understanding of how VCs work

5. Analyse start-up cash flow, valuation and how to negotiate VC term sheets

6. Evaluate who you aspire to be as a leader

7. Understand the importance of start-up boards

Bespoke Female Accelerator

There is significant evidence that female entrepreneurs face unique challenges in starting and growing businesses, particularly in emerging markets. Accelerator programmes, which are designed to help start-up businesses achieve scale, represent one potential model for overcoming these challenges through support services and investment.

Bespoke female accelerator programmes, examines through two lenses: first, delivery of best approaches to support female entrepreneurs; and second, addressing the significant confidence and knowledge gap around fundraising, and therefore developing and designing an accelerator that would provide specific support targeting knowledge and negotiating skills.

"No cost to participate and no equity taken"

Diane Nevin, CEO & Startup Programme Director

The Role of Gender in Start-up Funding

Sourcing venture capital is often one of the primary factors that a start-up can succeed or fail. While gender diversity contributes to start-up success, most funding is allocated to male-only entrepreneurial teams.

Women in global healthcare industries, makes up 50% to 75% of the workforces. However, the health technology, female led, by comparison, continues to struggle with a significant gender gap, its workforce is only about one-quarter female.

Health technology, a growing field that includes medical device, device-based diagnostic, digital health, and health information technology companies, sits squarely between the healthcare and high-technology industries. However, its gender landscape remains undefined.

Our objective is to improve this current metric through the learnings obtained within our Grit programme.

Our Vision

To enable female entrepreneurs in digital health and life science, with the confidence and skills required to scale a global business. We will do this through our virtual accelerator, connecting entrepreneurs, building networks and partnerships with other organisations who share our global vision.

Our Mission

To bridge the gap in gender divide and promote women working in underrepresented industries in STEM, technology, and digital health fields. And improve gender equality when it comes to raising investment.

To facilitate a transfer of knowledge-in digital health and life science. To analyse key digital transformation frameworks and strategies. To encourage all female participants to always start and re-evaluate the ‘need’ and not jump in with a solution. To make ongoing user engagement paramount-throughout all areas of their business models.

Previous Cohort

Our previous cohort consisted of 16 inspirational women from over 6 EU countries and the UK. Working in digital health, life science, MedTech, healthcare product solutions and Equi-tech.

Cohort Testimonials


"Hi, I am Tatsiana – a founder of OmicsChart – a digital platform for biomarker evaluation in cancer. I participated in Grit Accelerator cohort 2022.

Grit accelerator was an excellent opportunity for us, the founders, to meet and learn from experts in the fields of business development, fundraising, digital health and associated regulations, ethics considerations of working with patients and their data and many more.

What I enjoyed the most was meeting fellow female founders and learning about the amazing, inspiring startups, that they were building and how they overcome common biases against women and minorities in the business world.

The gender disparity in funding of startups is overwhelming and yet often ignored. GRIT accelerator gave an opportunity to identify common issues that are faced by female founders and develop a strategy on how to address them. That kind of mentoring is hard to find.

I am proud to say that OmicsChart became a winner of Cohort 2022 Closing ceremony, selected by one of the GRIT Accelerator partners Microsoft. I am looking forward to start that collaboration and it is thanks to GRIT accelerator that we have this amazing opportunity.

If you are a female founder and find yourself struggling in navigating the business world, GRIT accelerator is an excellent place for you to be." - Tatsiana Aneichyk


"First, it provided 10 weeks of really insightful lectures, workshops and masterclasses on anything from cybersecurity, AI in healthcare, international market opportunities to how to hire and manage your team and particularly how to fund this journey. All the sessions were held by international experts, which were all very open for further discussion and stay on these extra minutes to address all our questions.

Second, an important reason to apply was to connect with other female founders. Coming from research, I was actively looking for for female entrepreneurs and role models. And I have to say, I found them. I am really happy to have met such an amazing set of female founders, lecturers and mentors, who shared their experiences and knowledge. I am also happy that the program has so many male supporters, that really understanding some of the additional challenges women are facing and that they actively want to change that.

Overall, the program really helped me at such an early stage to think more globally, allowing me to identify and leverage international opportunities early on. In addition, it was a safe and fun space where people could learn with and from each other and I am sure we will benefit from our network in the future." - Petra Stockinger


"Being in the Grit accelerator has been such a positive experience. We have had great speakers throughout the program. I found the program gave fantastic insights into how VCs think, what a pitch looks like from an investors point of view and has helped me prepare for our next investment raise.

This program walks you through all aspects of the start up world sources of funding, grants, cyber security, patents. It is very practical. Being in a female accelerator is empowering. The 2022 cohort had some really inspiring women doing important work in cancer, surgery, mental health and medicine it was great to meet them and extend my network.

We need their companies to succeed to make the world a better place, this program will help them do that. I would encourage any female founder to apply." - Jennifer Corley

CMYK Ingredients

"I'm Iryna, a founder of a bio-tech deep-tech startup and an alumni of the first cohort of the International Female Accelerator. Those 9 1/2 weeks were important and challenging for me. Nearly every mentor made me face a gap in my business model, pitchdeck, approach to HR and cyber security matters, etc, etc. I am an experienced entrepreneur, I built and sold my first startup by the age of 21, I've been running my fairly successful deep-tech startup for 5 years, I mentored startup founders myself, and yet it was a great experience with lots of benefits for me, my team, and my business. After the intense panel discussion on pitchdecks hosted by Aram Attar, a VC and founder at VC Factory, I felt like I've been plugged into the VC's DNA somehow, I'm clear now on why we've been rejected so many times and why we are currently underfunded. Conclusions made, we've taken action and are taking another approach to financing and declaring ourselves to the industry.

I'm very grateful to Diane Nevin and her team for bringing up this need for a female accelerator and for making it happen as I believe it is crucial to support and promote women in the today business ecosystem as women tend to do magic, not strictly business, women tend to be truly future generations oriented as current or potential mothers. The peer-to-peer format is absolutely genius, I loved it and I recommend it for all "girls' sessions". I am convinced that women, when not falling for a "G.I. Jane" scenario, can do a much better job in groups due to their natural need for support and nurturing and co-creation." - Iryna Gavrylova

Fride Pharma

"Coming from the scientific world, the Grit programme has equipped me, as a founder, with basic terms, tools and skills I need to professionally drive my company in the business world.

During the course we received invaluable training on how to prepare a professional pitch, deck and how to create a cap table. Personal feedback by the course lecturer further produced a high level of products. For me this has been a very important training as the company will keep generating investments. Business development training into different markets has provided significant insights towards the next stages I will need to navigate the company.

As a female, the course was led by the amazing Diane Nevin, who created a safe environment for us to share information and feelings. Diane dedicated her time to us, united the different founders into a cohort which moves towards the goal together.

Diane’s personal input, her dedication to take care of all small details and her help to solve personal problems due to work and family commitments has made it possible for all of us to complete the programme and enjoy it." - Dr Sharon Anavi-Goffer

Ancora.ai AG

"The Grit program was absolutely fantastic. I don't know what I enjoyed more, the sessions or having the opportunity to meet the other amazing female founders.

The topics covered were really focused on digital health and so we were able to learn about topics that you don't get in general accelerators, such as understanding the payer landscape and reimbursement. Also the networking was fantastic. The other female founders are just absolutely brilliant and I feel so privileged to know them and count them as part of my network.

This program is an absolute must for early stage female founders as it helps you better understand all aspects of your business and helps get you investment ready." - Danielle Ralic


"I highly recommend the Grit Female Founders Accelerator program. First of all, I would like to thank all the sponsors for making this kind of international program possible. And especially for making it happen for women-led companies. We know that the business world is a bit more difficult for us.

Diane and Laila were able to bring in really high level speakers willing to support the 16 projects and create a great atmosphere among the group. We were able to navigate all the issues that a healthcare startup has to deal with in a way that sharing and solving problems specific to your company was very easy.

Starting with an excellent networking strategy session was a very good idea to understand how important it is for your project and to make clear the great opportunity we have to expand our international network with this programme.

I loved the individual sessions that were delivered and the valuable input to improve our pitches and understand what investors like to see in them.

I really appreciated Grit's continued effort to incorporate our suggestions. I now feel part of a community and I am willing to stay in touch to see the impressive evolution that I am sure all the projects and the program itself will have". - Mabel Gimeno


"Participating in the Grit Accelerator gave me the opportunity to meet some incredible founders and mentors from around the world. Each week we received expert input and training on different topics relevant to our business, which was interactive and indispensable.

I'm very grateful to the team behind Grit, and would recommend it to any female founders who want to gain a better understanding of their business and a different perspective, in a friendly and supportive environment." - Suzanne Moloney


"It was a great opportunity for Diagante and I to be selected to participate in the Grit Accelerator.

This program covered different topics such as business, fundraising, and international market specificities and perspectives with amazing experts.

Beyond that, it allowed me to develop my network in Europe by meeting other female CEOs around Europe in the health and Life Science industry but also through different experts coming from all over the world. Grit is an excellent program for female founders leading an early stage startup in this industry and looking for international business development." - Cecile Chevalier

Our Mentors

We are privileged to work with global industry experts and appreciate their time and support to work as valued mentors throughout our accelerators. We are equally privileged to have our core partners and board members particate in our programme mentoring sessions also.

Hassan Chaudhury

Founder with an exit. Visiting lecturer at world first Global Business School for Health at UCL, appointed as expert in digital health and international trade by UK Government, co-Chair of HIMSS Innovation Committee. Mentor and advisor to multiple companies.

Luciana Ciubotariu

Over 15 years’ of experience in private sector (consulting, banking and FMCG) and public sector with foreign Direct investment (UK Belgium, Switzerland and new Zealand).

Hazel Chappell

Ishca Health

Over 20 years’ experience in Healthcare, BioScience, Change Management, Data Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Security of Data.

Jennifer Ralph James

Over 20 years’ experience in Life sciences; Pharmaceutical (medical affairs); Government agency; Research funding; Research ethics; Medical communications / writing.

Meet Our Team

Diane Nevin

CEO & Startup Programme Director

Laila Engkat

International Digital Marketing & Events Manager

Kristina Eskenazi

AI & Cyber Security Consultant

Professor Kerryn Butler-Henderson

Digital Health Consultant

Advisory Team

Diane Nevin

CEO & Startup Programme Director

Eilísh Hardiman

Chief Executive at Children’s Health Ireland

Eibhlin Mulroe

Chief Executive at Cancer Trials Ireland

Barbara Skerritt

Senior Director, Innovation Delivery at ICON plc-Ireland

Susan Neenan

Senior Director, Global Vendor Relationship, Risk Management at Alexion Pharm International Operations Ireland

Conor Russell

Vice President of Operations at Boston Scientific Ireland

Sarita Johnson

Director, Business Planning at Capstone Business Advisors Limited

Joann Rhodes

Chief Executive at Health Innovation Research Alliance – Northern Ireland (HIRANI)

Anna King

Commercial Director at Health Innovation Network-NHS South London UK

Ligia Kornowska

Medical doctor & Managing Director of the Polish Hospital Federation-Poland

Professor Sarah Wamala Andersson

Professor of Health and Welfare Technology Malardalen University-Sweden

Kristina Eskenazi

Founder of Health & Life Sciences Cluster Bulgaria & Chair of Bulgarian Bio-Scientific Society Artificial Intelligence-Bulgaria

Hrvoje Belani

Head of Sector for IS Implementation and Improvement at Directorate for e-Health at Ministry of Health of the Republic of Croatia

P.J Moloney

CEO & Founder, Chief Scientific Officer & Director at P4ML, Dubai UAE

Professor Kerryn Butler-Henderson

Digital Health Expert at RMIT, University Melbourne, Australia

Who Should Apply

International female start-ups and diverse teams that are operating in digital health and life science. The business must be at proof of concept stage, preferably with some investment already obtained. The business must be scalable and innovative.

Applications are currently open. Please submit your interest and company details through the F6S button or Google From below.

International female start-ups and diverse teams that are operating in digital health and life science. The business must be at proof of concept stage, preferably with some investment already obtained. The business must be scalable and innovative.

Applications are currently closed. We will be open for new applications in June 2022. Please submit your interest and company details through the F6S button or Google From below.

Participate Benefits

Programme Learnings

Closed Programme Timeline

8th August
30th September
11th October
27th January 2022
15th February 2022
10th February

Our Partners

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