AN Irish entrepreneur and angel investor has won two prestigious industry awards within days of each other.
Mary McKenna, who hails from Tyrone but is now based in Donegal, has this month been named Europe Female Angel Investor of the Year and UK British Angel Investor of the Year 2023.
The businesswoman was first awarded the Europe Female Angel Investor of the Year title in Berlin, at an event hosted by the Business Angels Netzwerk Deutschland and Business Angels Europe on July 5.
The very next day the impressive Irishwoman was named the United Kingdom British Business Angel Association’s (UKBBAA) overall Angel Investor of the Year 2023, for her “outstanding contributions to the startup ecosystem”.
She received that award at a glitzy ceremony held at The Science Museum in London on July 6, at which point she became the first person to win both awards in the same year and the first ever person to win from Northern Ireland.
“I am humbled and deeply honoured to be named both Europe Female Angel Investor of the Year and UK British Angel Investor of the Year, not to say that it should happen within a 24-hour period.” Ms McKenna said of her wins.
“These awards are a testament to the incredible work being done by entrepreneurs and angel investors,” she added.
“I accept these awards on behalf of all women angels everywhere working from the ground up to change the environment for women founders and investors.”
The serial tech entrepreneur, who was made an MBE in 2014 for her services to digital technology, innovation and learning, is also a keen angel investor, committed to supporting business founders – particularly women.
Over the past three years she has been part of the six-strong all women team that founded the AwakenHub social enterprise.
With an impact mission to “remove barriers to investment, scale and success for women founders, regardless of their sector or location on the island of Ireland” the community now has in excess of 3,000 women founders at all stages on their journey.
“I firmly believe that investing in early-stage companies and providing mentorship is crucial for building a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Ms McKenna explained.
“I am committed to continuing my efforts in supporting and empowering talented founders, particularly women, as they shape the future of innovation, through my work with my co-founders at AwakenHub and AwakenAngels,” she added.
McKenna founded AwakenHub with Derry-based Clare McGee, Louth-native Denise McQuaid, Roscommon-based Mary Carty, Cork and London based Sinead Crowley and their Global Diaspora Ambassador Mary Ann Pierce, who is based in New York City.