Sustainability, health and wellbeing were key themes for entrants in Soda’s inaugural Rise Up competition for female founders, with nearly 100 entrepreneurs from across New Zealand applying to win $10,000.

The five Rise Up finalists are: Billie Jo Hohepa-Ropiha, founder of BDÉT; Chloe Van Dyke, co-founder of Chia Sisters; Gaelle Thieme, founder of Dust & Glow; Wendy Quach, founder of &Again; and Dr Angela Lim, co-founder of Clearhead.

“We were thrilled with the number and calibre of applicants and our team had a tough time selecting just five finalists,” says Soda CEO, Erin Wansbrough.

“Soda created Rise Up to encourage and support New Zealand’s female founders and, judging by the number of entries we received, the entrepreneurial spirit amongst New Zealand women is strong. We’re excited to help these aspirational female founders and their innovative businesses grow and achieve their goals.”

The finalists will attend a series of founder-focused workshop series before pitching their business to a public audience and panel of high-profile judges at Wintec House in Hamilton on 23 November 2021.

The Rise Up Pitch Night is a free event but tickets are limited so please register for tickets here. It will be an inspiring night featuring Taaniko Nordstrom from Soldiers Rd Portraits as MC and with guest speaker Kendal Collins from Sisters United. The audience will have an opportunity to vote for their favourite business which will be awarded the People's Choice winner, sponsored by Amazon WebServices.

Rise Up is proudly supported by our gold sponsors Callaghan Innovation, Wintec and Chow:Hill Architects and silver sponsor Tompkins Wake. We’d also like to thank Good George and Remedy Kombucha who will be supplying drinks at the Rise Up Pitch Night and StoryTech who are providing support for the workshops.


More about the finalists

BDÉT is an eco-friendly personal hygiene brand that’s leading the way in personal hygiene innovation. BDÉT creates personal hygiene products which transform ordinary toilet paper into a cleansing, hygienic wipe which can be flushed down the toilet.

Chia Sisters use high-nutrition fruits and seeds to craft health drinks and breakfasts. Its range is all natural, made from plants and with no added sugar. Chia Sisters was awarded 'Best Drink in New Zealand' and winner of the 'Health Category' of the New Zealand Food Awards.

Dust & Glow creates waterless, eco-friendly, ethically made, cruelty free, natural and vegan cleansers,shampoo and body wash.

&Again is an online consignment and thrift store. They have created a dedicated marketplace for women to shop second-hand online - selling directly from its website to consumers.

Clearhead is an online, one-stop-shop platform, designed by NZ doctors, which empowers New Zealanders to find the help they need. They do this by helping users understand their symptoms and providing personalised recommendations through a digital wellbeing assistant.