Seven Woman-owned Startups Receive Awards For TechFW Programs

The companies “Meathead & Potatoes” or “Red Puppy” may sound obscure,  but they could one day become very familiar. The two are among seven woman-owned, startup businesses that have been selected to participate in TechFW programs and funded by Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs.

The center awarded the businesses up to $2,000 to participate in TechFW’s ThinkLab accelerator or SmartStart business incubator programs.

“Receiving the grant from TWU was a huge blessing in terms of helping to launch my startup,” said Whitney Robinson, a 2021 award recipient and founder of Head to Vegas, an app for groups that travel together. “It came at the perfect time as I was pregnant with my second child and needed to plan financially for our growing family.

“Because of the grant, I was able to fully immerse myself into the process that TechFW has to offer and focus on my idea without having to worry about the cost. I can’t thank TWU and TechFW enough for affording me the opportunity.”

To be eligible for the awards, the businesses had to be for-profit enterprises operating in Texas with a woman as its founder and major shareholder. Additionally, the founder must have owned, have licensed or be working on proprietary technology, trade secret or innovative way of doing business.

“We are excited to continue this incredible female founders award program with Texas Woman’s University for a second year,” said Hayden Blackburn, TechFW’s executive director. “During the past year, as many as 48% of our clients have been women-led, and this partnership has expanded the opportunities for women that are building the future.”

ThinkLab is a non-seed, startup accelerator that helps entrepreneurs determine whether there is sufficient value to pursue a product or service idea, identify potential markets, develop a path to commercialization, and learn how to communicate the value of the idea to early stakeholders and adopters.

The SmartStart business incubator assists leaders in developing a formalized business framework that enables them to work with coaches to take their company to market.

“We are happy that we can help these women take part in programming that will prepare them for entrepreneurial success,” said Tracy Irby, director of the Center for Women Entrepreneurs.

Here are the award winners, six of whom will be starting TechFW programs this fall:

Stellah Onyancha

Company: Jabss Inc.

Industry: FinTech

Program Award: SmartStart

Onyancha plans to develop a global app that enables users to transfer money directly, instantly and seamlessly. She has begun trial testing the app.

Melissa Tammen

Company: 4-Mankind

Industry: Health

Program Award: SmartStart

Tammen is working on developing disposable, comfortable and effective incontinence protection for men that keeps urine off the skin. The company has a design patent and expects to soon have a utility patent.

Kim Pallister

Company: Revision Medical

Industry: Health

Program Award: SmartStart

Revision Medical is working to create and patent its SlideRight, a device that attaches easily to an existing medical bed and is designed to move a bed-ridden patient with a push of a button.

Ruby Bhayani

Company: Carewaves LLC

Industry: Software/Health

Program Award: ThinkLab

Bhayani is working on an app that provides remote patient monitoring and nursing management services for elderly patients in rural areas. She is heavily skilled in clinical case management.

Sonya Webb

Company: Meathead & Potatoes, LLC

Industry: Food & Beverage

Program: ThinkLab

Webb is working on a mechanical tool (designed in part with her daughter) that is a lightweight, collapsible transportation cart for restaurateurs. She has a provisional patent and is working toward manufacturing a prototype.

Mindy Hansen

Company: Sola Gratia

Industry: Healthcare

Program Award: ThinkLab

Hansen’s vision is to develop ideas based on human physiology to re-shape traditional healthcare paradigms. The phase of rehabilitation that is most difficult is motor learning and re-patterning. This innovative device can be utilized for neural patterning in those who may be temporarily immobilized, post-stroke, or many other maladies.

Niameh Freeman

Company: Red Puppy

Industry: Footwear

Program Award: ThinkLab

Freeman’s idea for electronic insoles came to her in a dream. She envisions them with connectivity through a smart watch or sports app to monitor the pressure in your shoes and vibrate to help alleviate pressure and pain while working. Red Puppy has obtained a provisional patent and is working to fine-tune its prototype, sales packet and business plan.

About TechFW 

TechFW, at 24, is a startup accelerator and incubator. ​​It builds, supports and educates tech entrepreneurs by bringing together trusted talent and robust resources in an effort to equip startups for success.

About the Center for Women Entrepreneurs at Texas Woman’s University 

The Center for Women Entrepreneurs is part of TWU’s Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership. The center provides tools for women-owned businesses to succeed, including business advising, funding, networking and training.