The first iAccelerate Entrepreneurial Women’s Series event for 2018.

The Series aimed to encourage and inspire a conversation with the community about the innovation ecosystem. Since its inception in 2014, entrepreneurs have used these events as an opportunity find inspiration in the stories of successful women, a chance to discuss challenges and to share lessons learned. While the series focuses on women’s perspectives, it will appeal to men and women equally.

Our first event, hosted over lunch, featured a panel of iAccelerate entrepreneurs, facilitated by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), Professor Judy Raper.


Maree has both personal and career experience within disability that extends over 42 years collectively. She is the Founder of the Life Our Way app, a tool designed for carers and families to better coordinate and manage the supports and services involved in the life of their loved one with a disability.  She is a strong advocate and believer in empowering carers, families and people with a disability to take control of their lives and her vision through Life Our Way is to equip them with the tools they need to achieve this! Life Our Way was one of the iAccelerate Pitch competition winners in 2017.

Maryanne Harris is the Co-Founder and CEO of tappON. As a peer to peer marketplace, tappON is introducing a new way to manage your health and wellness at home. By connecting individuals with a disability or additional supports required to service providers from a range of disciplines based on experience, skills and location, tappON is designed to meet the needs of both the individual and service provider.  As a 3rd Generation female leader in her family’s healthcare business, prior to joining iAccelerate in 2018, Maryanne benefited from strong female role models who helped mould her passion for helping others. Maryanne’s goal is to empower individuals on both sides of the marketplace to maintain control and flexibility in their lives.

Diamond Hawkins is the Founder of Panorama Prebuilt, a company that specialises in building custom designed, sustainable modular housing. Prior to moving to Australia with her family, she worked as project manager for Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) in Germany. After turning her first company, together with her husband, into a successful wholesale business, Diamond joined iAccelerate in 2018 with her new venture in a field that she is passionate about. Her new company is working on exciting projects in sustainable pre-fabricated housing. She is currently working to build tourist accommodation in the Hunter Valley as well as an “off grid” mass-produced tiny house. 

Pia is the founder of PhycoHealth. PhycoHealth takes scientific knowledge to the real world using marine-sourced nutrition to demonstrate that oceans are essential to human wellbeing. The Shoalhaven company is active globally in increasing the sophistication of seaweed for health and nutrition. Pia maintains strong collaborative ties with academia and continues to publish research while focusing on a commercial pathway to take new Australian marine crops to the world.

Professor Judy Raper joined the University of Wollongong in 2008. She is a chemical engineer of 40 years standing with expertise in air and water pollution control, particle technology, research and education.
Recognition of Judy’s achievements include the Shedden Pacific Award for the Young Chemical Engineer of the Year (1992), the EA Professional Engineer of the Year (1997) and the Avon Spirit of Achievement Award for Science (1998). She was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and as an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia in 2003.  In 2013, Professor Raper was listed as one of Australia’s most influential women, and as one of Australia’s most influential engineers for three consecutive years (2013-2015). 

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