A keen eye for business and a passion for supporting women in the technology sector has resulted in a finalist listing in the Victorian Telstra Young Business Women’s Award for 2013 for gemaker co-founder Athena Prib.

Prib, who is based in Melbourne, launched technology commercialisation consultancy gemaker in partnership with Managing Director Natalie Chapman in 2011. The company is focused on working with Australian SMEs, research organisations and start-ups to bring their new products, services and disruptive technologies to the global market. As gemaker’s commercial director and in-house business development expert, Athena’s focus is on matching new technologies to prospective funders, clients and partners.

“Athena is a networking guru – a lot of what she does is foster relationships between innovators and inventors and the people out there in the market place who need their products and services,” Chapman says.

“She is an extremely energetic, extremely driven individual with a genuine passion for Australian innovation. I know very few people who work as hard, as diligently or as passionately as Athena does and I’m absolutely thrilled to see her listed as a finalist for this award.”

A former business development manager at New South Innovations and, previously, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Prib’s background in nuclear medicine and her fascination with technology were the foundations for an exciting career. Her achievements have created impact for gemaker’s clients projects, as well as playing a leading role in gemaker’s rapid growth since its launch two years ago.

“For us, Athena’s biggest achievement has been her success in signing new clients. Her ability to identify new business opportunities has resulted in revenue growth of over 300% in the last 12 months alone. She is a genuine powerhouse when it comes to managing client relationships.”

But it’s what Prib has done in developing the gemaker company structure that really sets her apart; as a predominantly female company, gemaker has been structured on a flexible working model that supports its employees to structure their work around the demands of life outside the office.

“What we’ve always wanted to do with gemaker is create a company that recognises the professionalism, the expertise and the extremely valuable experience of people who, for one reason or another, cannot or do not want to commit to full-time work,” Chapman says.

“Athena has always been a passionate advocate of work life balance and of supporting people, particularly women with children, who need help managing the balance of work and family.

“Athena was a driving force behind the gemaker company structure, which allows staff to choose their own hours, choose their projects, re-build their professional confidence as they re-enter the workforce. As well as being supportive of our employees’ life circumstances, the business model is truly unique within our sector, and is just another example of how Athena is driving change within the industry.”

The winner of the Victorian Telstra Young Business Women’s Award will be announced at a gala dinner in Melbourne on the 15th October.

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