Innovate UK: diversity and inclusion

How we are supporting people from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life to innovate and succeed in business and ultimately build the UK economy.


At Innovate UK we are committed to encouraging diversity and inclusion in business innovation.

We want to find the best and most talented innovators from a diverse range of backgrounds, and provide them with the resources, advice and self-belief to succeed.

Our approach shines a spotlight where there is currently under representation in business innovation. We support and empower people to innovate, grow businesses, and in turn the UK economy.

Ideas mean business: campaign

Ideas mean business is a new collaboration between Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust to engage and inspire young innovators from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The programme aims to help young people (18 to 30-year-olds) to gain confidence and expertise to innovate and realise their potential, regardless of their background.

It will offer awards providing financial support, a free package of tools and expert advice to help make a young person’s innovative idea a reality.

Ideasmeanbusiness launch event

Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust’s campaign, Ideas mean business

Women in innovation: campaign

Women in innovation is the name of our first diversity and inclusion campaign. Launched in 2016, it aims to get more women innovating in business.

The campaign kicked off with research to understand the challenges of being a female entrepreneur, and a women-only competition with awards offering innovation grant funding and a tailored programme of mentoring and business support.

By working with the award holders, we are helping them to grow their businesses, and creating new role models for the next generation.

A second round of the female-only funding competition will run in 2018.

Other ways we are tackling this issue include reviewing our existing funding programmes to see how we can better promote and inspire diversity and establishing quarterly innovation accelerator workshops to help get more women innovating.

Women in Innovation - new support announced

Women in innovation: meet our female entrepreneurs

Watch videos and find out more about some of our award holders.

Fanzi Down, Commercial Director, DPS Design, on changing perceptions of the business

Women in Innovation - Fanzi Down

Shakardokht Jafari, CTO and Founder, TrueInvivo, on her drive to innovate new cancer treatments

Women in Innovation - Shakardokht Jafari

Becky Sage, CEO, Interactive Scientific, on being a female entrepreneur in digital tech

What’s it like to be a female entrepreneur in the digital tech sector?

Beth Dawson, Projects Manager, Fuel Cell Systems, on energy and her role as an ‘intrapreneur’

What’s it like to be a female intrapreneur in the energy sector?

Emma Sceats, CEO, CN Bio Innovations, on working in health technology

What’s it like to be a female entrepreneur in the health tech sector?


Check out our series of blogs on diversity and inclusion.

The Knowledge Transfer Network hosts blogs on diversity and inclusion from business experts. See all blogs.

  1. Innovate UK: find out more about how we work

    • News story
Published 7 July 2017
Last updated 9 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added new videos for the Women in Innovation campaign, one on the new support that will be made available and others featuring some of the award holders and how the programme has helped them to innovate.
  2. Added information about Innovate UK running a second Women in Innovation competition this year and included a link in the collection to the news story with more detail. Added information on the other activities we are doing to support and encourage female entrepreneurs to innovate.
  3. Reordered collection sections into 2 campaigns, Ideas mean business and Women in innovation, following the launch of new campaign. Added new video content and news stories on the launch.
  4. Added latest news stories.
  5. Added links to diversity and inclusion blogs from the KTN. Added photography book to collection of our work.
  6. Added latest news stories to the collection.
  7. First published.