Innovate UK has announced a new wave of Women in Innovation Awards to find and support the UK’s most promising female innovators to develop their ideas and scale up their businesses.
Up to 10 women will secure £50,000 each as well as a bespoke programme of coaching, mentoring and innovation growth support. The priority will be engaging women innovators across the whole of the UK.
The Women in Innovation programme was first launched in 2016 and since then the number of women leading applications for grants to Innovate UK has increased by 70%.
The new awards were announced on 8 March 2020, International Women’s Day, by the UK’s first dedicated female Science Minister Amanda Solloway.
The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship estimated that an additional £250 billion could be contributed to the UK economy if female entrepreneurs started and scaled their businesses at the same rate as men.
Ian Campbell, Interim Executive Chair, Innovate UK, said:
Diversity in businesses is a proven driver of economic growth. Through our focused campaigns we have shown how Innovate UK’s support has enabled winners to embrace innovation, expand and refine global product ranges, and continue to grow and develop their own diverse teams.
By continuing these efforts we can help bring attention to many inspirational role models for our next generation of innovators, strengthening the UK as a world leader in innovation.
Innovate UK has also formed a new partnership with Founders4Schools to highlight the importance of women-led businesses engaging with schools to inspire future innovators.
Sherry Coutu CBE, Founder and Chair of Founders4Schools, said:
We are absolutely delighted to be starting a partnership with Innovate UK to enable their women innovators to inspire students up and down the country using the Founders4Schools digital platform. By connecting these inspirational women with their local schools, we can raise the aspirations of the innovators of tomorrow and build a talent pipeline for the future.
Since 2016 Innovate UK has engaged a new community of over 3000 women in innovation.
Innovate UK will continue to grow this community in the UK and beyond and will provide support via a series of events in partnership with regional partners and online tools and advice.
In addition, annual Global Business Innovation Programmes will showcase UK women innovators, provide access to international research and innovation opportunities and build peer networks across different countries.
Previous winners of the Women in Innovation Awards include:
Daniela Paredes Fuentes the creator of Gravity Sketch, software that allows designers to sketch in 3D.
Agnes Czako who invented AirEx, a smart-tech airbrick that could help householders save money on their energy bills by improving the energy efficiency of tens of millions of UK homes.
Dr Debbie Wake who is the CEO, co-founder and clinical lead for My Diabetes My Way – a self-management platform for diabetes patients.