News story

Women in Innovation: new support announced

New funding and support will be made available to women through a second round of Innovate UK's female-only competition.

2016 Women in Innovation award holder Rebecca Street

2016 Women in Innovation award holder Rebecca Street.

Ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow, Innovate UK has announced that it will run a second phase of its Women in Innovation awards.

The programme, which will launch later this year, will consist of a funding competition and support package to encourage more female-led innovation.

Alongside this, Innovate UK will start running quarterly innovation accelerator workshops to help get more women innovating in business nationwide. We will also review our existing programmes to see how we can better promote and inspire diversity.

Supporting government’s Industrial Strategy

The second Women in Innovation competition will seek ideas that address the 4 grand challenges posed by government’s Industrial Strategy. These are:

  • AI and the data economy
  • clean growth
  • future of mobility
  • ageing society

Find out more

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About the programme and its success

The first Women in Innovation programme was launched in 2016, following research that found just 1 in 7 applications for Innovate UK funding came from women.

To address this, Innovate UK ran its first women-only competition. This provided £50,000 funding each for 15 female-led businesses plus mentoring. We have also run an entrepreneurial mission to Boston for 7 women in tech.

Since the programme launched there has been an increase in female registrations for Innovate UK support, from 14% to 24%.

Helping more women achieve their business ambitions

Commenting on the announcing, Dr Ruth McKernan CBE, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, says:

It is fantastic that more women are coming to us for innovation funding and support, but we need to go further.

Our 2018 Women in Innovation programme is designed to help many more women achieve their business ambitions, drive UK growth and productivity, and harness the full talent pool.

Published 7 March 2018
Last updated 8 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. Clarified that the increase in registrations from female applications for Innovate UK support has gone from 14% to 24%.

  2. First published.