International Women's Day 2022: Women Innovate

This year, Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN are bringing together remarkable companies and individuals to applaud the achievements of women innovators and to drive powerful conversations.

Event Details


09.30 - 15.00



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International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year, Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN are bringing together remarkable companies and individuals to applaud the achievements of women innovators and to drive powerful conversations.

Webinar recordings are now available


Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the Women in Innovation programme which forms an integral part of Innovate UK’s 2021-2025 Plan for Action for UK Business Innovation. Through the Women in Innovation programme, we are nurturing pioneering women to embrace innovation, expand, continue to grow and develop their own diverse teams for positive economic, environmental, and societal change.

Our FREE one-day online conference will be jam-packed with thought-provoking panel discussions, inspirational speakers, and innovative ideas.

This annual event aims to inspire emerging women innovators, highlight the many inspirational women role models working within the UK, bring together allies, as well as strengthening the UK as a world leader in innovation and gender inclusion.

  • Take part in a range of webinars, workshops, and panel sessions by influential thought leaders and innovators from all walks of life
  • Gain insights into topic areas such as the role of empathy, inclusion and vulnerability in social innovation, intersectionality in the innovation ecosystem, why allyship needs to be a commitment from all of us, the role of women leadership in developing a common, sustainable future, and much more
  • Contribute to  the discussions, meet and hear from the female visionaries who are “breaking the bias” while making positive change across industries.

This virtual conference aims to leave you feeling inspired and encouraged to continue the conversation and take action within your community, workplace, and any other groups that are important to you. It will also provide you with knowledge on the opportunities available for you and your business.

There is a wealth of support available and multiple communities working together to achieve gender equality in innovation, so join us to break the bias and build the future.

About the Women in Innovation Programme

Launched in 2016, Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation programme empowers pioneering female entrepreneurs to develop innovations, through a women-only competition with awards offering innovation grant funding and a tailored programme of mentoring and business support.

Since 2016, the Women in Innovation programme has discovered a whole new community of over 9K women innovators with amazing ideas. The number of women leading applications to Innovate UK has increased by 70% as a result of the first competition campaign.

Delivered by KTN, the programme enables brilliant women to fully achieve their visions and change the world, while championing and celebrating gender diversity throughout UK innovation.

The programme has been an overwhelming success with over 100 award winners to date, and a new cohort set to be announced in March. The Women in Innovation award winners are leading the way in fostering innovations to tackle some of the biggest societal challenges we face today.

Innovate UK is committed to helping more women achieve their potential and we are excited about the future of our Women in Innovation programme.


  • 09:30 – Opening Address

Emma Taylor-Steeds, Head of D&I | IUK KTN
Rachel Obrike, EDI Programme Lead, IUK
Indro Mukerjee, CEO | IUK
Jo Shanmugalingam, Director General Science, Innovation and Growth at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy | BEIS
George Freeman, UK Minister for Science, Research and Innovation | BEIS “(video recording)”

  • 10:00 – Meeting challenges with innovative solutions

Alison Ettridge, WiI 20/21 winner, CEO | Talent Intuition
Winnie Awa, WiI 21/22 winner, Founder & CEO | Carra
Helen Xiaoqin Ma, WiI 21/22 winner, Founder | Anteam LTD
Reedah El-Saie, WiI 21/22 winner, Founder | Xplorealms
Laura Pomfret, WiI 21/22 winner, Owner & Co-Founder | Financielle

  • 11:00 – Allyship in Innovation: Our commitment to each other

Mat Wasley, KTM – Photonics | IUK KTN
Simon Thorpe, Chair of Cambridge Angels | Delta2020 Llp
Sophie Walker, CEO & Co-Founder | Dsposal (WiI 20/21 winner)
Tim Champan, Director at Arup | Net Zero Carbon for Infrastructure
Dr Arinola Araba, Director | bMoneywize Ltd

  • 12:45:
    • Intersectionality in the innovation ecosystem

Solène Anglaret, Project Manager for D&I | IUK KTN
Jyoti Sehdev Ceng, Senior Engineer and EDI Lead | Costain Group
Dr. Mark McBride-Wright, Founder | EqualEngineers
Hardeep Rai, Group CEO | The Kaleidoscope Group
Gosbert Chagula, Co-Founder & Head of Programmes | Startup Discovery School

    • Break the bias

Ian Tracey, Founder | Anchored In Ltd.
Naomi McGregor, Founder | Movetru
Alaya Holloway, IY 20/21 winner, Founder | FirstGens
Lamè Verre FEI, Co- Founder & Co-Chair | Lean in Equity & Sustainability

    • Driving social innovation through empathy and inclusion

Karen Souza, KTM for Diversity & Inclusion | IUK KTN
Corina Shika Kwami
, Associate Director of Strategy | Purpose
Karen Jelenje, YI 20/21 winner, Founder and Director | Activate The City!
Nirish Shakya, Design Thinking Consultant, Educator & Coach

  • 13:45: (NB: Pitching to investors begins at 13:30)
    • Embracing vulnerability to inspire: Why does it matter

Dr Alexandra Jugureanu, KTM Social Science Business Innovation | IUK KTN
Olajide Alabi, Co-Founder | SISU
Michael Omotosho, YI 20/21 winner, Founder | Plugull
Marie Van Herteryck (Djela), WiI 20/21 winner, Founder | NDSA
Kate Parkinson, WiI 20/21 winner, Founder | Head Set

    • Developing a common, sustainable future as women leaders

Jonny Voon, Head of the Sustainable Innovation Fund | IUK
Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive | Women in Business NI
Fiona Daniel, CEO and Founder | FD21
Tabby Bunyan, (20/21 YI) Founder | Re_considered
Sandra Steinhauer, Innovation & Growth Specialist Team Manager | Innovate UK EDGE London

    • 13:30: Pitching to investors

Jenny Tooth, CEO | UK Business Angles Association
Jordan Dargue, Board Director of NorthInvest, Founder of Fund Her North and Angle Investor
Elizabeth Gooch, Founder & CEO, The Tech Growth Factory | Angle Investor
Bridget Connell, Founder, ThinkingParterships | Angle Investor
Vijayalakshmi Subramani, Director | Kerckhoffs Ltd (21/22 WiI winner)
Maud Millar, CEO & Co-founder | Adapt (21/22 WiI winner)
Alice Rackley, CEO | Polytag Limited (21/22 WiI winner)
Nimrah Munir, Principal Biomaterial Scientist | QV Bioelectronics (21/22 WiI winner)
Savannah de Savary, Founder & CEO | Built-ID (21/22 WiI winner)

  • 14:30 – Closing Address

Rachel Obrike, EDI Programme Lead | IUK
Catriona Schmolke, Non-Executive Director, ESG advisor, Mentor and Former SVP | JACOBS

Related programme

Women in Innovation

Women in Innovation

Enabling brilliant women across the UK to fully achieve their vision for their businesses and change the world, while championing and celebrating gender diversity throughout UK innovation.


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