Meet Women Innovators in the Foundation Industries (WINFI)
On Friday 21st October, the Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge held its first webinar as part of its initiative to raise the profile of Women Innovators in the Foundation Industries (WINFI).
WINFI was an idea that came from thinking about 2050, and what the Foundation Industries will look like then. How will we respond to new demands and processes in the future? Our idea was that innovators with new ideas, skills and perspectives will be crucial to achieve 2050 goals. Just as there is not one route to achieving the 2050 vison, there is no one route for innovation, nor for how to successfully set up and grow a business. In this webinar, we wanted to put a spotlight on women innovators in the Foundation Industries, but also going beyond their identity and learning about their specific entrepreneurial journeys and their innovations that are making an impact today.
If you missed it, the recording of the full event is now available. Click here to watch.
Meet our panellists:
Dr Holly Reeve – CEO & Co-founder of HydRegen – working on slot-in biotechnologies for sustainable chemical manufacturing, with a focus on speciality chemicals but also evaluating the need for large scale commodity chemicals production.
Arta Selmani – CEO & Co-founder of Mimicrete – developing self-healing concrete technologies which autonomously detect and repair cracks in the concrete.
Dr Assia Kasdi – CEO and Co-founder of Milvus Advanced – creating nanomaterial catalysts made from Earth-abundant materials, which behave like platinum and act as a nano-catalyst for hydrogen electrolysis and fuel cells.
Dr Zhixuan Wang – CEO and Co-founder of Algreen – provide fully bio-based and biodegradable polyurethane.
Dr Natasha Boulding – CEO & Co-founder of Low Carbon Materials – make product based solutions for the construction industry to achieve net zero such as a lightweight carbon negative aggregate for use in concrete blocks to make then=m net zero.
Some key take away messages from our panellists:
Meeting the right people – make it your mission to go to training courses, entrepreneurship/business courses and speak to industry early on to shape your R&D direction and to understand your customer’s needs/demands.
Having the right talent – There is a big distinction between invention and innovation – innovation includes how to go the market, making the invention more robust, persuading the right stakeholders etc. To get this right in the beginning, make sure your team shares the same vision for the company and has the right mix of technical and business minded individuals to take the innovation forward.
Mindset – be brave and reach out to experts in the field for advice, be resilient and taking a ‘no’ as a way to improve, find the value in setting aside time to listen to your own voice – you know the most about your business so amidst all the advice, reflect on what you think as well.
Watch the recording to hear more advice from the panel on topics such as networking, mentorship, making it global, taking risks, dealing with failure, what I wish I’d known and more.
We’ll see you at the next one!
Related Events and Recordings
Women Innovators in the Foundation Industries (WINFI)
On International Women in Engineering Day 2022, the Innovate UK Business Connect Materials Team and the Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge launched the Women Innovators in Foundation Industries (WINFI) programme.
Women in Innovation
Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation programme was launched in 2016 to address underrepresentation of women in business innovation and to encourage more of them to apply to Innovate UK’s funding opportunities.