Women In Innovation 2020/21 Success Stories

Read the success stories of 19 of our 2020/21 Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation awardees to learn about how their ground-breaking ideas are helping manage the world’s greatest challenges. Find out how the Women in Innovation programme helped these pioneering women take their businesses to the next level and inspire the next generation.

Posted on: 10/06/2022
Women in Innovation 2020-2021 cohort

Innovation is crucial for our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and for addressing global grand challenges.

Embracing women led innovation

Research into the lack of women-led organisations in the innovation landscape revealed that women found access to funding and finance as the biggest challenge, while a third of respondents felt their gender negatively impacted their career. Other important issues highlighted were the lack of visible role models and the importance of access to the right networks, findings which informed the creation of the Women in Innovation (WiI) Programme.

Six years since its launch, the WiI Award has reached record high numbers in applications, a testament to the need for such campaigns and to the success of the programme in nurturing pioneering women to embrace innovation, grow their businesses, and develop their own diverse teams for positive economic, environmental, and societal change.

Equality, diversity and inclusion form an integral part of Innovate UK’s 2021-2025 Plan for Action for UK Business Innovation. Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation programme encourages all eligible women innovators to apply for the chance to win funding and receive support in collaboration with like-minded partners.

Innovate UK EDGE offers business growth support to the Award holders through one-to-one coaching and mentoring. Innovate UK Business Connect are the engine behind the delivery of a bespoke package of support that includes access to networks and peer networking, mentoring, expert advice and training sessions.

To help women transform, scale up their businesses and create a more diverse investment ecosystem in the UK, Innovate UK launched the WiI programme in partnership with the UK Business Angels Association and has since partnered with the Department for the Economy of Northern Ireland. IUK also collaborates with Founders4Schools, where awardees and community members act as role models for the next generation of innovators.

Spotlight on success

Since the programme’s launch in 2016, there has been a 70% increase in women-led applications across Innovate UK grant programmes. The WiI programme now has a vibrant community of over 9000 members and has awarded 118 women with the total investment value at £5.1 million GBP.

At Innovate UK Business Connect we are delighted to spotlight the success stories of 19 awardees from our 2020/21 cohort. These ambitious and brave pioneering women innovators are working on a wide range of innovations across many different sectors aimed at addressing pressing challenges. Read about their journeys, follow them and help us amplify their voices by sharing their stories.


Northern Ireland


North East

North West

West Midlands

East Midlands

Yorkshire and the Humber

South West

South East

East of England


The next competition

The next competition will open on 22 August 2022. Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Awards 2022/23 will offer cash injections of £50,000 each to remarkable women innovators from diverse backgrounds, as well as a bespoke package of coaching, mentoring and training support.

Subscribe to our newsletter to find out exactly when and how you’ll be able to submit your application in the hope to become part of the growing Women in Innovation community!

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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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