Women in Innovation 2021/2022 Success Stories

Posted on: 03/05/2023
women in innovation innovate UK

Our Women in Innovation Award winners all have very different businesses, but they all have something in common – they are making a huge difference to people’s lives. Read the success stories of our 2021/22 Women in Innovation and the personal journeys they’ve been on since winning their awards.

Supporting Inspiring Women

Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Programme was established in 2016, after research revealed the gender gap in innovation funding applicants, where only 1 in 7 applications were led by women. Since then, the Programme has awarded 152 women with a total investment value of £7.6 million. Now in its sixth year, the Women in Innovation Awards has fostered a vibrant community of over 9,500 members.

With women entrepreneurs’ share of the VC funding market still under 2% and women owned firms receiving an average of 7 times less investment, these Awards play a key role in supporting, developing, and celebrating innovative women and the businesses they run. Equality, diversity and inclusion remain key priorities for Innovate UK and this is just one of the ways we are supporting underrepresented groups.

Find out more about how Innovate UK’s support is helping to grow these inspiring businesses:

Anna Vartapetiance is boosting the online safety of our children with innovative cybersecurity solutions.

Helen Xiaoqin Ma is modernising local delivery services for businesses and cutting carbon emissions in the process.

Jen Turner is speeding up patient recovery time through innovative medical devices.

Maud Millar is transforming how students revise and prepare for exams, helping them to focus and achieve their targets.

Naomi McGregor is revolutionising physiotherapy and how we analyse and treat injuries using wearable technology.

Nimrah Munir is revolutionising the treatment of brain cancer with an implant that delivers therapy directly to the tumour.

Reedah El-Saie is making learning fun with immersive educational gaming.

Vijayalakshmi Subramani is using innovations in VR headsets to drive inclusion.

Ying Lia Li Is developing exciting new technology to improve sensitivity in sensors.

Zoe Tolkien is shaking up cleaning solutions for semiconductor device manufacturing.

Finding your Tribe

According to Anna Vartapetiance, CEO of Securium LTD, the best part of the programme has been finding her ‘tribe’ – a like-minded group of innovators she can use as a sounding board without fear of being judged or need to prove herself as ‘good enough’.

Naomi McGregor of TruMove agrees that a key aspect of the Women in Innovation Programme is the peer-to-peer support as well as the recognition the Award provides: “I’ve grown in confidence from receiving such a prestigious Award,” she says. “As a young female founder, this exposure can transform my credibility.

We’re delighted to share the success stories of our 2021/22 cohort, who have achieved great things since winning their awards.

The Awards were established to address the underrepresentation of women in business innovation and to encourage more of them to apply to Innovate UK’s funding opportunities. Each award winner received a £50,000 grant as well as one-on-one business coaching from Innovate UK EDGE and mentoring and training from Innovate UK KTN.

East Midlands

Helen Xiaoqin Ma| Anteam

East of England

Zoe Tolkien | Advanced Furnace Technology


Maud Millar | Adapt
Reedah El-Saie | Brainspark Games

North East England

Vijayalakshmi Subramani | Kerckhoffs Ltd

North West England

Nimrah Munir | QV Bioelectronics

Northern Ireland

Naomi McGregor | Movetru

South East

Anna Vartapetiance | Securium

South West England

Ying Lia Li | Zero Point Motion

Yorkshire and the Humber

Jen Turner | JT Rehab Ltd

The next competition

We are launching an exciting new competition in Summer 2023, which builds upon the success of our Women in Innovation programme to support even more innovators with funding, one-on-one business coaching and tailored support.

Subscribe to our newsletter to find out exactly when and how you’ll be able to submit your application!

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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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