Women in Innovation Award winners share advice for applicants

Posted on: 23/08/2021
Photo of business women discussing about the project and drinking coffee on the rooftop.

The Women in Innovation Awards 2021/22 will support at least 20 women with a £50,000 grant and bespoke business support package. As the Awards open to applicants, winners from the 2020/21 cohort share their advice on how to deliver an application that delivers impact and enables your passion to shine through.

“Let your belief in your business idea shine through. This application will be the basis for your second stage interview – if you radiate enthusiasm and confidence in your idea that will make you stand out.”
Samantha Woodham, Co-founder, The Divorce Surgery 

“The Women in Innovation programme has helped me become more confident as a female entrepreneur. Not only was my own ability recognised but getting to know the other females and their innovations is such an inspiration.”
Anja Stolte, Head of Marketing, Enable Manufacturing 

“Women are usually more reserved than men when it comes to talking about their achievements. I personally understand that and while I am not advising you to boast about your successes, it’s essential that we women too can proudly share what we have achieved. No matter where in our journey we are, small successes in our personal growth count as much as a big win with our companies.”
Nicola Filzmoser, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Happyr Health

“Share what you do as a role-model outside of your business as well as within it – the Women in Innovation team are interested in you as a whole person!”
Sarah Henley, Co-founder, NextUp Comedy 

“Take time and thought in preparing your story and vision, and think about how you can be a leader. Be enthusiastic and good humoured, and if you get shortlisted, see the final interview as a conversation and an opener to further dialogue whatever the outcome of the competition.”
Samantha Bunyan, Co-founder, Cecence

“Over the past three years I wrote draft applications to the Women in Innovation award, but was hesitant to click submit due to imposter syndrome. My advice for those who are contemplating would be – be yourself, write about your passion and click submit.”
Lise Pape, Founder, Walk With Path

“The advice I would give to other female entrepreneurs is to go for it! When you are filling in your application, dare to dream about how big your idea could be because with the right help and support, it could be. Go big and really think through the details of how you’d deliver on the project if you got the award.”
Rebecca Page, Co-founder and CEO, Rebecca Page Ltd. 

“One thing that this cohort all have in common is how passionate they are about what they do, so when writing your application let your passion shine through. And don’t feel shy in asking colleagues and contacts for recommendations; from my experience people are only too happy to help.”
Sophie Walker, COO and co-founder, Dsposal 

“My number one piece of advice would be to ask for feedback. The opinion of a trusted external peer on your application is invaluable. As founders, we are immersed in our ideas and projects so it is easy to use language that makes perfect sense to us, but not to others! The assessors read hundreds of applications so it’s important to put your proposal in plain English so they can quickly understand what you are going to do and the impact it will have. Also, read the questions carefully. Rather than trying to shoehorn everything you want to say into the document, write a story that builds through the application questions.”
Alison Ettridge, CEO and Chief Believer, Talent Intuition

“Our carbon footprint games are successful and great because they’re fun to play and FUN is also one of our work ethics, so I wasn’t afraid to show the fun element of what we do in the application. Make the application a mirror of yourself and your great idea for best results.”
Dr Emma Fieldhouse, Director, Future We Want 

“I treated the application as a project in its own right. I created a project plan for it and made sure I understood all of the elements necessary to complete it. I assembled a team of people to help me with my responses and supporting materials. I also think my personal story, in terms of how I grew my business, was more compelling than I had thought. Having spent the time starting, developing and growing a business provided a level of proof that I knew what I was doing and helped engender a degree of confidence in me as a leader.”
Heather Lyons, Founder and Director, BlueShift Education

“Be your unscripted self. Let your passion and enthusiasm for innovation, equality and your sector flow. Really think about the value you could extract from the programme and explain how that support will impact you as a leader and take your business to the next level.”
Natasha Boulding, Co-founder and CEO, Sphera

“I really wanted to apply for the award last year, but talked myself out of it. This year, my co-founder made me put myself forward and I am so glad that I did. If I have one piece of advice, I would say don’t over think it and make sure that your application conveys your passion for your business and for your idea.”
Becki Cassia, Co-founder, transparently

The Women in Innovation Awards 2021/21 are now open for applications. The winners will receive a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.

The aim of this competition is to find women with exciting, innovative ideas and ambitious plans that will inspire others. Find out more about the Awards and the Women in Innovation programme.

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