Women In Innovation Success Stories: Alison Ettridge, Talent Intuition Ltd, Cardiff
When Alison won Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Award in March 2021, Talent Intuition had just launched version one of their Stratigens product. Stratigens is a decision intelligence package that combines global workforce and workplace data in one place. The software provides business leaders with the data they need to make critical business decisions, in areas such as skills supply, location planning and diversity.
One feature of Stratigens is that it unlocks data on the flow of female engineering talent in the UK. Stratigens identifies and analyses aspects including: the journey from education to professional role, career transitions and moves between companies and industries.
At the time of the award, most of Talent Intuition‘s funding was from consultancy revenue and seed funding to help with proof of concept projects to attract Stratigens’ early adopters in this pioneering area of software development. The company was looking at the most effective way to scale, working with a small number of global corporates. The business had a team of six full time employees, supported by part time contractors.
Founder Alison Ettridge said: “Winning the award was clearly the first key milestone. The grant enabled us to explore a new, exciting area of product development. Perhaps more importantly, it was the recognition that we were amongst the top few female innovators in the UK.”
The next key milestone came after the first bootcamp when Alison was introduced to her Innovate UK EDGE Innovation and Growth Specialist. Alison said: “We were already an Innovate UK Scale Up business and used to working with business mentors. Meeting Innovation and Growth Specialist, Giulia Sirigu and finding out about the range of support, made me realise how important this element of the award was going to be to me personally. Also, meeting other award winners in person, and networking with Young Innovators, brought the programme to life.”
The grant has enabled Alison to explore ground-breaking graph technology that could have wider implications across the entire Stratigens product . The company also hired a Head of Data Engineering, who is critical to maximising the application of Stratigens data. As a scale-up business, Stratigens would not have had the confidence nor budget to make this hire without the award from Innovate UK.
Impressive sales performance
Since winning the grant, Stratigens sales have increased by 292% from 2020 to 2021, a large proportion of which was due to engagement with potential clients. The business has grown software revenue from less than 15% of total revenue to more than 65%. “Due to this growth, we have expanded the team and are now at nine full time employees. We are still supported by a number of part time contractors and are actively hiring,” said Alison.The leadership team has used the learnings so far to launch a minimum viable product for its diversity offering. This development directly led to one new client ; a FTSE 100 energy business that wanted to take a data-led approach to changing the workforce composition.
Talking about personal growth, Alison said: “The most important thing has been allowing myself to realise that this programme is about me, and not about the company. It’s been about learning to understand my importance in the scaling of the business. This realisation is important – this is why we lack female role models in innovation.”
“I had a misconceived idea that to be an innovator you had to invent a ‘thing’, or be a scientist or a technologist – I am none of these things. I am a female innovator who spotted a gap in the market, who was brave enough to exploit the opportunity (regardless of outcome) and who is lucky enough to have been brought up in an environment that has enabled me to try.”
Alison’s advice for potential applicants is: “Go for it! If you don’t ask, you won’t get, so take the time to think about where you would like to grow as an individual right at the beginning of the programme, and then ask for support.”
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