Women in Innovation Awards 2024/25

Women within UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of up to £4m; each winner gets a £75k grant and bespoke business support.

Opportunity Details


Registration Opens


Registration Closes



Your project’s grant funding request must be up to £75,000. Your total project costs will be 100% funded; 90% will be paid upfront in December 2024​ and 10% after the end of the project.


Innovate UK

Share this opportunity

Find out more and apply

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is offering up to 50 Women in Innovation Awards to women entrepreneurs within SMEs across the UK. The winners will receive a £75,000 grant and bespoke business support.

The aim of this competition is to fund and support a diverse portfolio of Women in Innovation Award winners:

  • who will be relatable role models for women from all backgrounds
  • from regions across the UK
  • who are solving a range of pressing societal, environmental and economic challenges
  • in a variety of innovation areas

We want to support women who are at a critical stage with their business, where an award will enable them to take an important step forward.

The funding should help you make a real difference to innovation in the UK including in and beyond your sector or innovation area.

The competition opened on Monday 13 May and will close Wednesday 10 July at 11am exactly

  • To lead a project you must:

    • be a woman founder, co-founder or senior decision maker within a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) that has been registered on Companies House for at least 12 months
    • be a resident in the UK
    • attend two development days in 2025
    • be fully committed to volunteer as a role model for at least five days over the duration of the award

    Applications from UK-registered social enterprises operating economically will be eligible if they meet all other criteria.

    You are not eligible to apply for Women in Innovation 2024 – 2025 if you or anyone else from your business have previously received Innovate UK funding from:

    • Women in Innovation
    • Young Innovators Next Steps follow on funding
    • Innovate UK Award: Build

    You can only make one application for yourself. Only one woman working within an organisation can apply.

    The awards are for individuals, but this does not prevent you from working on the project with others.

    Grant funding in this competition is awarded as Minimal Financial assistance (MFA). This allows public bodies to award up to £315,000 to an enterprise in a three year rolling financial period. In your application, you will be asked to declare previous funding received by you. This will form part of the financial checks ahead of Innovate UK making a formal grant offer.

  • Your project must:

    • have a grant funding request of up to £75,000
    • last for 12 months
    • carry out all of its project work in the UK
    • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
    • start on 1 December 2024
    • end on 30 November 2025

    Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. Subcontracting costs must not exceed 50% of the grant funding amount.

    Any projects selected for funding which involve animals will be asked to provide additional information on welfare and ethical considerations, as well as compliance with any relevant legislation as part of the project start-up process. This information will be reviewed before an award is made.

  • You must provide a video to describe your proposal. The video is mandatory and if you do not provide a link to access your video, your application will be made ineligible.

    In your video, tell us about:

    • your business and innovation
    • the problem your innovation will solve
    • why you are best placed to solve it
    • the skills, expertise and experience you have which are relevant to ensuring successful delivery of the project
    • your capacity to successfully deliver this project alongside existing business activities or constraints

    Your video will be considered together with the responses you give in the other application questions.

    You must upload your video to YouTube.

    Your video must be no longer than three minutes. If your video is over three minutes long, only the first three minutes will be viewed.

    You do not need to be in the video, you are able to submit a black screen or slide deck with a voice over. The video does not need to be a costly production. It is simply an opportunity to give the assessors clarity in understanding your project.

    If you cannot upload your video to YouTube, you must contact support@iuk.ukri.org at least 15 working days before the competition closes for advice, or to ask permission to use an alternative platform.

    Further details on how to send in your video as part of your application can be found at the competition page.

  • The aim of this competition is to fund and support a diverse portfolio of Women in Innovation Award winners:

    • who will be relatable role models for women from all backgrounds
    • from regions across the UK
    • who are solving a range of pressing societal, environmental and economic challenges
    • in a variety of innovation areas

    Your project must identify clearly evidenced pressing societal, environmental or economic challenges, and how your project and innovation can help solve them.​

    Applications can come from any area of innovation (where innovation is defined as the commercially successful exploitation of ideas) and be applied to any part of the economy.

    We are looking for women who clearly explain how they will benefit from the full package of funding and support on offer and who can describe how this will add value to them and their business.

    We are particularly encouraging applications from women who:

    • are looking to develop a game changing novel idea or business innovation
    • have the potential, capability, experience and personal drive to become leaders in business innovation
    • want to be a role model for others, including in their region, sector and to young people
    • have a clear vision for their business
    • know what they are hoping to achieve from the award and how to measure success
  • We are not funding projects that:

    • are not led by a woman founder, co-founder or senior decision maker within a UK registered SME
    • have total project costs and a grant funding request over £75,000
    • attribute more than 50% of their costs to subcontractors
    • do not intend to use the full award package, for example, requesting just the funding and not the wider support package
    • have a negative impact on the environment or society
    • have a detrimental effect on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)
    • are unable to commit to two development days in 2025
    • are not able to fulfil at least five days of Role Modelling during the 12 month Award
    • have previously received Innovate UK funding from Women in Innovation, Young Innovators Next Steps follow on funding, or Innovate UK Award: Build

    We cannot fund projects that:

  • Your total project costs will be 100% funded. Total project costs detailed within your application must not exceed the £75,000 grant funding amount. If your total project costs do exceed the maximum then your application will be made ineligible.

    If successful, the grant funding will be paid in two instalments:​

    • 90% paid upfront in December 2024​
    • 10% paid post project end, upon approval of the final claim, independent accountant report (IAR) and project close form (PCF)

    As an award holder you will also receive tailored business support, including but not limited to:

    • funding and finance options and how to access these
    • media and communications, for example, branding
    • developing new business models
    • evaluating market opportunities
    • finding new partners
    • growth and scale up
    • developing international collaborations and accessing global markets
    • business planning strategy
  • Innovate UK held an online briefing on Tuesday 14 May. Watch the recording to learn more about the scope for this competition, the application process and support available for applicants.

    Further supporting events are also open to all applicants:

    31 May 2024: Grant Writing Workshop​

    12 June 2024: How to make an effective video submission

    28 June 2024: Project Planning and Risk Management Workshop

    4 July 2024: Women in Innovation: Applicant Support Q&A

  • If you need more information, please contact Innovate UK Customer Support Services. You can reach them by email at Women in Innovation enquiry  or by calling the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am-12noon and 2-5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). We also have an automated virtual assistant on hand to answer frequently asked questions about Innovate UK and this service is available 24 hours a day, every day.

    Read through the full list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Women in Innovation Awards:

    Download FAQs

Related Events and Recordings


Women in Innovation: Application Support Sessions

11.00 - 13.00 GMT | Online

Register for this event

Innovate UK Women in Innovation Awards 2024/25 Briefing Event

10.00 - 12.30 | Online

Watch now
See all events

Related programme

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.


Connect with Innovate UK Business Connect

Join Innovate UK Business Connect's mailing list to receive updates on funding opportunities, events and to access Innovate UK Business Connect's deep expertise. Please check your email to confirm your subscription and select your area(s) of interest.