Women in Innovation
Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation programme was launched in 2016 to address underrepresentation of women in business innovation and to encourage more of them to apply to Innovate UK’s funding opportunities. Since its inception, the Programme has enabled 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.
Boosting innovation through Diversity – Impact & Reach
The Programme has continued to go from strength to strength, year by year, with ever greater numbers of women innovating in business. In the last 6 years we have had the honour of nurturing over 160 pioneering women from all UK regions and nations to embrace innovation, grow their businesses, and navigate the entrepreneurial ecosystem for positive economic, environmental, and societal change.
Since its inception, the Women in Innovation Programme:
- has awarded a total of £7.6 million to 152 remarkable women to enable them to develop and grow their businesses, whilst elevating them as relatable role models to inspire the next generation of women innovators
- has created a vibrant community of over 9,500 women business leaders, ambassadors and allies.
- has provided opportunities for women innovators to work in partnership with many brilliant organisations and networks and to learn from one another
- has amplified our reach and impact in our mission to foster a more gender-diverse business innovation ecosystem in the UK.
Women In Innovation Awards 2022/23
The 2022/23 Women in Innovation application round saw a record high number of applications, with over 900 women applying to the Award. After a highly competitive process, 50 women entrepreneurs were chosen to embark on a 12 month journey, benefitting from a bespoke business boosting support package between April 2023 and March 2024. The support package includes a cash injection of £50,000 each, tailored business coaching, mentoring and a wealth of networking, role modelling and training opportunities designed to help grow their innovation further.
Fuelling STEM learning among displaced children through play.
Using native plants to harvest valuable metals from contaminated soil.
Bringing communities together in events generated by advanced algorithms and data analysis.
Analysing medical images with AI.
Self-monitoring concrete for a more sustainable future.
Using deep learning to detect unknown archaeological sites.
Hear more about the Programme legacy and our 2022/23 Award winners
The 2022/23 Women in Innovation Award winners represent a wide variety of sectors, innovation areas and expertise. Play the video to hear more about them and the Programme legacy since 2016.
“The Innovate UK Women in Innovation programme is an important part of our many activities to make a real difference to the talent and skills pipeline for UK business innovation by inspiring, involving and investing in greater diversity. I warmly congratulate all the Women in Innovation Award winners and look forward to keeping in touch as they progress.”
— Indro Mukerjee, CEO, Innovate UK
“Each year I am blown away by the brilliant ideas and talent we uncover through our Women in Innovation programme. Despite these challenging economic times, this year’s winners have shown great leadership, passion and resilience in driving their innovations forward. Innovate UK will work alongside them now to ensure they have the resources and support required to grow and scale their businesses, while encouraging a new generation of women to get involved in innovation, pursue their ambitions and transform our economy and society.”
— Emily Nott, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Programmes, Innovate UK
“I'm passionate about the way we choose to treat our planet and I want to encourage people to make more conscious decisions in their purchasing habits. I feel incredibly privileged to have won this Innovate UK Award and it fills me with confidence for the future. It’s come at a critical time for me to re-strategise and make my vision tangible. Now is the time for sustainable innovation to really flourish – before it’s too late.”
— Ameenah Begum, Founder, Planet Friendly Paint
"90% of people across the world don't have access to the prosthetics they need, mostly due to lack of doctors, lack of access and expensive products. ExpHand Prosthetics looks to change this by creating affordable prosthetics that can grow with you. I'm really grateful to be recognised as a Women in Innovation. The award gives me a great platform to grow the business further, and will hopefully inspire more women to start their own companies and take on new leadership roles.”
— Kate Allan, Founder, ExpHand Prosthetics
“2.5 million women in the UK are experiencing significant menopausal symptoms. 1 in 10 will end up leaving their job as a result. That’s just not right in this day and age. The vast majority are not getting appropriate treatment and support. For those who may be unable to take Hormone Replacement Therapy, or simply prefer not to, psychological-therapy based approaches can be a huge benefit. I am hugely excited to be one of this year's winners. Some amazing women have been awarded this Innovate UK Award in previous years, and I'm so proud to be following in their footsteps.”
— Becky Cotton, Co-founder, Lumino
Stay in touch
We are now proud to be supporting a vibrant Women in Innovation community that encompasses over 9,500 members. Join the community today to stay in the know.
Related Events and Recordings
Celebrating the Legacy of Women in Innovation on International Women's Day
09.30 - 12.30 | Online
Meet Women Innovators in the Foundation Industries (WINFI)
On Friday 21st October, the Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge held its first webinar as part of its initiative to raise the profile of Women Innovators in the Foundation Industries (WINFI). Read our panel’s insights and watch the recording.
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.
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We are now proud to be supporting a vibrant Women in Innovation community that encompasses over 9,000 members. Join the community today to stay in the know.