News & Stories

Women in innovation: female start-ups get inspired


A women-only networking event was held as part of Innovate Uk's infocus campaign to inspire and empower a diverse base of innovators in the UK.

Around 200 female entrepreneurs attended Innovate UK’s networking event on 8 February 2017. The event was designed to help the women - who all applied to our Women in Innovation competition - to turn their ideas into successful businesses.

Delegates were able to practice pitching their ideas, get advice from innovation experts and network with peers and business leaders. There was also a question and answer session with Innovate UK ambassador Claire Williams, the Deputy Team Principal of Williams F1.

Dr Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive of Innovate UK said:

We want to inspire the next generation of UK entrepreneurs. Every growing business benefits from a mentor to show them the way. It’s especially important that we do this for people from a diverse range of backgrounds who haven’t traditionally participated in Innovate UK competitions but who would greatly benefit from our support.

Events like this help give aspiring innovators the tools they need to succeed, whether they’re looking for funding to carry out a feasibility study or want the support of an established partner to take their solution to market.

Inspiring female entrepreneurs

This was the first women-only Innovate UK competition and is part of our new infocus initiative to encourage diversity in innovation. It followed research that just 1 in 7 Innovate UK funding applications came from women.

The wider economic impact of addressing the gender imbalance is significant. Research suggests that if participation is increased to the same levels as men, women-led SMEs could potentially contribute an incremental £180 billion gross value added (GVA) to the UK by 2025.

We continue to work with the 15 competition winners, who each received £50,000 as well as a package of tailored support and business mentoring.

See the infocus ‘women in innovation’ competition winners.

Register to attend other business networking events.

Watch the event recording.

Connect with partners through the Knowledge Transfer Network.

See what other funding opportunities are available.