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Women in innovation: apply for in focus funding award

Women with potential to be successful entrepreneurs and leaders in innovation can apply for support and funding to help them to succeed.

Innovate UK has up to £200,000 and a package of tailored support to award to businesswomen who have exciting ideas and the potential to become leaders in innovation and deliver significant economic growth.

This is the first women only Innovate UK competition and is part of a new ‘infocus’ initiative to encourage diversity in innovation.

Each of the 12 finalists in the competition will receive a package of support tailored to their needs, and the four winners will each receive £50,000 to support their innovation project or activities.

Ready to make an impact in the world of innovation? Funding award for women innovators.

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Several well-known business leaders have agreed to act as ambassadors and mentors including:

  • Facebook vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Nicola Mendelsohn
  • Money&Co chief executive Nicola Horlick
  • President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge Ann Dowling
  • WS Atkins chairman and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills board member Allan Cook
  • Cambridge Wireless former founder CEO Soraya Jones
  • Genius Gluten Free founder Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne.

See how Innovate UK's support helped one woman entrepreneur become a successful business leader.

Finalists will get package of business support

Awards will be spread across the four sector areas supported by Innovate UK:

  • manufacturing and materials
  • infrastructure systems
  • emerging and enabling technologies
  • health and life sciences

The package of support includes introductions to investors, communications training, advice on intellectual property, training on business models, access to the RAEng Enterprise Hub, guidance on funding programmes, advice on market opportunities and introductions to contacts in relevant industrial sectors.

Women entrepreneurs could enhance growth

Harnessing the talent of women entrepreneurs could significantly enhance UK economic growth.

Recent reports show men are three times more likely to own a business with employees (Women entrepreneurs in the OECD 2013) and that women are half as likely to start a business (RBS Inspiring women in enterprise).

We are looking for women who:

  • have real potential to become leaders in business innovation and/or successful entrepreneurs
  • have exciting ideas that promise significant economic value to the UK
  • are comfortable taking on the position of role model
  • are willing to engage in activities to encourage and inspire other women to get involved
  • have a clear vision for their future and area of innovation they plan to focus on
  • have a plan to use the award money and support to progress that plan
  • have relevant experience of making innovation happen
  • have the capability and personal drive to achieve success

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 1 June 2016 and the deadline for registration is noon on 24 August 2016
  • the awards are open to any woman in the UK working in business innovation in any of Innovate UK’s four sectors
  • applicants can be a company owner, employee or sole trader in any size of business and must be legally and contractually able to use the grant funding on offer
  • a briefing for potential applicants will be held on 20 June 2016