Innovate UK statistics show that women represent just 14% of the lead applicants to their funding competitions. Their findings also found that being a woman has negatively impacted the careers of a third of interviewees. These statements come from Innovate UK’s 2016 research.
As a result of this research, Innovate UK as well as the government set their sights on supporting and engaging with UK women innovators. For example in 2016 competition called InFocus, it was only open to women entrepreneurs to try and tackle the taboo of women in innovation.
It proved a big success. InFocus was the most applied for competition that Innovate UK ran, which proved the demand is there, and Innovate UK is there to help and listen.
The InFocus competition supported 15 entrepreneurs with a £50,000 grant and a further 18 innovators through coaching which helped to grow their businesses.
The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), part of the Innovate UK family, is helping women in innovation grow their businesses by providing them with many avenues of support such as applications for funding, sources of finance, intellectual property, finding international partners and much more!
Take Julie Chen from Cheeky Panda, Julie worked alongside Heather Benham, one of EEN’s innovation advisers. Heather helped Chen to secure the intellectual property rights she needed which spurred her growth into European countries.
There is also an active area of support for women in innovation at EU level.
And now the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2018 is open for applications. Find out more here.