Meet the UK’s female innovators who are disrupting business

Image credit: KTN

Visionary British female entrepreneurs are receiving government backing to drive forward their novel innovations and business ideas.

Announced today by Science Minister Amanda Solloway to mark International Women’s Day, 40 of the country’s top female innovators will be awarded a cash injection of £50,000 ($69,000) each, as well as bespoke mentoring, to scale up and bring to market their disruptive business ideas, many of which have been borne out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The businesses are located right across the UK, from Scotland to Salisbury, and include a variety of sustainable innovations.

Solloway said: “As we build back better from COVID, it is a priority of mine to continue equipping our brightest female innovators with the tools they need to succeed, while encouraging a new generation of women to come forward and pursue their ambitions.

“Today we are supporting 40 of our most trailblazing female entrepreneurs, helping them to turn their innovative ideas and aspirations into a reality, creating the products and services that will help improve our lives and boost our economy.”

Today’s funding is part of the government’s flagship Women in Innovation Awards, delivered by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which seeks to boost the number of UK female entrepreneurs, which could deliver £180 billion ($249 billion) to the economy.

Innovate UK launched Women in Innovation in 2016, after research revealed that just one in seven applications for Innovate UK support came from women.

Among the entrepreneurs being backed are:

Christina King

Christina King, (45) from Sheffield, is disrupting the power generation, transportation and manufacturing markets with Tribsonics. The unique sensing technology generates rich data for businesses to be able to analyse their process and develop new ways of working which drives emission reductions and energy savings.

Emma Shaw

Emma Shaw (30) from London, is a natural scientist who set up Library of Things (LoT) to help tackle climate change. LoT helps people save money and reduce waste by affordably renting 50 quality DIY and entertainment products, such as drills and sewing machines, from self-serve kiosks installed in local libraries, high streets and housing blocks.

Samantha Bunyan

Samantha Bunyan, 51, from Salisbury, is co-founder of Cecence and has developed alternative biofuels and recycling methods to help the transportation and defence sectors reduce its carbon footprint and is now working on new eco-friendly materials for aircraft interiors.

Dr Emma Fieldhouse

Dr Emma Fieldhouse (46) from Leicester, set up Future We Want, a sustainability consultancy to help teach people about climate change and carbon footprinting. Having developed a board game, she is now developing the digital version which will launch in November for educators and businesses.

Natasha Boulding

Natasha Boulding (27) from Durham, created Plastech to transform plastic waste into aggregate, producing carbon negative concrete blocks. Plastech will allow construction companies to lower their carbon footprint as less waste will be sent to landfill or incineration – reducing CO2 emissions while recycling plastics.

Jacqueline Morrison

Jacqueline Morrison (49), from Scotland, set up Cedeco Contractors to develop developing innovative – time and cost saving – solutions to support the offshore wind sector through her mechanical alternative to grout.

Emily Nott, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at Innovate UK said: “With 2020 proving to be an incredibly difficult year for everyone, and particularly women, continuing to support female entrepreneurs in 2021 has been a real priority for Innovate UK.

“We have had an enormous response and we can see some positives from the pandemic, with some of our shortlist inspired to start up a business in response to some of the challenges it has brought.

“Working alongside the winners, Innovate UK will help them grow further. We can’t wait to see what else these inspiring women achieve and how they can be an example to inspire the next generation and to encourage more women-led businesses in this country as we rebuild and recover.

“It forms a key part of the government’s ambitious R&D Roadmap, published in July 2020, which committed to supporting the UK’s innovators and risk-takers by backing entrepreneurs and start-ups with the funding needed to scale up their innovations.”

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