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First women only funding competition launched by Innovate UK

First women only funding competition launched by Innovate UK

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The government’s official innovation agancy Innovate UK has launched its first ever women only funding competition,

The agency is offering up to £200,000 to businesswomen who have exciting ideas and the potential to become leaders in innovation and 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,  while the four winners will each receive £50,000 to support their innovation project or activities.

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 founder Soraya Jones
  • Genius Gluten Free founder Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne.


Awards will be spread across the four sector areas including:

  • 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.

Innovate UK suggests boosting female entrepreneurship could boost he UK economy by £60 billion. Recent reports it highlights however show men are three times more likely to own a business with employees and that women are half as likely to start a business.

The competition opened on 1 June 2016 and the deadline for registration is noon on 24 August 2016.

More information about the competition here

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