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Female innovators: A focus for the UK and EU

A look at support for women in innovation in the UK, as well as new funding opportunity from Europe.

Written by Mathilde Murphy on 25 September 2017

Main Image
Elena Dieckmann - one of Innovate UK's InFocus winners

© Amelia Troubridge

Last year, 14% of the lead applicants to Innovate UK funding competitions were women. Its research also found that being a woman negatively impacted the careers of a third of the women it interviewed.


To combat these issues, Innovate UK launched InFocus, which was only open to women and became one of their most applied-for business funding competitions ever.


Interest in the campaign continues with a 'Female Innovation: What does a female innovator look like?' exhibition at Getty Gallery recently, with Amelia Troubridge's portraits of these leading women, pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation.


The InFocus competition supported 15 entrepreneurs with a £50,000 grant and a further 18 innovators through coaching from us.


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. This will be the fifth edition of the European Commission’s initiative to award four female entrepreneurs prizes of up to €100,000.  All finalists will also get the opportunity to obtain high level of visibility for their business to gain traction.