From an app to help reduce menopause-related symptoms to revolutionising the design of a grand piano, Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Awards will empower two pioneering women from West Midlands to scale their innovative businesses.
These West Midlands women entrepreneurs are amongst this year’s 50 winners of Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Awards who are developing novel solutions to major social, environmental and economic challenges. Each winner will benefit from a £50,000 grant, one-to-one business coaching, and a suite of networking, role modelling, and training opportunities.
Coinciding with International Women’s Day (8 March), the Awards reflect the government’s ambition to give more support to women innovators and business leaders.
The range of innovations from across the UK are vast, from health tech to education and from protecting lives to new ways to play music. The entrepreneurs from West Midlands are recognised today on International Women’s Day which is encouraging people to “embrace equity”. They are:
- Becky Cotton, from Birmingham, Co-founder of Lumino, who is developing a digital therapeutics platform to reduce the impact of menopause-related symptoms including stress, anxiety, hot flushes and sleep problems, through personalised cognitive behavioural therapy which has been proven to help. 1 in 10 women will leave their job because of the impact of these symptoms that can last 7 years or more.
- Emma Heathcote-James, from near Stratford upon Avon, who has founded Little Soap Company, a BCorp creating sustainable plastic-free soap products from shampoo bars and facial bars to men’s shaving bars, shaking up what is currently a very un-sustainable and un-eco category.
The flagship Women in Innovation Awards is a key part of Innovate UK’s commitment to boosting the number of women entrepreneurs. Innovate UK will give all 50 trailblazers £50,000 and bespoke mentoring and coaching to enable them to scale-up their businesses.
Now in its sixth year, the competition drew a record number of 920 applications from women business leaders, 10% up from last year, reflecting the growing number of women-led businesses in the UK (according to the Rose Review Progress Report 2023, 20% of all UK businesses are now led by all-women teams).
Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation programme continues to support high-potential women business leaders from diverse backgrounds. With a passion to support underrepresented innovation talent, 22% of the winners are Black, Asian, or from another ethnic minority group and 12% have identified as disabled.
Commenting on her innovation and Award, Becky Cotton of Lumino said, “2.5 million women in the UK are experiencing significant menopausal symptoms. 1 in 10 will end up leaving their job as a result. That’s just not right in this day and age. The vast majority are not getting appropriate treatment and support. For those who may be unable to take Hormone Replacement Therapy, or simply prefer not to, psychological-therapy based approaches can be a huge benefit. I am hugely excited to be one of this year’s winners. Some amazing women have been awarded this Innovate UK Award in previous years, and I’m so proud to be following in their footsteps.”
Emily Nott, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Programmes at Innovate UK said, “Each year I am blown away by the brilliant ideas and talent we uncover through our Women in Innovation programme. Despite these challenging economic times, this year’s winners have shown great leadership, passion and resilience in driving their innovations forward. Innovate UK will work alongside them now to ensure they have the resources and support required to grow and scale their businesses, while encouraging a new generation of women to get involved in innovation, pursue their ambitions and transform our economy and society.”
Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said, “The Innovate UK Women in Innovation programme is an important part of our many activities to make a real difference to the talent and skills pipeline for UK business innovation by inspiring, involving and investing in greater diversity. I warmly congratulate all the Women in Innovation Award winners and look forward to keeping in touch as they progress.”
Details on all 50 women innovators can be found HERE.
If you’re an aspiring woman innovator, check out how Innovate UK could support you HERE.