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The aim of this competition is to find women with exciting, innovative ideas and ambitious plans that will inspire others. The awards are for female founders, co-founders or senior decision makers working in businesses that have been operating for at least one year.

Applicants must be confident, with the support of an award, that they can make a significant contribution to a pressing societal, environmental and/or economic challenge through their innovative project.

The competition is split into 2 phases. In phase 1 the written application will be assessed by independent experts. In phase 2 the shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by a panel of experts.


The funding will be made as a de minimis award.

To be eligible for an award you must:

  • Be a female founder, co-founder or senior decision maker within a UK registered micro or SME business which has been operating for at least 12 months by the competition closing date
  • Carry out your project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • Be able to receive funding under de minimis state aid regulations
  • Be legally and contractually able to use the funding
  • Be available to attend an online interview panel during the week beginning 7 December 2020
  • Attend 2 bootcamps over one and a half days during the week beginning 18 April 2021 and in November 2021
  • Be fully committed to work as a role model for up to 5 days over the duration of the award


The aim of this competition is to fund and support a diverse portfolio of Women in Innovation Award winners:

  • From regions across the UK
  • Who are solving a range of pressing societal, environmental and economic challenges
  • In a variety of innovation areas

Your proposal must identify clearly evidenced pressing societal, environmental, and/or economic challenge(s), and how your project and innovation can help solve them.

Applications can come from any area of innovation (where innovation is defined as the commercially successful exploitation of ideas) and be applied to any part of the economy, such as but not exclusively:

  • The arts, design, and media
  • Creative industries
  • Science or engineering

Innovate UK are particularly encouraging applications from women who:

  • Have the potential, capability, experience and personal drive to become leaders in business innovation
  • Want to be a role model for others, including in your region, sector and to young people
  • Have a clear vision for their business
  • Are looking to develop a game changing novel idea or business innovation
  • Know what they are hoping to achieve from the award and how to measure success

Interested in this call? Book a free consultation with our team
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