We hope these Frequently Asked Questions will be helpful to potential applicants for the Women in Innovation Awards 2021. If you have a query which is not dealt with below, please contact womenininnovation@ktn-uk.org or Innovate UK directly.

How do you prove the business has existed for a year?

Your company does not need to have been registered on Companies House for a period of a year or more; however, you will need to provide financial accounts including a business bank account in the name of your business with transactions for a period greater than a year.

If your company and business accounts have been dormant in the last year, then your company was not actively trading for the last year, and so would not be eligible.

Why do you require companies to be operating for more than a year?

We are not looking to fund business as usual or a brand new start-up company, as this award is designed for an up and running company which is looking to make a step-change and would use the award to scale up and grow their innovative company, or looking to carry out an innovative project which would make the company a market leader.

The award is designed to help businesswomen achieve their vision for their business and become a leader in their field.

Can I apply if my business has been registered for more than a year, but I am not yet trading?

You will need to provide financial accounts including a business bank account in the name of your business with transactions for a period greater than a year.

HMRC considers that your company or organisation has not yet become active or started trading if it has not yet engaged in any business activity (business activity means carrying on a trade or profession or buying and selling goods or services with a view to making a profit or surplus).

Can you tell me more about the support package that is offered alongside the grant?

The expert advice available includes, but is not limited to:

  • funding and finance options and how to access these, including introductions to investors and training on pitching
  • media and communications, such as branding
  • intellectual property
  • developing new business models
  • evaluating market opportunities
  • finding new partners
  • growth and scale up
  • developing international collaborations and accessing global markets
  • business planning strategy

Access to relevant world-leading facilities and equipment will be also be provided where this is appropriate.

The package of support will be delivered by:

  • KTN
  • Innovate UK Edge
  • Catapults

You will also be introduced to business mentors and Women in Innovation ambassadors within the Innovate UK network as part of your award, as well as receiving press and media support to become a leading role model in innovation.

Each support package is bespoke to the individual.

Is support available for those who are not eligible to apply?

There is support available to those not eligible. The best way to access this is by contacting Innovate UK, KTN or EEN directly and we will advise on what else we can offer you.

The Women in Innovation programme features broader support and opportunities to our community through our Building Success events and webinars, Let’s Talk About series, Founders4Schools partnerships, as well as a range of other activities. To find out more we recommend you visit our programme page, or sign up for the newsletter.

Are there any examples of previously successful applications that you are able to share?

Yes. Innovate UK and KTN have created two booklets to celebrate the women in innovation programme, showcasing the award winners. You can access the booklets via the links below.

2016 & 2018 Award winners

2020/21 Award winners

Am I eligible to apply if I have received an Innovate UK grant?

You cannot have received other Innovate UK funding for the same project prior to applying: however, you are eligible to apply for the Women in Innovation competition with a different project.

Am I able to apply for other Innovate UK grants if I am awarded the Women in Innovation funding?

Yes. However, you can not receive funding for the same project twice.

Is this award only available to business owners?

You must be a female founder, co-founder or senior decision maker within a UK registered micro or SME business to apply for this competition to make the most of the full package of support on offer.

Am I able to use this grant to hire consultants or subcontractors?

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition and must be selected through a participant’s normal procurement process. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK. If an overseas subcontractor is selected, a case must be made as to why no UK-based subcontractor can be used including a detailed rationale, evidence of UK companies that have been approached and reasons why they were unable to do so. A cheaper cost is not deemed as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

What can the funding be used for?

The funding is provided as de minimis aid as it will be paid upfront in instalments. You cannot use the award as matched funding for other competitions, as this award would be counted as State Aid, and could not be used to secure more state aid. The award should help to strengthen your position to secure additional investment.

Examples of projects from previous award holders include: employing new members of staff, accessing new markets, increasing market share, finding new partners, proof of concept, demonstrators, product testing, leveraging significant levels of additional investment.

For additional information on de minimis funding you can visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/innovation-apply-for-a-funding-award#de-minimis-aid.

Projects we will not fund:

  • involve exports or imports
  • involve purchasing within road freight transport sector
  • involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture
  • involve primary production in agriculture
  • are not allowed under de minimis regulation restrictions

Do I have to use the non-financial element of the award?

Yes. This is an essential part of the support on offer.

We want to know how you will make use of the full award package: financial and non-financial and this will be assessed under Question 5 on the application form: Plan for the award. For example, you can use the money funded through the award to pull in more support and make money from this money. Leverage other investments; it’s not just the money that makes the scheme important but the advice you receive as well.

Can I apply if I operate a charity?

Yes, but only if your charity has a registered business arm or business side, and this has been operating for a year or more. This would need to be registered as a company on Companies House. If your charity does not have a business operation then you would not be eligible to apply.

Is the £50,000 award 100% funded?

Yes.

Can I have collaborators?

Yes, however, the application should be about you as an individual, and should be written and submitted by you. You can mention how you plan to work with collaborators, but the award is for you. If it is unclear who the individual applicant is within your submission, you may be made ineligible.

How will I receive the money?

We have allocated at least £1 million for at least 20 awards at £50,000 each. We will also provide a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.

The funding will be paid in 3 increments:

  • (£33,333) upfront (April 2022)
  • (£11,667) at the mid-point (October 2022)
  • (£5,000) at the end of your project on receipt of a completed statement of expenditure by April 2023

The individual will receive the money into a business bank account. Therefore, it is advised that you apply only if you can make decisions about the money and have control over this and the business, e.g. if you are the CEO or someone in a senior decision-making position.

Are sole traders eligible to apply?

Yes, but only if your business is registered, and this has been operating for a year or more. This would need to be registered as a company on Companies House. Your company does not need to have been registered on Companies House for a period of a year or more; however, you will need to provide financial accounts including a business bank account in the name of your business with transactions for a period greater than a year.

Does the project supported by the scheme have to run for 12 months?

Yes, the award will support activities over a 12-month period. You could not obtain all the funding up-front, however, you could run multiple small projects or initiatives over the year period, which all combine to produce a step-change in your company.

We have allocated up to £1 million  for around 20 awards at £50,000 each. We will also provide a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.

All projects must start on 1st April 2022.

When do I need to start my project and what is the duration of the project?

You must confirm on your application form that you can start your project by 1 April 2022 and be of 12 months’ duration or your application would be made ineligible.

Do you have to be a UK citizen to apply?

No, but you must be a female founder, co-founder or senior decision maker within a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise that has been operating for at least a year, and you must carry out your project work and intend to exploit the results from your work in the UK.

Will the production values of the submitted video be judged in any way? E.g. storytelling, editing, etc?

No. The assessors will be scoring your videos (Question 6) but this is not based on editing, background music or story telling abilities. You must upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo. It must be no longer than 3 minutes. If your video is over 3 minutes long, only the first 3 minutes will be used to assess your application.

Please ensure your video is ‘unlisted’ in the privacy settings. Give the link and any passwords required in your answer to this question. If we are unable to view your video or it is not hosted on Vimeo or YouTube, your application will be made ineligible. The video must remain available until 1 April 2022.

Given the NI protocol, will Northern Ireland applications be eligible?

Yes. We welcome applications from Northern Ireland.

Are the bootcamps in person, or if coronavirus stays around will it be virtual? If in person, are we expecting everyone at the bootcamp to be vaccinated (unless a specific medical exemption)?

The bootcamps for 2020/21 have been held as virtual events following the standard COVID-19 rules in the UK. However bootcamps prior to 2020 were held as in person events. Should travel be allowed we will endeavour to hold in person bootcamp events, however an assessment of risks will be carried out for physical events, and award winners will be consulted in the decision-making process. The mental and physical health of our staff and award winners will be paramount in decisions taken.

I am putting an application together for the Women in Innovation competition, are there any other resources or support available?

Yes.

KTN and Innovate UK are hosting a formal briefing event on the 24th August at 10am to 12.30pm. This event will outline the scope and eligibility of the competition, give advice on how to apply and detail what the questions are asking, as well as giving delegates a chance to ask questions and hear from previous award winners. We recommend anyone who is interested in applying to attend the event or watch the recording (which will be posted at the event page here soon after the event).

KTN is organising additional workshops aimed to:

  • Supplement the official Innovate UK guidance
  • Help understanding of the application questions
  • Introduce and explain tools that can help you with your application
  • Develop your answers further
  • Provide a clear understanding of the application review process

KTN will also be publishing a blog with advice from our previous award winners. Workshop dates and registration, as well as the blog article will be posted on the Women in Innovation programme page shortly.

I have not applied to Innovate UK before, is there any resource or support available for people that have not applied before?

Yes. KTN is organising additional workshops, please check the Women in Innovation programme page.

Is there a Women in Innovation competitions helpline?

If you need more information you can contact Innovate UK directly for all competition enquiries. Email them at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Alternatively for other support available from KTN please email: womenininnovation@ktn-uk.org

What are we looking to fund?

  • We want to support women who are at a critical stage with their business, where an award will enable them to take an important step forward. The funding should help them make a real difference to innovation in the UK including in and beyond their sector or innovation area.
  • We are looking for women who have the potential to be leaders and role models to inspire other women.
  • We are looking for women who clearly explain how they will benefit from the full package of funding and support on offer and who can describe how this will add value to them and their business.

When is our Women in Innovation project expected to start?

Your project is expected to start by 1 April 2022 and end on the 31 March 2023. Peer support and collaboration is a key element of the award, as is the expert support from Innovate UK Edge, KTN and the Catapults, therefore the Women in Innovation has a set start and end point that all award holders must adhere to, and this should be reflected within your application. Entering an incorrect project start date may result in your application being made ineligible.

In addition to the £50,000 do we receive any support?

Yes. In addition to the grant funding, all award holders will receive a package of support tailored to their needs. The expert advice available includes, but is not limited to:

  • funding and finance options and how to access these, including introductions to investors and training on pitching
  • media and communications, such as branding
  • intellectual property
  • developing new business models
  • evaluating market opportunities
  • finding new partners
  • growth and scale up
  • developing international collaborations and accessing global markets
  • business planning strategy

Access to relevant world-leading facilities and equipment will also be provided where this is appropriate.

How much is the total award?

£50,000. You must complete your project costs entering £50,000 only, organisation details and funding details in the application.

How can I know more about the Women in Innovation community?

Please visit the Women in Innovation programme page on the KTN website: you can also join the Women in Innovation community on the KTN website.

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