Women In Innovation Success Stories: Becca Hume, TapSOS, Northern Ireland
Becca Hume joined Innovate UK’s Women in innovation programme to further her mission to bring accessibility and inclusion for all those in need of help from the emergency services, through her technology company TapSOS.
Belfast-based Becca was inspired from a young age to improve inclusivity after working with a deaf colleague at her teenage part-time job. The central idea for TapSOS is providing a non-verbal method in getting 999 help. After becoming accredited by the Department for Media, Culture and Sport and via British APCO, the company went on to work with the Devon and Cornwall Police. The focus of her Women in Innovation Award is centred on the accessibility of the safeguarding apps offered by TapSOS.
When Becca joined the WII programme in March 2021, TapSOS was working on a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) ready to be released through app stores. The grant enabled them to expand their app to include features to also support users with visual impairments. These have now been implemented and they have a roadmap for further developments.
Progress and winning awards
Over the past few months, they have been building upon their police and charity partnerships, engaging with them to raise awareness of the product internally and for their service users. Customer relations have strengthened and matured with opportunities for new sales; there is also a growing user base, and an increase of reports to 999 being used within the platform.
TapSOS has secured a further £50k of grant from a Northern Ireland organisation, Future Screen NI, and has received international and national awards. Becca said: ‘We received a few awards during November 2021, which included ‘Best Use of Advanced Technology’ at the International Critical Communications Award, Madrid, and we also won the HealthTech Innovation of the Year, Digital Leaders, London.”
She continued: “I also went back to University this year to study a part time Executive Leadership course and I was awarded Convocation Post-Graduate Student of the Year 2021!”
Becca and her team’s ambition for the next 12 months to five years is to have TapSOS licensed and adapted by a large UK Telecom company for widespread use not only in the UK marketplace, but in other regions such as Europe, Australia and Canada. “I also want to have a better understanding and confidence in the vision and ambition of the company – through the help of my Innovate UK Edge Innovation Champions”, said Becca.
And as a female innovator, Becca is determined and driven to bring about change. She said: “The challenges have been about access to private funding. Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation financial support has fuelled our innovation. Without it, we couldn’t have adapted these new features, which have strengthened our competitive advantage and helped to differentiate in the market.”
Wider support and advice
Becca found support particularly in the sessions for peer-to-peer learning and networking. “I loved the Newcastle event when we got a chance to meet each other. I have also benefited greatly from my Innovate UK EDGE Innovation Champion, Jane McGeeny, who has supported me through the programme and exceeded my expectations,” said Becca.
And her advice to future award winners: “You get what you put in. Get involved and be present to fully benefit from what’s in front of you.”
Women in Innovation
Innovate UK’s Women In Innovation programme consists of funding competitions and events that enables brilliant women to fully achieve their visions and change the world, while championing and celebrating gender diversity throughout UK innovation.