Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is offering at least 20 Women in Innovation Awards to female entrepreneurs across the UK. The winners will receive a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.

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 or economic challenge through their innovative project.

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

Your project must:

  • start on 1 April 2022
  • end on 31 March 2023
  • last 12 months

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 legally and contractually able to use the funding
  • be available to attend an online interview panel during the week beginning 6 December 2021
  • attend 2 bootcamps over one and a half days each on the 16 and 17 March 2022 and in September 2022.
  • be fully committed to work as a role model for up to 5 days over the duration of the award

Applications from UK-registered social enterprises operating economically will be eligible if they meet all other criteria.

The funding for successful applicants will be paid in 3 increments:

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

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

  • who will be relatable role models for women from all backgrounds
  • 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 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.

We plan to offer at least 20 awards.

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.

You should be someone who will be an inspiration to others.

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.

We 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 their 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

As part of your application, you must share with us a short video, up to 3 minutes long. This must be uploaded to either Vimeo or YouTube and provided as an unlisted link in question 6 of your application. If the assessors cannot view your video or it is hosted on a platform other than YouTube or Vimeo, the assessors will be unable to assess this question and it will not be scored.

KTN will be holding an online briefing event on 24th August from 10am to 12.30pm: click here to register for a place.

Visit the Women in Innovation programme page on the KTN website to:

  • read frequently asked questions from previous applicants
  • register for support workshops for completing your application
  • register for expert advice sessions
  • register for future networking events
  • read stories from previous Women in Innovation award holders
  • join the Women in Innovation community