ON International Women’s Day the UK’s first dedicated female Science Minister, Amanda Solloway, committed almost £3 million and a package of business support to help inventions by women and young people like clean energy solutions and healthcare services.
Female entrepreneurs could contribute £250 billion to the UK economy if they started and scaled their businesses at the same rate as men.
Ms Solloway commented the launch of the funding: “Looking through the UK’s history, we find inspirational women in every decade, from Ada Lovelace to Rosalind Franklin and Dorothy Hodgkin.
“Their discoveries had a profound impact on all our lives.
“We are committed to supporting women and young people and opening up new opportunities for them.
“Initiatives like the Women in Innovation Awards and the Young Innovators’ Awards will help the next generation of inventors turn their unique concepts into businesses.”
Of the government’s funding commitment, £2.2 million will go to the Young Innovators’ Awards.
In partnership with The Prince’s Trust, the government-backed award will help young people to turn their creative and ground-breaking business ideas into reality.
The package will include a £5,000 grant, one-on-one coaching and an allowance to cover living costs.
The three-year national programme aims to target 18-30 years olds from a variety of backgrounds.
Ben Marson, Director of Partnerships at The Prince’s Trust, added: “At The Prince’s Trust we believe that every young person, no matter their background, should have the chance to thrive in work.
“We know the immense potential and entrepreneurial spirit of UK young people but not everyone has the opportunity to turn their ideas into reality.
“Working with partners like Innovate UK on the Young Innovators initiative allows us to encourage and enable entrepreneurship and innovation among more young people and bring diverse ideas and businesses into the economy.”
A further £500,000 will be provided to pioneering female entrepreneurs to develop innovations such as those to tackle climate change, developing new treatments and services for healthcare patients and cleaner transport.
Ten female inventors will be awarded with a cash injection of £50,000 each, as well as receive coaching and mentoring.
Ian Campbell, interim Executive Chair, Innovate UK, has said: “Diversity in businesses is a proven driver of economic growth.
“Through our focused campaigns we have shown how Innovate UK’s support has enabled winners to embrace innovation, expand and refine global product ranges, and continue to grow and develop their own diverse teams.
“By continuing these efforts we can help bring attention to many inspirational role models for our next generation of innovators, strengthening the UK as a world leader in innovation.”
The funding announcement forms part of the government’s ambitions to significantly boost research and development fund across the UK – with the clear ambition to reach 2.4% by 2027.