Women in Innovation

Diversity in innovation is crucial for the UK’s economy; however, the number of female entrepreneurs in the UK is around half that of men. Boosting the number of women in innovation could deliver approximately £180 billion to the UK economy. Following the insight that just one in 7 applications for business funding to Innovate UK came from women, we began our Infocus campaign to shine a light on the women leading the way in innovation and help others achieve great things with the right support. Here are 3 of our leading ladies!

Rebecca Sage, CEO at Interactive Scientific

Rebecca is the MD of Interactive Scientific Ltd, the brand behind software platform Nano Simbox which lets learners and researchers explore and understand the scientific world. She has grown the company from 0 to 7 people and raised an impressive £500k in seed funding. This led Rebecca to be shortlisted for Women in Science & Engineering Tech Startup Awards and to win Set Squared ‘People’s Choice’ award for best pitch in 2016.

We caught up with Becky shortly after an important investment meeting. She offered some vital advice to any budding entrepreneur:

“In terms of just stepping into a room I think… do you know what? You’ve just got to be brave, and actually that really helps. Just do that thing that scares you.”

She goes on to speak of experiences which many female entrepreneurs can relate to:

“There are times when I walk into rooms with people who make me feel this small and a lot of that is because they’ve looked at me and perceived me in a certain way, and a lot of that’s to do with my gender. At this point in my career, those relationships flush themselves out very quickly, I know the right people are out there. Earlier on in my career, not so much because I was like ‘oh I need this person, I need this person.” ​

Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @becky_sage

Emma Sceats, Chief Executive of CN Bio Innovations

Emma Sceats is the Chief Executive of CN Bio Innovations, a company that develops organ-on-chip technologies used to discover and develop of new medicines by replicating the structure and function of human organs in the laboratory. Emma has led the company’s transformation from Oxford university spin-out to a world leader in human Organs-on-Chips (OOC).

Emma reiterates the importance of strong female role models:

“My grandmother was a major influence. She started up and ran her own businesses, so I was inspired by her.”

She goes on to discuss her driving motivations and her attitude towards business:

“I think I’ve always been very motivated to build or create something. If for instance, I go out and I didn’t raise investment. Is that because I’ve got a poor business plan or because I’m a woman? Unless someone comes straight out and says ‘I just don’t invest in female led businesses’ but people don’t ever say that. Male or female, being an entrepreneur involves taking risks but in my experience, it’s been about understanding and managing risk”.

Follow Emma on Twitter: @emmasceats

Beth Dawson, Projects Manager at Fuel Cell Systems Ltd.

Beth Dawson works as a Projects Manager in Fuel Cell Systems Lt. She helped to set up Swindon Hydrogen Hub which takes fuel cell systems and implements them, in anticipation of the role out of hydrogen vehicles.

Beth explains a little about the proud work Fuel Cell Systems Ltd. does:

“Using energy is one of the biggest things we do as a species and we have a problem looming imminently that I think we all can see. We are part of a larger movement that’s getting new technology out there, enabling it to be used well and improving the environment as we go”.

She goes on to offer this insight:

“If I had one piece of advice to give to any female engineer it would be, having the confidence that what you have to say matters. The projects and ideas that you might have are worth looking at.”

“I’m really honoured to be part of the women in innovation group. There’s such a high calibre of people there, you can’t fail to be inspired by them”.



If you’d like to find more inspiring videos like these, subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here.

Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter here.


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