Innovate UK: Females

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 3rd September 2020.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Shadow Minister (Home Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of Innovate UK funding has been allocated to businesses led by women in financial year (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21 to date.

Photo of Amanda Solloway Amanda Solloway Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Innovate UK does not currently hold data in this form. Innovate UK are committed to encouraging diversity and inclusion in business innovation, they wish to find the best and most talented innovators from a diverse range of backgrounds, and provide them with the resources, advice and self-belief to succeed.

Programmes have been implemented to tackle the low number of female applicants, for example the Women in Innovation programme, launched in 2016, and the Young Innovators programme, launched in 2017.

Since 2017, Innovate UK have shared an EDI survey with people registering for support to gather EDI data, however, low completion rates (16%) resulting from this approach has required a change. From June 2020, all applicants for Innovate UK competitions are required to complete a new EDI survey. The survey asks questions on gender, age, ethnicity and disability status. This data will then be aggregated, anonymised and analysed to inform future actions to address under-representation across competitions.

Historic data analysis indicates that between 2013 and 2016, 14.3% of applications submitted were led by a woman. Analysis since 2016 indicates that this percentage has increased to around 24% (70% increase) and can be attributed to the focus on Women in Innovation, including the Innovate UK 2019 Women in Innovation Awards. A new competition for Women in Innovation Awards opened on 1 September 2020.

Most recently, Innovate UK’s “Business-led innovation in response to global disruption” competition (Open April 2020), 21.7% of applications were woman-led. This is in line with the levels we have seen since the growth of woman-led applications following the Women in Innovation focus.

On International Women’s Day, the Government 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. Over 100 entrepreneurial women and young people are set to benefit from government-backed funds to turn inspiring ideas into thriving businesses.

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