Following a nationwide competition to identify and empower the country’s most promising female entrepreneurs and future business leaders, this October Innovate UK have announced the names of their 34 2016 infocus finalists.
Kym Jarvis, MD of Viridian Consultants, a microbusiness specialising in nuclear characterisation sensors impressed Innovate UK’s panel with her innovative solution to detecting and measuring radioactivity on nuclear decommissioning sites.
With women in the UK half as likely to start a new business as their male counterparts, or indeed seek out external sources of funding, Innovate UK’s 2016 infocus awards have sought to redress this imbalance by celebrating, supporting and enabling women in innovation through a package of business support, as well as a grant of £50,000 with which to develop their innovations.
Viridian Consultants says: ‘We are delighted that Kym’s outstanding innovation and entrepreneurial skills have been recognised in this way. The company has seen significant growth under her leadership and this award will enable us to become the leading company in nuclear characterisation, saving the tax payer many millions of pounds in decommissioning costs.’
Though the UK university landscape is typified by high numbers of female graduates, and the majority of the country’s most educated workforce is female, women remain underrepresented in many key industries. Indeed, the 2016 infocus campaign launched following an analysis of 8,566 historic funding applications, highlighting that there is little difference in the quality of applications submitted by women and men, yet just 1 in 7 applications (14%) for funding were from women. The finalists of the 2016 infocus awards represent an inspiring cross-section of disciplines and passions; passions that Innovate UK hope to foster and help grow to meet their full potential.
Dr. Ruth McKernan CBE and Chief Executive of Innovate UK says: ‘The data on applications for InnovateUK funding and the output of our ebiquity report has been frankly more disappointing than I expected. There are so many talented women with great business ideas. The UK economy would be improved by a better gender balance in our entrepreneurs and business leaders. 2016 has been a ground-breaking year for us, and I hope that in supporting and telling the stories of our finalists and winners, we can inspire others to succeed.'