Despite the fact that men and women have been equally successful on its programmes, the statistics for female applicants are disproportionately low. The West Midlands had lowest number of applications from women at nine per cen, while Northern Ireland had the highest percentage with 20 per cent.
The organisation commissioned Ebiquity to conduct research to determine possible reasons behind the low figures. Ebiquity interviewed more than 200 female innovators in the UK and it found that securing funding is the biggest challenge for women innovators.
Almost a third (31 per cent) respondents said that being a woman in a male-dominated industry had affected their career in a negative way and women could do with more “substantial and focused support services”, including access to mentors, help with funding applications and networking.
“There is a demand for more focused support services among female innovators. But innovation funding organisations are often viewed as inaccessible and male dominated. The application process is also seen as bureaucratic and too time-consuming,” Innovate UK said.
In light of these findings, the firm launched a £200,000 woman-only funding competition, the Infocus Women in Innovation Awards. The programme will offer funding and mentorship to those with innovative business ideas. Four outstanding candidates will receive £50,000 in funds to develop their innovation.
“We want to enable and encourage more women to participate in Innovate UK competitions and take advantage of our support,” the website states.
You can find out more here.