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UK’s Female Innovators who are Disrupting Business

Visionary British female entrepreneurs are receiving government backing to drive forward their novel innovations and business ideas.

Announced today by Science Minister Amanda Solloway to mark International Women’s Day, 40 of the country’s top female innovators will be awarded a cash injection of £50,000 ($69,000) each, as well as bespoke mentoring, to scale up and bring to market their disruptive business ideas, many of which have been borne out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The businesses are located right across the UK, from Scotland to Salisbury, and include a variety of sustainable innovations.

Solloway said: “As we build back better from COVID, it is a priority of mine to continue equipping our brightest female innovators with the tools they need to succeed, while encouraging a new generation of women to come forward and pursue their ambitions.

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“Today we are supporting 40 of our most trailblazing female entrepreneurs, helping them to turn their innovative ideas and aspirations into a reality, creating the products and services that will help improve our lives and boost our economy.”

Today’s funding is part of the government’s flagship Women in Innovation Awards, delivered by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which seeks to boost the number of UK female entrepreneurs, which could deliver £180 billion ($249 billion) to the economy.

Innovate UK launched Women in Innovation in 2016, after research revealed that just one in seven applications for Innovate UK support came from women.

Among the entrepreneurs being backed are:

Christina King, (45) from Sheffield, is disrupting the power generation, transportation and manufacturing markets with Tribsonics. The unique sensing technology generates rich data for businesses to be able to analyse their process and develop new ways of working which drives emission reductions and energy savings.

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Emma Shaw (30) from London, is a natural scientist who set up Library of Things (LoT) to help tackle climate change. LoT helps people save money and reduce waste by affordably renting 50 quality DIY and entertainment products, such as drills and sewing machines, from self-serve kiosks installed in local libraries, high streets and housing blocks.

Samantha Bunyan, 51, from Salisbury, is co-founder of Cecence and has developed alternative biofuels and recycling methods to help the transportation and defence sectors reduce its carbon footprint and is now working on new eco-friendly materials for aircraft interiors.

Dr Emma Fieldhouse (46) from Leicester, set up Future We Want, a sustainability consultancy to help teach people about climate change and carbon footprinting. Having developed a board game, she is now developing the digital version which will launch in November for educators and businesses.

Natasha Boulding (27) from Durham, created Plastech to transform plastic waste into aggregate, producing carbon negative concrete blocks. Plastech will allow construction companies to lower their carbon footprint as less waste will be sent to landfill or incineration – reducing CO2 emissions while recycling plastics.

Jacqueline Morrison (49), from Scotland, set up Cedeco Contractors to develop developing innovative – time and cost saving – solutions to support the offshore wind sector through her mechanical alternative to grout.

Emily Nott, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at Innovate UK said: “With 2020 proving to be an incredibly difficult year for everyone, and particularly women, continuing to support female entrepreneurs in 2021 has been a real priority for Innovate UK.

“We have had an enormous response and we can see some positives from the pandemic, with some of our shortlist inspired to start up a business in response to some of the challenges it has brought.

“Working alongside the winners, Innovate UK will help them grow further. We can’t wait to see what else these inspiring women achieve and how they can be an example to inspire the next generation and to encourage more women-led businesses in this country as we rebuild and recover.

“It forms a key part of the government’s ambitious R&D Roadmap, published in July 2020, which committed to supporting the UK’s innovators and risk-takers by backing entrepreneurs and start-ups with the funding needed to scale up their innovations.”

Source: PEI

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Industry calls for reform to ‘outdated’ R&D tax credit regime

Tax credits for companies doing research and development must be reformed to kick-start the economy and make the UK a more attractive place for investment after Brexit and Covid, industry leaders have warned.

Eight powerful trade bodies representing firms spanning the pharmaceuticals and tech industries to food and drink and aerospace have come together to urge Chancellor Rishi Sunak to change the rules in a bid to kick-start a wave of innovation.

The current “outdated” rules do not allow companies to claim R&D tax breaks on capital spending, such as on labs and buildings and machinery, unlike in other countries such as France, Spain and Japan.

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A report commissioned by the industry bodies said: “In other words, there are far stronger incentives to physically locate new research facilities in other countries.”

Enhancing the R&D tax credit regime to include capital spending could create a strong incentive for companies to invest in Britain.

The change could add £4bn a year to the economy within a decade, according to the report, and create at least 12,000 jobs – mostly in high-skilled, high-wage manufacturing areas such as new medicines, robotics and clean energy. It would pay for itself in seven years, and produce a net gain for government coffers.

Richard Torbett, chief executive of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: “This report shows just how critical R&D will be to our recovery, but also how we do not have the incentives other countries do to attract more investment and job creation in the UK. We are calling on the Chancellor to reform tax credits and give a real kick-start to the recovery.”

The policy would also create new investment and jobs created in regions like the North and, the groups said, areas where the Government has committed to boosting employment and the economy. It would also help the government to meet its pledge to increase the country’s R&D spend to 2.4pc of GDP by 2027, from the existing level of 1.7pc.

Business R&D expenditure has increased by more than a third in the last decade, rising from £19bn in 2010 to £26bn in 2019. It now accounts for 8.3pc of all company spending, up from 5.2pc in 2010.

There are some tax benefits attached to R&D capital expenditure, but they treat loss-making and profit-making firms differently.

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Profit-making businesses get back 19pc on R&D capital expenditure through the tax system, but loss-making ones get nothing back. This is important in the context of a pandemic-related economic downturn, the report argues, because many more firms are expected to make a loss.

Steve Hughes, the report’s author, said: “The move to include capital expenditure allowances in R&D tax credits would be very simple to implement, would make the UK a better place to invest in, would drive jobs and growth across the regions that most need levelling up, all for a policy that is self-financing. It should be adopted as an immediate priority.

“Of all the options the Chancellor has at his disposal to reboot the economy, this is the no-brainer. The UK cannot be the best place in the world for scientific research if incentives for investing in it are suboptimal compared to elsewhere.”

The report was put together by the ABPI; manufacturing body Make UK; space industry group UKSpace; TechUK; the Confederation of British Industry; The Food and Drink Federation; The Association of British HealthTech Industries; and ADS, which represents aerospace, defence, security and space companies.

By Julia Bradshaw

Source: MSN

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