Five women entrepreneurs from Scotland win national award to make the world a better place

08/03/2023
Divia Bhatnagar (Photo: JL photography)

CUTTING edge mobile foot scanners to prevent amputations and deaths from diabetic foot ulcers and a knitting app for the new tech generation are among the ideas from five pioneering women from Scotland who’ve been awarded Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Awards today.

These five women entrepreneurs are amongst this year’s 50 winners of Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Awards who are developing novel solutions to major social, environmental and economic challenges. Each winner will benefit from a £50,000 grant, one-to-one business coaching, and a suite of networking, role modelling, and training opportunities.

Coinciding with International Women’s Day (Wednesday 8 March), the Awards reflect the government’s ambition to give more support to women innovators and business leaders.

The range of innovations from across the UK are vast, from health tech to education and from protecting lives to new ways to play music. The entrepreneurs from Scotland recognised today on International Women’s Day which is encouraging people to “embrace equity” are:

  • Divia Bhatnagar, from Edinburgh, Co-founder of Medical Intelligence Group, who has developed a 3D foot scanner to prevent and monitor life threatening diabetic foot ulcers from the comfort of a patient’s home. They can scan their foot and send the 3D image to a remote team of clinicians for evaluation and early intervention, reducing the number of amputations and lives lost to diabetic ulcers.
  • Iris Quasar Grunwald, from Newport-on-Tay (Scotland), Co-founder of Nvention, who has designed a novel flow sensor device for a range of applications in the domestic, medical, agricultural, and aquatic sectors that regulates and measures the flow of liquid and gases in pipes and tubes, detecting leaks, blockages and contamination.
  • Monika Tomecka, from Falkirk, a biomedical scientist and Founder of UFraction8, who wants to help produce food in a more sustainable and affordable way through cellular agriculture – producing meat products through protein cells rather than from animals. 
  • Lucy Fisher, from Aberdeen, Founder of Knit It, who is aiming to inspire a new digital-savvy generation of knitters through her innovative Knit It platform. The smart interactive tool allows knitters to choose how they’ll follow a pattern, learn new skills and push the boundaries of their craft. Making knitting simpler, easier and fun.
  • Tiffany Wood, from Edinburgh, who developed a technological device, Dyneval, for vets and clinicians that accurately evaluates the semen quality of male livestock in dairy farms by measuring sperm motility. The average dairy farmer loses £37K each year to poor conception rates which have fallen by 20% over 40 years. 

The flagship Women in Innovation Awards is a key part of Innovate UK’s commitment to boosting the number of women entrepreneurs. Innovate UK will give all 50 trailblazers £50,000 and bespoke mentoring and coaching to enable them to scale-up their businesses. 

Now in its sixth year, the competition drew a record number of 920 applications from women business leaders, 10% up from last year, reflecting the growing number of women-led businesses in the UK (according to the Rose Review Progress Report 2023, 20% of all UK businesses are now led by all-women teams).

Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation programme continues to support high-potential women business leaders from diverse backgrounds. With a passion to support underrepresented innovation talent, 22% of the winners are Black, Asian, or from another ethnic minority group and 12% have identified as disabled. 

Commenting on her innovation and Award, Divia Bhatnagar of Medical Intelligence Group (MIG) , said: “Too many lives are being lost to diabetic foot ulcers, particularly in Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities. With our remote patient monitoring tool using 3D technology and AI, patients will have access to the gold standard of care they need, when they need it, regardless of their location or resources. I am thrilled and feel extremely privileged to be amongst a cohort of amazing women to win this Innovate UK Award. I hope it inspires others to follow in our footsteps and make their business dreams a reality.”

Emily Nott, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Programmes at Innovate UK said: “Each year I am blown away by the brilliant ideas and talent we uncover through our Women in Innovation programme. Despite these challenging economic times, this year’s winners have shown great leadership, passion and resilience in driving their innovations forward. Innovate UK will work alongside them now to ensure they have the resources and support required to grow and scale their businesses, while encouraging a new generation of women to get involved in innovation, pursue their ambitions and transform our economy and society.”

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said, “The Innovate UK Women in Innovation programme is an important part of our many activities to make a real difference to the talent and skills pipeline for UK business innovation by inspiring, involving and investing in greater diversity. I warmly congratulate all the Women in Innovation Award winners and look forward to keeping in touch as they progress.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said: “It’s fantastic to see such strong representation from Scottish entrepreneurs among today’s winners. Entrepreneurship is a powerful vehicle for growing our economy – helping to create better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country – whilst also helping to tackle some of our biggest societal challenges. Many congratulations to all the winners, and I look forward to seeing these concepts develop through the support they will now receive.”

Details on all 50 women innovators can be found here: https://iuk.ktn-uk.org/programme/women-in-innovation/women-in-innovation-winners/

If you’re an aspiring women innovator, check out how Innovate UK could support you here: https://iuk.ktn-uk.org/programme/women-in-innovation/  

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