female-led startups

WE Innovate is Imperial’s flagship female entrepreneurship education programme designed to support the next generation of women entrepreneurs to accelerate their startups. The six-month programme supports female students, developing an early stage business idea, to advance their leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

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The programme

WE Innovate accelerates female-led startups through a tailored programme which gives Imperial students the opportunity to attend masterclasses on topics like customer discovery, design and pitching; business coaching and idea surgeries and pitch training. WE Innovate also gives students opportunities to network and meet with investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders. The programme culminates in a Final Showcase where five finalist teams pitch for of the £20k prize fund.

Key Dates for 2018/19:

The following relate to the 2018/19 academic year:

Phase 1: between October 31st – December 10th 2018

  • Selected teams are invited to join a Welcome Evening on the 31st October 5.45 – 8.30pm.
  • Following this there are four masterclasses, taking place each Wednesday evening in November 5.45 – 8.30pm.
  • Each team attends two business coaching slots (one hour each); these are booked following candidate selection. These take place in November between working hours (9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday).
  • Optional additional support such as Idea Surgeries can be organised through the Enterprise Lab Team.

Phase 2: between January 15th – March 7th 2019

  • One breakfast and two evening masterclasses take place in February; tentative dates for these are 5th February (AM), 22nd February (PM) and 29th February (PM).
  • Idea surgeries (20 mins), pitch training (20 – 45mins) and business coaching sessions (one hour) are booked with selected teams. These take place between working hours (9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday).

WE Innovate Final – w/c 4th March 2019

An evening event where five finalist teams pitch for part of the WE Innovate Prize Fund in front of an expert panel and 250-strong audience. The event celebrates and promotes the ventures and their female founders.

How do I apply? 

Applications for this year’s programme are now open! You can complete the short online application here. The application includes questions to help us capture your idea and your motivation for joining the programme, your contact details and those of your team (if applicable). You must have permission from your team mates to enter their contact information – necessary for GDPR compliance.

Haven’t formed a team yet?

Many of the programme previous participants were in the same position when they applied. We accept both individuals and female-led teams on to the programme.

Applications close October 23rd 2018 and we will notify all candidates on the status of their applications by Monday 29th October. Please note, we select 45 teams for Phase 1 of the programme. At the end of Phase 1, 20 teams are selected to join Phase 2 of the programme.


WE Inspire

To celebrate 5 years of WE Innovate, we are hosting a free half-day conference on leadership and entrepreneurship! It will take place at Imperial’s South Kensington Campus between 10.30 and 14.30 Saturday 20th October. It is open to all women studying at Imperial. We’ve also reserved tickets for female Imperial alumni.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to network, hear the personal journeys of female entrepreneurs and business leaders and take part in leadership training sessions! Find out more information and sign up for you free ticket here.

Applicants for the WE Innovate programme are strongly encouraged to attend this conference. If you are a female student who is interested to join the conference but not the full WE Innovate programme, this is possible. We’d be delighted if you joined us for the day to grow your skills and network!

If you have any questions regarding the WE Inspire conference or WE Innovate programme please contact Olivia Standish.

Our impact


Women Supported

Ventures incorporated

Million funding raised


Average masterclass satisfaction rating

Upcoming events

Discover what’s on at Imperial Enterprise Lab

Pitch ‘n’ Mix

Pitch ‘n’ Mix

Venture Catalyst Challenge Information Session

Venture Catalyst Challenge Information Session

Innovation Pitch

Innovation Pitch

Pitch ‘n’ Mix

Pitch ‘n’ Mix

Get in touch

Phone: +44 (0)20 7594 1964

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