WE Innovate

Are you in a team led by women? Are you a woman leading a team? The WE Innovate programme champions female entrepreneurs – whether you’re already up and running or have just had that first lightbulb moment. We can help you smash your goals and that glass ceiling!

Join us for the WE Innovate Final 2021 on Friday 25 June, 12pm and watch the finalist teams battle for a share of the £30K prize fund.  

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What is WE Innovate?

We think great things can only happen when everyone has a seat at the table. So 6 years ago, we created WE Innovate. A pre-accelerator programme, with one main goal – to increase the number of women in leadership positions, running startups and raising funding.

WE Innovate runs from February to June and has everything you need to turn your business idea into a fully-fledged startup. You’ll take workshops, get 1-1 business coaching, grow your industry networks and if you go all the way, take part in our final showcase where there’s a £30K cash prize up for grabs!

All events, networking and coaching will take place online. 

We start with 22 teams that we’ll whittle down to a final 5 over the course of 3 phases:


  • Teaching workshops – This is our training phase and runs from February to March. We cover everything you need to learn about developing a business idea including customer discovery, prototyping and the all-important fundraising.
  • Coaching and Networking – If you’re ready to take your idea further, we’ve got 10 spots in the April – May phase that you can apply for. If you’re successful, you’ll take part in pitching events, mentoring and coaching, as well as 1-1 pitch training to get you match fit for the final pitching phase!
  • The Final – 5 teams will prepare for pitch battle to win funding at the WE Innovate Final with some dedicated support from us! Now’s the time for team leads to show up and soak up every last bit of guidance and inspiration before pitching for the big prize in June!

The Prizes

Grand Final Prizes

A share of £30K prize fund
Lauren Dennis in Memoriam Award
Tailored mentoring package for one team

Meet the 2021 Cohort

Want to find out the incredible teams that have made it on to this year’s WE Innovate cohort? 

WE Innovate cohort

Learning outcomes

By the end of this programme you’ll have learnt how to:
Use a business model canvas to plan your startup
Understand the needs of your customer
Pitch with confidence
Spot the best funding opportunities.
Recognise the key concepts to commercialise a business idea
Outline the key definition and concepts of prototyping
Create a compelling pitch deck
Network and build connections with peers, investors and industry experts
Build a successful team, culture and business

Entry requirements

  1. Your team lead or co-lead must identify as a woman (the rest of your team can include men)
  2. Your team lead must be a current undergraduate, post-graduate student or Postdoc at Imperial College London OR must’ve graduated within the last three years (since October 2017)
  3. If you’ve previously been accepted and have subsequently participated in the WE Innovate or Althea-Imperial Programme Alumni you won’t be able to apply again as a team lead. Please note that if you’ve previously applied but not been successful, you can apply again.
  4. WE Innovate alumni who join or support teams participating in this year’s programme will not be permitted to join masterclasses or pitch at the WE Innovate Final should their team be selected as a finalist.

Key dates


4th February (PM): Workshop – An introduction to the programme & key concepts.

5th February: Enterprise Lab Check-in  book a 20-minute slot in advance.


10th February (PM): Workshop – Customer discovery.

W/C 8th February: Business Coaching – you’ll need to book your 45-minute slot in advance.



W/C 15th February: Customer Discovery Week

No workshops or business coaching sessions this week.


24th February (PM) Workshop: Prototyping.

W/C 22nd February: Accountability Group – book a 30-minute slot with your accountability group in advance.



3rd March (PM) Masterclass: Pitch Training

4th – 5th March: Enterprise Lab Check-in – book a 20-minute slot in advance.



W/C 8th March: Pitch coaching – you’ll need to book your slot in advance.

No workshops will take place this week.


17th March (PM) Workshop: Leadership. 

W/C 15th March: Business Coaching – you’ll need to book your 45-minute slot in advance.



24th March (PM) Masterclass: – Investment


W/C 22nd March: Accountability Group – book a 30-minute slot with your accountability group in advance. 



26 March: Deadline for applications for phase 2

31st March: Announcement of semi-finalist teams 

April - May

 – Pitch Session with investors and industry panel. 

– IP Learn & Lunch. 

– 1:1 business coaching, peer mentoring and expert support.  



23rd June: The WE Innovate Grand Final


Can I talk to someone about my application?

Yes, we have special Idea Surgery slots specifically for you to talk to us about your application. Book here.

Can I submit several projects?
Yes! As long as you’ve done the required research on them all (see our Entry Requirements 👆) you can submit several ideas.

When can I expect a reply regarding my application?
We aim to notify all applicants of their status by 5pm on the Wednesday 9th December.

I’ve submitted my application, but haven't received a confirmation email. Should I have?
No. We don’t want to clutter up your inbox, so we don’t send confirmation emails. You’ll have seen a ‘Thank you’ message pop up when you submitted your application and that’s it! No further action needed.
What are the Terms and Conditions?
You can find the programme Terms and Conditions here.

Meet the Alumni


TOMMY is a non-invasive, affordable device for the continuous monitoring of glucose to improve the management of diabetes.


Hippocampus is an immersive virtual reality solution for those who need help with their long-term memory.


Cadget is revolutionising the healing process with a cast technology that is light, breathable and washable.

BIO-F Solutions
BIO-F Solutions

Bio-F Solutions are transforming the way our food is produced by developing eco-friendly fertilisers based on natural micro-organisms.


“Being part of WE Innovate has been an amazing experience. Every week, I looked forward to attending WE Innovate as I know I will see friendly faces, both students and staff, as well as learn an invaluable skill that I have never been taught in my academic training.”
Alexa Segal, Founder of Queeries

How to apply

Applications for the 2021 cohort are now closed. Take a look at our other programmes and events, or book an Idea Surgery to get tailored advice from the team.