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Welcome to the

WE Innovate

Final 2021

Designed to boost the opportunities available to women in entrepreneurship, over the past 7 years, Imperial’s gamechanging WE Innovate programme has provided a wide range of opportunities to women interested in entrepreneurship, from developing business ideas and entrepreneurship skills to raising investment and networking. Watch the live final here:

This year, the WE Innovate programme will culminate in our live, online final, providing an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant achievements and progress of women entrepreneurs at Imperial College London.

You can watch the finalists and semifinalists pitch their ideas in the prerecorded videos below. In our final event on Friday 25th June, our £30K prize fund, sponsored by bp, will be awarded by a panel of worldclass entrepreneurial, academic and industry experts. Come along to watch the finalists deliver their pitches to our esteemed panel of judges and to see which team is chosen as the winners of WE Innovate 2021!

Message from Professor Maggie Dallman
Vice-President (International) & Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships), 
Imperial College London

It’s been such a pleasure to be supporting the WE Innovate programme again this year and I very much look forward to welcoming you to the final in June. The event is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the incredible achievements that our female founders have made, in both innovation and entrepreneurship, over the past 6 months.

Supporting women in entrepreneurship is not only important to help them achieve their potential, but also in championing their significant contributions to society. Nowhere is this more relevant than in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) fields, where females are regrettably still underrepresented. At Imperial, we are fortunate to attract students from a wide range of backgrounds and it is incredibly encouraging to see this diversity reflected in this year’s WE Innovate cohort.

It has been very pleasing to watch the programme grow over the past 7 years and, although the teams have once again had to adapt to circumstances by participating in an online format this year, I have no doubt that they will achieve the same success as their predecessors. The resilience and tenacity they have shown, collaborating with one another from locations across the globe, truly reflects the entrepreneurial spirit typical of the programme’s alumni.

Finally, I would like to extend our special thanks to bp, for their support and also to the industry experts and programme alumni, who have generously shared their time and expertise with this year’s participants.

Meet the Finalists

The five final teams have undergone months of masterclasses, business coaching and pitch training to compete in the finals. The judges will award marks to teams based on displays of outstanding commitment, unique ideas, the potential for commercialisation and teamwork.

Zyme Biosciences
Zyme Biosciences

A novel bioengineered assay (all-inclusive kit) that combines high-throughput capability and can be used at room temperature without the need for additional equipment. Watch presentation

Happyr Health
Happyr Health

A digital therapeutic app in which young people can conveniently see their health and wellbeing progress. Watch presentation

NEUROsole
NEUROsole

Smart insoles paired with an app that detect early signs of inflammation and poor circulation. Watch presentation

Paige
Paige

Incorporating multiple lines of braille which is key for accessing mathematics and other STEM fields. Watch presentation

SURU Together
SURU Together

A CivTech social platform that builds bridges and ideas. Watch presentation

Prize and Awards

The finalists will be pitching in front of the judges to win a share of the £30,000 grant funding, sponsored by bp, which will allow them to take their business ideas further. 

1st prize of up to

£15,000

2nd prize of up to

£7,000

3rd prize of up to

£5,000

Runners-up prize

£3,000

for two teams
Engineers in Business Awards

£3,000

for two teams
People’s Vote: Lauren Dennis Award
A tailored mentoring package.

Meet the Judges

Alexsis de Raadt St James

Managing Partner, Merian Ventures

Founder and Managing Partner of Merian Ventures, a US/UK venture capital firm focused on female founded and cofounded deep tech companies in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain and Consumerfacing technologies. Alexsis began her career in the finance, energy and technology sectors, where she held senior executive roles in M&A, venture, corporate finance and product strategy at Shell International and more recently, Merian Ventures.

She is a frequent speaker and author on digital business, venture and the role of women in technology. Alexsis is a Fulbright Commissioner, Advisory Board member at the Oxford Internet Institute, The Foundry at Oxford, Founder of WE Innovate STEM Accelerator Imperial College London and a Board member and Advisor to companies she’s funded or founded. She has an MS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an MBA from Erasmus University.

Kate Bingham

Managing Partner, SV Health Managers LLP

In her 29 years at SV, Kate’s biotech investments have resulted in the launch of six drugs for the treatment of patients with inflammatory and autoimmune disease and cancer.

She is one of six Managing Partners serving on the firm’s Investment Committee, which managed seven venture capital funds and one public fund for life sciences investing in US and Europe. Kate is responsible for biotech investments which include investments in smallmolecule drug discovery and development projects, biotherapeutic development projects, and drug discovery platforms in a broad range of clinical areas.

In May 2020 Kate was appointed Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce reporting to the Prime Minster to lead UK efforts to find and manufacture a COVID19 vaccine on a six month engagement stepping down as Chair in December 2020. On December 8th 2020 the UK started COVID19 vaccinations the first Western country to do so.

Sam Skerry

SVP, bp Launchpad & Venturing

In January 2021 Sam Skerry assumed the role of SVP bp Launchpad & Venturing (LP&V). LP&V originates, incubates, scales, and commercialises new businesses and technologyled options, underpinned by technology insights, and accelerates growth in bp’s future core and new digital adjacencies.

Prior to this Sam spent most of her career in the bp’s Supply & Trading business. Most recently, as Regional Business Leader Global Oil Europe; she was responsible for bp’s supply and trading activities across Oil and Chemicals for Europe, FSU, and Africa. Sam previously held a number of international leadership roles leading businesses in bp, including Global Head of Structured Products, and Chief Operating Officer Natural Gas in North America, and SVP Strategy & Commercial Development N. Americas Gas & Power. She held earlier roles in Treasury and HR.

Sam holds a BA (Hons.) in English Literature and has completed executive education with INSEAD and London Business School.