Welcome to the
Designed to boost the opportunities available to women in entrepreneurship, over the past 8 years, Imperial’s 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.
This year, the WE Innovate programme will culminate our live final, providing an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant achievements and progress of women entrepreneurs at Imperial College London. In our final event, our £30K prize fund, sponsored by bp, will be awarded by a panel of world-class entrepreneurial, academic and industry experts.
To our audience in the room, welcome! It’s great to have you with us. And to those who could make it in person, we hope you enjoy the event via the video below.
Message from Professor Maggie Dallman
Vice-President (International) & Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships),
Imperial College London
It is an absolute pleasure to welcome you to the WE Innovate Final 2022. I am honoured to be supporting the programme once again this year and very much looking forward to learning more about the ideas that the teams have come up with over the past 6 months and welcoming you to the Final and networking event in June, where the 5 finalists will pitch to the judges, and all the teams can showcase their ventures.
Supporting women’s entrepreneurship at Imperial not only helps our women students, graduates and alumni achieve their potential, but also promotes the significant contributions which women make to our society. Nowhere is this more important than in STEM fields, where young women are still woefully underrepresented. At Imperial, we are also 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.
I would like to extend special thanks to bp, for supporting the programme again this year and for their sponsorship of the prize fund. This fund will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the businesses who receive it.
I would also like to thank the industry experts and WE Innovate alumni who have peer mentored and shared both their time and expertise. Their insights have been an invaluable source of wisdom for our participants, and they are certainly one of the features which makes WE Innovate truly unique.
Finally, I would like to thank the Enterprise Lab team for putting together and facilitating the programme. Without them, the programme could not have run so successfully over the past 8 years.
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.
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Prizes 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 further develop their business ideas. Finalist teams will also get a chance to win the Lauren Dennis Award and Engineers in Business Award.
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2nd prize of up to
3rd prize of up to
Runners-up prize x2
Lauren Dennis Award
Lauren Dennis was an exceptional Imperial student and the definition of a WE Innovator; strong, fearless and a go-getter. After the sudden passing of Lauren in 2018 to small bowel cancer, the Imperial Enterprise Lab would like to continue honouring her legacy by celebrating confident and ambitious leaders, just like her.
The final five teams are in the running to win the Lauren Dennis Award, comprised of a 4-week fellowship with Become a Science Founder (BSF) by Wilbe, home for scientist leader. The Lauren Dennis Award will go to the team that has demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial spirit in STEM.
Engineers in Business Award
Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF) is a charity that promotes the importance and value of business education for engineers to improve people’s lives and the performance of the UK and global economies.
Imperial Enterprise Lab has partnered with EIBF to award one outstanding WE Innovate team from engineering backgrounds up to £3,000 grant funding, mentorship, as well as a professional CV 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 co–founded deep tech companies in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain and Consumer–facing 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.
Founder, Longview Partners LLP
Ramzi founded Longview Partners in November 2001. Longview is a specialist asset management firm, focused entirely on global equity portfolios. Ramzi resigned from Longview at the end of 2018 and has since sold his ownership.
Prior to founding Longview Partners, Ramzi spent nine years at Goldman Sachs in the Private Wealth Management division. Ramzi also spent three years at JP Morgan in Equities and Corporate Finance. Ramzi obtained his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1992 and his BSc in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 1987.
Ramzi and his wife Dalia have three boys, Yusef, Talal and Karim.
Managing Partner, bp Ventures
Sophia is a managing partner at bp ventures. She explores new opportunities that support bp’s scaling of advanced mobility, clean energy, and other tech-led business models that accelerate the transition to net zero. She leads on the sourcing of venturing deals in India, China, elsewhere in Asia-Pacific, and Middle Eastern markets – but covers the UK too as it is her home.
Sophia joined bp ventures from bp’s advanced mobility team, having designed and delivered the company’s global e-mobility strategy, helping the business to become a leading provider of integrated mobility solutions for a future world.
Before joining bp, she worked as an innovator and business builder in the global consumer goods and services industry, ran her own award-winning startup and qualified as a lawyer. In her spare time, Sophia volunteers as a Magistrate and enjoys exploring the British countryside in her EV. She holds a Warwick MBA as well as degrees in science (McGill) and law (London).
Meet the Host
Times Radio presenter Reya El-Salahi is an award-winning news and current affairs broadcaster and host of the Accenture podcast ‘Building Sustainable Futures’.
Introducing tonight’s Keynote
Award-winning angel investor, venture capitalist and international speaker, Yvonne is a founding member of Impact X, and an investor in much loved companies such as Wise (previously Transferwise), Flutterwave and Marshmallow. Previous roles include Goldman Sachs and representation on the board of HarbourVest Global Private Equity. She currently sits on the board of Innovate Finance and is also a member of the London Hub of Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum, a community of young people driving change.
As a strong advocate for entrepreneurship and leadership, Yvonne has been featured in many publications including Forbes, Management Today and The Financial Times. In 2020 she was listed on the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Europe Finance List, along with a position on Forbes’ 25 Leading Black British People.
Thank you to our sponsor
Sponsorship for the WE Innovate Programme is kindly provided by bp.
Sam Skerry, Senior Vice President, Launchpad and Ventures Innovation and Engineering, bp
bp is delighted to sponsor WE Innovate at Imperial College London for the fourth consecutive year. Greater diversity, equity and inclusion of our workforce is one of bp’s core aims and extends to the start-ups we invest in. We recognise the commercial benefits it brings, as well as simply being the right thing to do. Within the business I lead, bp Launchpad and Ventures, we originate, incubate, scale and commercialise new businesses. In doing so, we evaluate over 1500 start-ups per year, and from this we know that there is more work to be done in achieving gender balance.
My congratulations to the cohort of women founders for the progress and accomplishments of their start-ups. The WE Innovate programme imbues participants with the entrepreneurial skills required to innovatively tackle the biggest global challenges. Having reviewed the profiles and pitches of the participants, I am excited about what can be achieved and the role of these incredible women in innovating for the future.
bp’s purpose is to reimagine energy for people and our planet. It has set out an ambition to be a net zero company by 2050, or sooner, and help the world get to net zero, and recently announced its strategy for delivering on that ambition. For more information visit bp.com.