Welcome to the
Designed to boost the opportunities available to women in entrepreneurship, over the past 9 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 £33K 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. Anyone unable to join us this evening will be able to access the recording of the event at the link below from the 23 June 2023.
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 2023. 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 this 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 9 years.
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.
Cutting edge material technology and programmable wearable devices to create a paradigm shifting experience in the approach to healing musculoskeletal disorders.
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.
1st prize of up to
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 6 month coaching package with business coach Janet Murray.
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.
UKI Lead, Accenture Ventures, Open Innovation and Chief Executive Officer, Diversity VC
Ladi operates at the intersection between technology, business and innovation is determined to find the best solutions to the world’s most challenging problems. He is the lead for Accenture Ventures UKI where is specialises in investing in growth-stage companies and guiding large companies through digital transformation.
He is also the CEO for Diversity.VC, a non-profit on a mission to create a Venture Capital industry where one’s identity is no longer a barrier to making or receiving investments. As a bridge between an extensive network of enterprise, entrepreneurs and investors, he is uniquely placed to lead impactful change.
Director of Industry Partnerships & Commercialisation FoM, Imperial
Director of Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation for the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, leading the Faculty’s Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation (IPC) team in maximising the impact of Imperial’s research discoveries by stimulating, identifying and progressing opportunities to develop research and technologies through collaboration and commercialisation.
Responsible for the strategy, organisation and operations of the IPC – Medicine team, seeking to grow engagement with industry , research translation and commercialisation activities, guiding the protection, development and commercialisation of Imperial’s discoveries which have a transformative impact on society.
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’.
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.