Purple plaques are being displayed at schools across the country to recognise the achievements of some of the women innovators who have won its prestigious Women in Innovation Award. The Award also sees recipients receive a cash injection of £50,000 and bespoke mentoring to scale up and bring to market their pioneering business ideas.
Samantha Woodham is one of a network over 150 Women in Innovation Award winners who are developing pioneering innovations to tackle pressing societal, environmental, and economic challenges; from delivering precision medicine to underrepresented populations, to offering eco-friendly materials for the aerospace industry and creating cutting-edge digital educational tools.
Samantha Woodham, aged 41, a family law barrister, saw a niche in the costly divorce market. The former Cambridge University student set up multi award-winning The Divorce Surgery with fellow barrister Harry Gates. Their pioneering One Couple One Lawyer model enables separating couples to share one lawyer on a fixed fee basis for a less adversarial, faster and more cost effective divorce process.
Samantha Woodham said: “I am extremely honoured to receive this plaque at my old school which always encouraged its pupils to strive. I feel so lucky to have been able to take what seemed at the time as a rather outlandish idea that couples could share a lawyer on divorce, rather than be pitted against each other, and develop a model which is now being adopted by the family law industry as a whole. Innovate UK’s support has enabled us to invest in the technology side of the business, and also put me in contact with many other brilliant female entrepreneurs. Building The Divorce Surgery with Harry has been the highlight of my career and, most importantly, brought me joy every day. I hope this may encourage other young girls and boys to take the leap and follow those lightbulb moments when they get them!”
Will le Fleming, Head of The Abbey School, said: ‘At The Abbey we’ve always sought to prepare students to face a changing world on their own terms, with the confidence and purpose to make a difference and shape the future. That’s exactly what Samantha has done: she’s forged her own path and shown talent, dedication and passion to make a change in the world. We are thrilled to recognise and celebrate her achievements.”
About Women in Innovation
Innovate UK launched Women in Innovation in 2016, after research revealed that just 1 in 7 applications for Innovate UK support came from women. Boosting the number of female entrepreneurs could deliver £180 billion to the economy. The aim was to get more women with excellent ideas innovating within UK businesses. Women in Innovation is part of Innovate UK’s commitment to promote greater diversity and inclusion in business innovation. The programme seeks to find women with exciting, innovative ideas and ambitious plans that will inspire others. The awards are for female founders, co-founders or senior decision makers working in businesses that have been operating for at least one year. The programme support includes a £50,000 grant for each individual, as well as a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support. The campaign and awards programme have had a huge impact so far. The number of women applying to Innovate UK’s funding and support has increased by 70%. The Women in Innovation Awards 2022/23will build on this success. For more details see: https://ktn-uk.org/programme/women-in-innovation/
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK inspires, involves and invests in businesses developing life-changing innovations to create a better future. Providing sectors with expertise, facilities and funding, Innovate UK helps test, demonstrate and evolve ideas, driving UK productivity and economic growth. Innovate UK’s network and communities of innovators realise the potential of ideas and accelerate business growth.