Energy and sustainability innovators have been recognised this International Women’s Day with funding awarded to support their business.
Innovate UK is providing £50,000 of funding and a package of bespoke support to help nine female entrepreneurs grow their business and boost the economy as part of the 2019 Women in Innovation awards.
Among them is Agnes Czako, who has invented AirEx, a smart-tech airbrick that could improve the energy efficiency of homes by using artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor and respond to the environment, weather and occupant behaviour.
Using a simple open-and-shut mechanism, the brick regulates air flow and ensures the right level of ventilation, reducing a home’s heat demand and resolving damp and condensation problems.
Ms Czako is now focusing on fighting fuel poverty and climate change by creating an energy saving device that is affordable to the mass market.
She expects the device to potentially help save £150 annually on heating bills.
Another entrepreneur, Dr Fanya Ismail, is Founder and CEO of Sol-Fel Coatings and Advanced Materials (SGMA) and has developed a process to create plastic-free coffee cup coating.
The company uses a chemical process called ‘sol-gel’, which produces solid materials from small molecules, to make disposable coffee cups waterproof without the need to use plastic.
To celebrate the winners’ achievements and inspire the future generation, Innovate UK has partnered with schools across the UK to install commemorative purple plaques.
Dr Ian Campbell, Interim Chief Executive of Innovate UK said: “Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Awards address a key barrier for diversity in innovation – a lack of female role models. By recognising their achievement with purple plaques, we are making sure that our nine newly-crowned winners inspire the next generation of female innovators.
“Whether it’s inspiring young students showing a passion for STEM, someone with the spark of an idea or an innovative business ready to be taken to the next level, the Women in Innovation 2019 campaign aims to drive long term and far-reaching change.”