What are organisations doing to support and encourage female innovators? BQ put the question to five big names.
World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
“Despite general improvements in gender equality around the world, gender gaps in patenting, in particular, persist: just under one-third of the international patent applications filed via the WIPO-administered international patent system included at least one women inventor. That’s why WIPO is working to boost the participation of women in all areas of intellectual property. In 2014, WIPO adopted a new gender policy that aims to provide a general framework for the integration of a gender perspective across the organisation’s policies and programmes. Frequently in cooperation with national intellectual property offices and other partners, WIPO organises informational and capacity building events around the world, among a range of related activities. In fact, the theme of this year’s World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April is ‘Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity’ – celebrating the brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving change in our world and shaping our common future.”
London Stock Exchange (LSE)
“Diversity is a key driver for development and innovation, which is why Elite is committed to championing female representation on the programme. We are continually trying to engage female founders and chief executives and have set up a bursary in the UK to support them in joining Elite. A number of inspiring female founders and chief executives have been part of the UK programme, bringing their unique experience, background and approach to the Elite community.”
UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO)
“We are committed to encouraging innovation in women. Our outreach team attend events designed to support women in business. In science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) there is a lack of female representation, so we attend career fairs to encourage women to work in this field and, when recruiting patent examiners, we use channels that target women in STEM careers. We also collaborate with ‘IP Inclusive’, which exists to help support and improve diversity in the IP profession. On International Women’s Day, we launched a ‘Women’s Inclusive Network’ to help us achieve our goal of being a workplace where everybody is able to achieve their full potential regardless of their gender. Our 2016 research showed that the gender gap in worldwide patenting, although significant, is decreasing. In 10 years, female inventorship had risen by 16%. There’s still more to do and we’re excited to continue working against this challenge.”
The ‘Principally Women’ programme looks to foster and encourage growth supported by practical and personal skills needed to scale: developing leadership styles; raising investment; generating and closing sales; managing teams; emotional intelligence, life values; and knowing yourself. The pilot programme is fully funded by Scottish Enterprise and there is no charge to participants. The pilot programme is aimed at female entrepreneurs, leaders, founders, or women in senior management teams who hold influence in businesses with potential to scale. The programme seeks to draw out women principals at a point where life stage, opportunity and ambition are aligned but specific skills, confidence, knowledge or support may be lacking.
Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES)
“To stay competitive, businesses should continually innovate. Research shows that women power radical innovation: companies with more women are more likely to introduce new products than those with less diverse teams. Through collaboration with partners such as Converge, Interface and Entrepreneurial Scotland, WES creates the environment for women-owned businesses to start up and grow, realising the untapped economic potential of an additional £7.6bn contribution to the Scottish economy. For example, on our ‘Lead with WES’ women’s leadership course in Fife, we link up growth businesses with Interface, helping the companies to access university-led innovation and support.”
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