Breaking the Bias with Ingenuity

Here at Ingenuity, we’re proud to provide a space for women to explore and develop their ideas for driving social change through enterprise. On International Women’s Day 2022, we wanted to celebrate some of the amazing women involved with the Programme.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BreaktheBias. The 2019 Rose Report highlighted the scale of gender inequality present in the UK’s start up ecosystem, and we continue to help close this gap by providing skills and training, access to networks and routes to funding to early-stage female founders.

Fighting for gender equality is a central part of our mission for social change, and no-one embodied this more than our 2021 Impact Entrepreneur of the Year, Claire Mann. Claire joined the Ingenuity Programme to see how she could use her own experience to support others going through the menopause.

This experience gave Claire the idea for her business concept – ChangeXtra, which uses counselling, coaching, support and access to learning to support and empower women going through the menopause.

Ingenuity Entrepreneur of the Year Claire Mann
Ingenuity empowered me as a woman to feel support as a female entrepreneur and to start a new business to meet the needs of women. I was thrilled to win the Female Entrepreneur of the year which totally validated me as a businesswoman.
Claire Mann, ChangeXtra

A Treasury report in 2019 found that only 1 in 3 entrepreneurs in the UK are women, so we were delighted to find that the cohort for our 2022 Programme was 57% female, up from 49% last year.

It’s been great to see women from across the UK taking part in the programme this year, committed to creating impact in their communities. People like Keisha Kellam, who founded Honour Thy Woman, a domestic abuse peer support group in Gloucestershire. Motivated by her lived experience as a domestic abuse survivor, Keisha founded the group to provide drop-in sessions, creative workshops, self defence classes and health and wellbeing workshops to anyone who has experienced domestic abuse.

Another participant on this year’s Programme is Michaela Lesayova, who founded Living Well, offering life coaching services to people with nervous system issues and those who have experienced trauma. Her idea was inspired by her own PTSD and her experiences working with neurodivergent individuals for the past five years.

Aimi Willmer, based in Hampshire, joined the Programme to develop her community group, NVR South, into a social enterprise. Informed by her own experiences as a parent, Aimi founded the group in order to build a network to help families develop non-violent resistance strategies and support them through their own struggles with behavioural issues.

Amy Willmer (middle) with fellow nonviolent resistance practitioners
Today is a day to celebrate the women of Ingenuity, past and present. To our ever-growing community of female founders: thank you. We are continually inspired by your commitment to use business to drive change.
Lizzie Smith, Ingenuity Head of Programme

If you’re inspired by our participants’ stories, and want to help develop their ideas into viable business solutions, there’s still time to sign up to be a mentor for this year’s Programme!

Sign up to be an Ingenuity mentor today




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