InnovateHer secures £530,000 in new funding

A Liverpool social enterprise that encourages girls to pursue careers in tech has secured £530,000 in new funding – with a big chunk from defence giant BAE. Tony McDonough reports

InnovateHer encourages girls aged 13 to 17 to take up STEM subjects


InnovateHer will be able to accelerate its work in getting more women into tech jobs after securing new funding of £530,000.

A social enterprise based in Liverpool, InnovateHer has secured £480,000 from Lancashire defence giant BAE Systems and a further £50,000 from Innovate UK’s Future Flight Fund. The latter will be used to develop a cybersecurity learning programme.

BAE, which has a continual need to recruit people with technology skills, had previously given InnovateHer £120,000. This latest cash injection will support a drive to boost the digital and cyber skills of young people across Lancashire.

Spent over four years, the grant will specifically support InnovateHer’s effort to persuade more 13 to 17-year-old girls to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) with a view to pursuing careers in tech.

Cliff Robson, group managing director of BAE Systems Air, said: “In our role contributing to the nation’s defence and security requirements, it is crucial we maintain a technological edge in digital and cyber skills and grow a more diverse workforce.”

Originally called Liverpool Girl Geeks, the venture was renamed InnovateHer in 2018 as it took its work beyond the city region and across the country. Founded by Chelsea Slater and Jo Morfee, it now has a team based in the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool.

InnovateHer will use the £50,000 from Future Flight Fund to expand its outreach activities for teens aged 13 to 17. It will design a cybersecurity learning programme on its e-learning platform to be delivered in schools across the UK.

Worth £300m, the Future Flight Fund aims to revolutionise the UK aviation industry by bringing together technologies in electrification, digital and autonomy that will create new modes of air travel and capability.

As part of the programme, up to £500,000 will be invested into various projects that will help to close the current skills gap that exists in the aviation sector through the creation of course content and materials that will support talent, training, and skill sets.


InnovateHer’s work will be boosted by £480,000 from BAE Systems


This six to eight-week interactive cybersecurity course from InnovateHer is being created to inspire and intrigue young people to consider careers in the sector and will align with the Future Flight emerging markets.

Students will start their learning journey as cybersecurity ‘apprentices’ and will receive information from their virtual mentors throughout the course.

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They will learn about the many different roles that exist within cybersecurity and take on challenges designed to feel like they are solving real-life cyber problems. It will be delivered with the support of BAE Systems.

Chelsea Slater, co-founder of InnovateHer, said: “We are thrilled and honoured to have received the prestigious Future Flight Fund from Innovate UK, allowing us to introduce a transformative Cyber Pillar to our E-Learning platform.

“This support not only reaffirms our commitment nurturing digital resilience, but also positions InnovateHer as a driving force in shaping the future of cybersecurity education.

“In addition, the substantial investment of £480,000 from BAE Systems empowers us to bring this visionary project to life, reaching even more young minds, empowering them with the essentials skills to thrive in our digital age.”

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