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Women in Innovation award delight for Cambridge trio




Three entrepreneurs based in Cambridge are celebrating their Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation awards this week.

Sasha Haco is developing a tool to identify harmful or abusive online content through her business Unitary
Sasha Haco is developing a tool to identify harmful or abusive online content through her business Unitary

The awards recognise women who are pursuing breakthrough new business ideas that will inspire others. They are delivered by innovation investor KTN and Innovate UK, who work in collaboration to create a vibrant community of female role models, sharing knowledge and encouraging entrepreneurial growth for women throughout the UK. Winners are each given a £50,000 grant, as well as a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.

The winners from Cambridge are:

 Nicola Filzmoser, who has developed the Happyr Health app. Having suffered with migraines from an early age, the app is designed for children and young people and uses storytelling and gamification tools to help them to manage chronic pain.

 Sasha Haco, a Cambridge graduate developing a tool to identify harmful or abusive online content through her business Unitary. Her work uses computer vision technology to identify harmful content, in context, instead of relying on vast numbers of human moderators and could dramatically increase the identification and removal of such content online.

Dilrini De Silva, founder of Jāna Biois, is a Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellow and Research Associate in Bioinformatics at Cancer Research UK at the Cambridge Institute
Dilrini De Silva, founder of Jāna Biois, is a Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellow and Research Associate in Bioinformatics at Cancer Research UK at the Cambridge Institute

 Dilrini De Silva, who aims to improve treatment options for ethnic minority populations, who are currently underrepresented in medicine development. Her company, Jãna Biois, a pre-seed, biotech start-up, uses AI and cutting-edge stem cell engineering techniques.

Nicola, Sasha and Dilrini are among 40 of the UK’s leading female innovators being backed to scale up their innovations to help the UK recover from Covid-19 and tackle global challenges.

Emily Nott, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at Innovate UK said: “With 2020 proving to be an incredibly difficult year for everyone, and particularly women, continuing to support female entrepreneurs in 2021 has been a real priority for Innovate UK. We have had an enormous response and we can see some positives from the pandemic, with some of our shortlist inspired to start up a business in response to some of the challenges it has brought.

“Working alongside the winners, Innovate UK will help them grow further. We can’t wait to see what else these inspiring women achieve and how they can be an example to inspire the next generation and to encourage more women-led businesses in this country as we rebuild and recover.”

Nicola Filzmoser, Happyr co-founder, has been recognised with an Women in Innovation award. Picture: Pradeep Singh
Nicola Filzmoser, Happyr co-founder, has been recognised with an Women in Innovation award. Picture: Pradeep Singh

Science minister Amanda Solloway added: “As we build back better from Covid, it’s a priority of mine to continue equipping our brightest female innovators with the tools they need to succeed, while encouraging a new generation of women to come forward and pursue their ambitions.

“Today we are supporting three of Cambridge’s most trailblazing female entrepreneurs, helping them to turn their innovative ideas into a reality – from an app helping children with chronic pain to AI that will improve medical treatments for ethnic minority populations. These products and services will help improve our lives and boost our economy.”

Commenting on her award and project, winner Nicola Filzmoser said: “We are excited that, together with the Women in Innovation Award, we can bring our story to life to engage children with chronic pain in their disease management.

“Most importantly, I am excited to share this journey with fellow female entrepreneurs and be a voice for all those young people who need our support.”



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