Two Bristol business leaders recognised in Women in Innovation Awards from Innovate UK

Dr Ying Lia Li

Two Bristol business leaders have been recognised in the Women in Innovation Awards run by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Dr Ying Lia Li founded Zero Point Motion, a startup designing semiconductor technology for precise motion tracking and navigation. Just this week it was confirmed her company had raised £2.58m in a seed round led by Foresight Williams.

Lia is developing revolutionary motion tracking and navigation hardware, bringing the high-performance inertial sensors that exist in aeroplanes and spacecraft to consumer devices.

“I knew that to improve navigation and stabilisation, the market needed new sensor technology, but still at chip-scale size,” says Lia.

“Our inertial sensors will be 100 times more sensitive than those inside your phone. Imagine ultra-responsive AR/VR headsets, and increased precision in robotics.”

Victoria Forrest is the founder of Vika, publisher of immersive books at the cutting-edge of fine art publishing.

She has created the first augmented reality book, ‘Where is the bird?’, designed to inspire the use of British Sign Language in deaf and hearing families.

Each page contains an illustration that triggers augmented reality animations together with a video demonstrating the sign language for that word.

“I want to raise awareness of deaf languages and culture to improve integration between deaf and hearing communities,” said Victoria.

“The book’s videos will bring a static silent page to life, allowing deaf and hearing children to become more engaged with books and reading.”

Victoria and Lia will receive a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support from Innovate UK EDGE.

The Women in Innovation programme was launched in June 2016 to address the under-representation of women engaging with Innovate UK, to encourage female-led innovation and to boost the economy. Since then, the number of women-led applications for Innovate UK grants has increased by 70 per cent.

“While access to finance is one of the biggest barriers to women successfully innovating in business, we are also aware that we must increase the diversity of role models in business and innovation if we are to inspire and attract more innovators,” says Indro Mukerjee, CEO, Innovate UK.

“Through engagement with schools, regions and local and national media, the Women in Innovation programme promotes our award winners as relatable role models that challenge stereotypes and can inspire our next generation of innovators.”

Innovate UK EDGE South West will allocate an Innovation and Growth Specialist to each award winner who will help them to transform their research and ideas into tangible market value.