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Cambridge entrepreneur wins Innovate UK funding to support the race to net zero

net zero
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Dr Zoe Tolkien, Director of Research at Advanced Furnace Technology Ltd. has won £50,000 and a mentoring and support package after being named a winner at Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Awards.

The funding will make a difference to the silicon carbide semiconductor industry, currently revolutionising power electronic applications such as electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels. The project will focus on developing a high throughput cleaning method to reduce costs associated with silicon carbide semiconductor manufacture.

Dr Tolkien said: “We are very grateful and honoured to be announced as Women in Innovation 2022 winners. This award is continuing our reputation for innovation and enabling us to expand in high growth markets. It’s a very exciting time for us.”

“As a female entrepreneur, I think one of the biggest challenges can be self-belief. The innovation space is very male-dominated and women don’t often see themselves represented or feel inspired to get involved. I think it’s a challenge that needs to be addressed from a young age. Schools, parents and communities should encourage girls to innovate, be entrepreneurial and to lead. Too often I see online talks aimed at women in business addressing the ‘imposter syndrome’. It’s sad that we are brought up to feel we’re not good enough. I think change can only happen by changing the way we educate and talk to our girls from a young age.

“To any aspiring female entrepreneurs I would say it’s a really exciting area to work in. Personally I can’t think of anything better than turning your idea into a reality. I think if you have a novel idea, it’s definitely worth pursuing. My advice would be to carve your own innovation journey. Don’t be distracted by others, trust yourself and go with your gut.”

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