As a senior woman in the tech industry, at a time when only 5% of the industry’s leadership positions are held by women, I am committed to supporting our future generations of leaders whenever I can. As such, I was delighted to represent Blenheim Chalcot recently on the judging panel for Imperial’s WE Innovate programme - a personal and professional development programme designed to inspire a new generation of women entrepreneurs through structured mentoring, sessions with prevalent business leaders and workshops to focus on skills such as pitching.
Through the programme, the students have been supported to nurture their innovative ideas into enterprising projects. This culminated in a final event where five outstanding female students pitched their innovative commercial ideas for a first place £15,000 cash prize towards developing their product. Coming from a healthtech background myself, I was particularly happy that all of the finalists’ pitches were creative solutions set to improve the way people access and manage healthcare.
The pitches were incredibly diverse and all hugely impressive. From an affordable solution for women to track and manage perimenopause at home, to using AI to better detect and treat cancer and even a platform for comparison and booking of verified carers.
In the end, first place was awarded to Oggic presented by Saujanya Vruddhula. Oggic is a blockchain platform using QR codes printed directly on to drugs to prevent counterfeiting. It allows manufacturers, packagers and patients to verify the authenticity of their drugs. The judges could immediately see the need that Oggic was addressing with the internet making drug tracking ever more difficult and the very real problems countrerfeit or unprescribed drugs can cause such as we’re seeing with the Opioid crisis in North America and elsewhere.
Congratulations to Saujanya and all the finalists and I wish them all the best as they develop their ideas further! And thanks to London Imperial College for leading the way in supporting the next generation of enterprising women.