This week celebrates both World Book Day and International Women’s Day and what better way to combine these two with storytime celebrating the ‘Fantastically great women who changed the world’.
Having just returned from maternity leave I have spent the last few months focussing on being a first-time mummy to my gorgeous daughter. My mind is full of how best we bring her up and surround her with the best role models to engage and inspire her (alongside the everyday thoughts of nap schedules, mealtimes and nappies!!).
Now I’m back at work, my mind turns to the work of Interface and the inspiring businesses, academics and projects that we have worked with. One aspect of my role that I particularly enjoy is the sheer diversity of the business ideas and products that are being created every day in Scotland, and part of that portfolio is a strong female presence. In fact, for the past two years we have seen an increase in the number of female led innovation projects that we have supported – up from 35% in 2018 to 39% in 2019 – and for the first six months of this academic year we’ve seen another increase to 45%.
Scotland has a long history of inventions and innovation and it’s so great to see that women are playing a significant role in ensuring that we continue to innovate and invent for the future. Here are some of our own fantastically great women that we have worked with.
Fiona Houston, Sea-EO and Co-founder of Mara Seaweed, has carried out several projects with Abertay University, from conducting microbiological and nutritional analysis, to consumer acceptability testing. Through this expertise identified by Interface, Mara have been able to prove that seaweed is highly nutritious leading them into the development of more and more products which have subsequently entered high-end retail outlets.
Imogen Russon-Taylor, Director and Founder of Kingdom Scotland, saw potential for a new brand to ‘bottle Scotland’ and use perfume to share old narratives in new ways as there were rich stories associated with perfume and natural ingredients in Scotland. Teaming up with PhD student, Dawn Hollis, a historical researcher at the University of St Andrews, Imogen researched the history of Scotland’s perfume and into sourcing ingredients that had a heritage in Scotland. This project has supported the development of what is certainly the first Scottish luxury perfume house in many years, if not the first in Scottish history.
Nicola Dames of Vanilla Blush carried out a study with the University of the Highlands and Islands to explore people’s experience of support garments following bowel stoma formation. From the project they have developed a brand-new tightly-woven hernia support belt as a direct result of the research, which was listed for prescribing in England and Wales. The key findings from this project also resulted in multiple academic manuscripts that have been presented at various industry-leading conferences throughout the UK and Europe.
#EachforEqual – I will celebrate women’s achievements