Recycling firm boss among 'visionary' female entrepreneurs receiving key backing

A start-up boss based in North-east Scotland is among a list of “visionary” British female entrepreneurs receiving UK government backing of £50,000 each to progress their novel innovations and business ideas.

Joan D’Arcy is the founder of Plastic@Bay in Durness, North-west Scotland. Picture: contributed.
Joan D’Arcy is the founder of [email protected] in Durness, North-west Scotland. Picture: contributed.

The initiative is unveiled today by UK science minister Amanda Solloway to mark International Women’s Day, and will see 40 of the country’s top female innovators awarded the sum, as well as bespoke mentoring. The aim is to help them scale up and bring to market their disruptive business ideas, many of which have come about in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the list is Joan D’Arcy, founder of [email protected] in Durness, who aims to help protect the environment by developing local ocean plastic recycling facilities in coastal communities up and down the UK.

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“These facilities will be capable of recycling ocean plastic quickly onsite and at a low cost, converting plastic waste into construction materials,” the firm says. “As well as tapping into a local source of material, these facilities will also provide local employment and training opportunities for young people, with each recycling facility employing at least three people to use and maintain the low tech recycling machines.”

Ms Solloway said: “Today we are supporting 40 of our most trailblazing female entrepreneurs, helping them to turn their innovative ideas and aspirations into a reality, creating the products and services that will help improve our lives and boost our economy.”

Today’s funding is part of the UK government’s flagship Women in Innovation Awards, delivered by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, which seeks to boost the number of UK female entrepreneurs, who could deliver £180 billion to the economy.

Emily Nott, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at Innovate UK, said: “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.

"It forms a key part of the government’s ambitious [Research and Development] Roadmap, published in July 2020, which committed to supporting the UK’s innovators and risk-takers by backing entrepreneurs and start-ups with the funding needed to scale up their innovations.”

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