On International Women’s Day, a trailblazing female entrepreneur from Sunderland has been recognised for her game-changing innovation which is tackling some of society’s biggest challenges.

Vijayalakshmi Subramani from Sunderland is amongst 38 pioneering women across the UK who will be awarded a cash injection of £50,000 each by Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Awards, as well as bespoke mentoring and coaching to enable them to scale up.

VJ , aged 36, was inspired by her six-year-old autistic son, to co-found TeenyWeenyVR, a fun, VR-based edutainment platform for Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to help them prepare to visit new places.

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Vijayalakshmi said, "I was inspired by my own personal experience using VR with my six-year-old autistic son. His VR headset not only calms him down during episodes of anxiety but I also found it helped in preparing him to visit new places if he could see and feel it in immersive experience first, which would lead to increased collective family happiness when we visit the same places for real. I am honoured and privileged to have won the Innovate UK's Women in Innovation Award".

Encouraging new government research shows nearly 40% of UK FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women, compared with 12.5% 10 years ago. Female entrepreneurs are also on the rise, the number of UK businesses currently owned by women is 32.37%.

Emily Nott, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Innovate UK said: “It has continued to be a challenging year of uncertainty but pioneering, resilient women inspire us to dream big and make an impact despite the difficulties we face.

"Innovate UK will work alongside these winners to ensure they have the resources and support required to turn their innovative ideas and aspirations into a reality, while encouraging a new generation of women to come forward and pursue their ambitions.”


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