I grew up in West London and went to the local grammar school. My enjoyment for sport soon took me to technical college to study Geology and Sports Science. Very rapidly a passion for Geology took over and I did a degree at City of London Polytechnic, and then a PhD in Geochemistry. Since then I've spent a good proportion of my life managing a Research Council analytical facility. It was good fun and challenging but I decided that I wanted to take that knowledge and the innovative ideas that I've got and to set up a new company. I got together with two colleagues to form Viridian, providing consultancy services and innovative analytical solutions to a wide range of industries.
I am also very proud to be visiting Professor at Imperial College in the Centre for Environmental Policy and Research Associate at Kingston University.
My innovation is a new approach to measuring alpha radiation in nuclear decommissioning applications using the interaction of alpha particles with nitrogen in the air to produce ultra-violet light. This is a real technical challenge. We've called the tool ViridiScreen®. It will have real advantages over what is currently used particularly when we incorporate it into the new tool we are developing. At the moment specially equipped, suited people in breathing apparatus take samples using a drill risking the spread of radioactive contamination. Our new combined tool will allow them to safely make a measurement for alpha radiation followed by the removal of a small amount of material using a laser for further characterisation.
My eureka moment was when I realised that I could turn so much accumulated knowledge and experience to a new and challenging use.
We have had previous success in winning funding from Innovate, for a feasibility study and large R&D grant, this was a real driving force for this application. The application process was straight forward and I was pleased to be able to include supporting statements from people I have worked with.
Since receiving this award, we were delighted to hear that we have also been successful in getting all four of the other bids to Innovate UK made in the summer. Five out of five - you can't do better than that!
My top tip for female entrepreneurs and innovators is to get out there and talk to the people who could benefit from your innovation! They'll help you learn how your industry works and what its needs are. And, most importantly, get help with the things you don't know about and get advice from a business coach - they are priceless!
Kym & Innovate UK:
Kym has just been honoured as one of the 15 winners of Innovate UK's 2016 Women in Innovation awards, a series of awards dedicated to addressing the disproportionately low numbers of women entrepreneurs in the UK. Here, over a series of 15 posts we'll meet the inspiring innovators and entrepreneurs that Innovate UK is celebrating, each of whom will receive a tailored business support package, expert business mentor and £50,000 to help them reach their full potential.
Dr. Ruth McKernan CBE and Chief Executive of Innovate UK says: 'From fully autonomous drone software to affordable solar power technology and even a digital education portal which engages school children with the molecular world, the calibre of ideas is an eye-opening view into the talent and vision of the UK's female entrepreneurs. It is very clear that harnessing the talent of women entrepreneurs could significantly enhance UK economic growth. I am delighted that we are taking action; supporting and funding female entrepreneurs to help them succeed and inspire other women to come forward, apply for funding and turn their ideas into successful business.'
If you have an innovation or business idea and are looking for support then visit www.innovateuk.gov.uk for further information - go for it!
You can follow Innovate UK on Twitter at @innovateuk or subscribe to their YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/InnovateUK.