Kettlethorpe High School reveals Purple Plaque to celebrate Ali Gordon, a Women in Innovation Award Winner

Kettlethorpe High School hosted an event to celebrate their former pupil, Ali Gordon, who has won the prestigious Women in Innovation Award from Innovate UK, the UK’s national innovation agency, by unveiling a purple plaque in her honour on the school site.

Purple plaques are being displayed at schools across the country to recognise the achievements of the winners of the prestigious Women in Innovation Award. The Award also sees recipients receive a cash injection of £50,000 and one-to-one mentoring to scale up their businesses and bring their pioneering innovations to market.

Ali Gordon is part of a network of over 150 Women in Innovation Award winners who are developing inspiring solutions to pressing societal, environmental, and economic challenges; from multi-grip bionic arms for amputees, an AI that curbs your unhealthy cravings, and satellite data to detect long-lost archaeological sites.

Ali Gordon is the CEO and Co-Founder of ‘Eat Out Round About’. Eat Out Round About is unlike other voucher company, they keep expired vouchers in circulation. They have a social mission and work with organisations and charities to reach senior citizens and others that may face social deprivation to help more local people to enjoy their local area. Trials of the scheme generated over a 600% return on investment for the local Wakefield economy.

Handing over the plaque was Claire Sutherley, Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire representing the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire. Speaking about handing over the award, Claire said “Today, we gather here to celebrate a remarkable individual, a former pupil of Kettlethorpe High School, Ali Gordon. She is not just a recipient of the prestigious Women in Innovation Award from Innovate UK, but a beacon of inspiration for every girl in this room. Ali’s story, much like mine, underscores the idea that success and achievement knows no gender or background.

Innovate UK has chosen to honour Ali with a purple plaque – a symbol of innovation and progress. It’s a twist on the traditional blue plaques that grace our towns and cities, reminding us of influential historic figures. Yet, shockingly, only 14% of these blue plaques celebrate the achievements of women. This is a stark reflection of the under-representation of women in innovation.

Today, as we unveil Ali’s purple plaque, let it serve as a powerful reminder to each and every girl in this school that you can be anything you want to be. Your dreams are valid, your ambitions are achievable, and there is no limit to what you can accomplish.”

Jo Wray, Deputy Headteacher at Kettlethorpe High School said: “We are proud to welcome Ali back into Kettlethorpe High School and honoured to accept the purple plaque in recognition of her hard work and achievements. We invited our Year 10 Prefects to listen to her speak and hopefully it inspired them to be the next innovators of the future.”

About Women in Innovation

Innovate UK launched Women in Innovation in 2016, after research revealed that just 1 in 7 applications for Innovate UK support came from women. Boosting the number of female entrepreneurs could deliver £180 billion to the economy. The aim was to get more women with excellent ideas innovating within UK businesses. Women in Innovation is part of Innovate UK’s commitment to promote greater diversity and inclusion in business innovation.

The programme seeks to find women with exciting, innovative ideas and ambitious plans that will inspire others. The awards are for women founders, co-founders or senior decision makers working in businesses that have been operating for at least one year. The programme support includes a £50,000 grant for each individual, as well as a bespoke package of mentoring, networking, training and role modelling opportunities. The campaign and awards programme have had a huge impact – leading to a 70% in the number of women applying to Innovate UK’s funding and support. The Women in Innovation Awards 2022/23 will build on this success. For more details see:

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is the UK’s innovation agency. We work to create a better future by inspiring, involving and investing in businesses developing life-changing innovations.  With an annual budget of over £1billion we provide businesses with the expertise, facilities and funding they need to test, demonstrate and evolve their ideas, driving UK productivity and economic growth.