Heba Bevan founder of tech firm Utterberry, named as Vodafone Woman of the Year for Innovation

Heba Bevan, the CEO and founder of a technology firm investing in a state-of-the-art new factory in Leeds, has won a major national award.

Heba, CEO of Utterberry, was named the Vodafone Woman of the Year award for Innovation at a star-studded event in London by the star of Gentleman Jack, Suranne Jones.

Utterberry develops and manufacturers tiny sensors that monitor loads on structures and bridges for any issues that may cause problems.

Its technology has been used on the likes of the London Underground and the Forth Road Bridge and now the firm is to locate its manufacturing and innovation operations to Yorkshire.

Pic credit: Dave Benett

As revealed exclusively by The Yorkshire Post in the Summer, Utterberry intends to employ around 800 people in Yorkshire.

The new facility, located at Prospect House on Sovereign Street, will also work on the company's new contactless Covid-19 symptom scanners, which UtterBerry hopes to roll out across the UK and worldwide.

Heba told The Yorkshire Post she wants to use the win and her business to champion and encourage more women into engineering.

"The need for engineers is growing, we cannot exclude half the population," she said.

Heba with Suranne Jones. Pic credit: Dave Benett

“Many have forgotten about manufacturing in this country or assert that high tech manufacturing is something that we cannot do.

"We have an incredible history of manufacturing innovative, cutting edge products, and the country needs to do more of it, especially in tech. We have the inventiveness, the talent and the ability to do so to an extremely high standard.

"I feel very lucky to be part of this era in technology and engineering and I want to encourage and make it possible for more women to be part of it.

"Women who also want to be mothers need to feel comfortable in the workplace and we need to make it possible for them to train and work in the industry while still having a family."

On her award win, she said: "I’m really humbled and thankful to be given this award. I have to admit, when I got the call from Lady Louise I thought she’d rung the wrong person!

"I’m an engineer first and foremost - I’ve been working on AI, machine learning, data, block chains and designing mini-chips as long as I can remember. I love creating a product and seeing it in other people’s hands being put to use, so it’s a real honour to have my work recognised in this way.

"Since I was a child I have had a love for engineering, problem solving and invention. This love drove me to work extremely hard in my studies and to go into a line of work where I have often been the only woman in the room."