Hartland Elementary Unveils Purple Plaque to Celebrate Sophie Walker
Hartland Primary School hosted an event to celebrate former pupil Sophie Walker, who won Innovate UK’s prestigious Women in Innovation Award by unveiling a purple plaque in her honor on the school website.
Purple plaques are displayed in schools across the country to recognize the achievements of some of the women innovators who have received the prestigious Women in Innovation Award. The award also means recipients will receive a £50,000 cash injection and one-to-one mentoring to scale up and bring their ground-breaking business ideas to market.
Sophie Walker is one of a network of over 150 Women in Innovation Award recipients who are developing ground-breaking innovations to address pressing social, environmental and economic challenges; from providing precision medicine to underrepresented populations to offering eco-friendly materials for the aerospace industry and creating cutting-edge digital educational tools.
Sophie Walker, 41, is on a mission to change the way we all manage our waste and recycling with her tech company Dsposal. Her Women in Innovation project helps complex waste generators such as the NHS to better understand their waste supply chains and meet their environmental targets.
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest NHS Trusts in the country, collaborated on the project and has since signed a commercial contract with Dsposal. Sophie is also the project lead for another Innovate UK funded project aimed at improving data and sustainability across the packaging supply chain.
Sophie Walker said: “I am thrilled to be honored with this Purple Plaque Sophie Walker (left) and her sister Reanna Walker (right) in 1990 and the opportunity to share a bit of Dsposal with Hartland pupils. Elementary School. It’s a wonderful place to grow up, but I felt like I had to move away to get the kind of career I wanted.
“I was passionate about the environment even as a student, but I never thought I would be in business and I followed a very winding path to where I am now. I hope that by sharing my story I can show children that no matter where you are from, the world is full of opportunity and through remote working they can be entrepreneurs and innovators without leaving beautiful North Devon.”
Helen Bye, headteacher at Hartland Primary School, said: “We feel very honored that Sophie wanted to remember us when she received her award here and it just goes to show what a positive impact a school can have on your adult life. At Hartland Primary School, we place great emphasis on our school values and believe that their development will help our children grow into resilient, aspirational adults.
“We want our students to realize their potential. This plaque is a reminder to all of what they can achieve if they put their minds to it. We are delighted to recognize Sophie’s achievements and excited to see what comes next.”