Award-Winning Sustainable Plant-Based Hair Extensions with Innovate UK.

Niyo Hair and Beauty, founded by Oyinkansola Adebayo, has received a national innovation award. Niyo Group was granted a national innovation award by Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency. The prestigious award will support awardee, Dami Folayan, in growing her innovative business idea of plant-based hair extensions from a thought into a viable product that Niyo Hair and Beauty will launch.



Birmingham-born-and-raised Dami Folayan is among the 233 high-potential innovators across the country who have been awarded a grant by Innovate UK. Critically, she will receive 12 months of tailored business support to nurture her idea, stimulating the UK’s economy. The Begin Award builds on the success of Innovate UK’s targeted programmes, like Women in Innovation and Young Innovators, this latest funding is designed to find and support the fresh innovation talent the UK needs.



Niyo Hair and Beauty is a forerunner in the hair and beauty industry that works to revolutionise the way we think about, care for and style textured hair, centring technology and sustainability. They are passionate about building groundbreaking technology that reshapes the hair and beauty industry. The Begin Award will enable Niyo Hair and Beauty’s award-winning project, “Enhancing Textured Hairstyling With Sustainable Products: the Plant-Based Future of Textured Hair Extensions”, centred around the production of biodegradable textured hair extensions, to launch.



Currently, the textured hair extension market offers consumers the limited options of purchasing human hair extensions, which can reach up to $400 per pound, or synthetic plastic hair extensions made of single-use plastics, that take up to 100 years to break down, for around $10 per pound. By introducing a plant-based alternative to the market,  Niyo Hair and Beauty hope to make the textured hair industry more economically viable and environmentally sustainable. By reducing the amount of plastic waste that is produced by synthetic hair extensions, Niyo Hair and Beauty is taking an important step towards a more sustainable future.


Oyinkansola Adebayo, CEO of Niyo Hair and Beauty, says, “A large percentage of the consumer base of false hair is black women, as it is not only a cultural practice but wearing certain hairstyles helps protect one’s natural hair from breakage and brittleness. Regardless of why one may choose to use false hair, the market for these products is significant. It was valued at $2.4 billion in 2020 and continues to grow rapidly, partially due to its unregulated nature and its primarily underground existence. The false hair industry is nearly invisible to the consumer as well as to the stylists who heavily influence many wearers’ choices. Greater transparency around the source of these products can help consumers make informed, and ultimately, improved choices. We are excited to be piloting our project to solve problems within the textured industry".

In line with the UK’s growing appetite for innovation, this new award programme was amongst the most highly engaged funding competitions Innovate UK has ever delivered - with over 2,100 entrepreneurs applying for funding and business mentorship. There is an urgent need to transform the UK’s skills and talent pipeline, through inspiring and connecting people to new opportunities and pathways into innovation. Innovate UK estimates that, to achieve the UK’s full economic potential, 400,000 more innovators need to be supported, from entrepreneurs to engineers. 

Coinciding with the Awards announcement, Innovate UK has joined forces with over 150 partner organisations to launch its free and accessible No Limits digital platform, which makes it easy for aspiring innovators to discover new career paths, sharpen their skills and access opportunities to develop life-changing innovations and future-proof the UK economy.


If you’re an aspiring innovator, or a business looking to connect with new talent, check out to find support and inspiration.

You can read more about the award won by Niyo Hair and Beauty here: 

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