Two Valmet employees among the ten most inventive women in Sweden

May 1, 2024

Elin Engqvist (Application Engineer, Tissue Application) and Maria Vennerström (Manager, Bleaching and Analysis) are named on a list* of the ten most inventive women in Sweden published by the Swedish Patent Office. Valmet is very proud to have two employees on this list and the patent department has conducted an interview with Elin and Maria to find out what makes a good inventor.

From the left: Maria Vennerström (Manager, Bleaching and Analysis) and Elin Engqvist (Application Engineer, Tissue Application).

First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be one of the most inventive women in Sweden?

Maria: It feels very good to be on the list. This is the first time I am on a top-ten-list!

Elin: I feel the same way, and it is my first time on a top-ten-list as well. I only wish there were more women inventors.

According to one study, only about 16% of Swedish patent applications have at least one woman inventor. What is your thought on that?

Maria: There are more men than women in many industries, so that may be one reason why there are fewer women inventors.

Elin: I also think that women may be more self-critical and feel that their ideas are not good enough.

Maria: I agree. Another reason may be that many women, at least at Valmet, work with processes and not everyone is aware that processes can be patented.

Valmet is very proud to have two women on this top-ten-list. Is there something that Valmet does better than other companies in this regard?

Maria: It is a part of Valmet’s strategy to develop and patent new ideas. We are encouraged to file a certain number of invention disclosures every year. I have also received very good support from both managers and the patent department. One reason I filed my first invention disclosure was that my then manager actively encouraged me to do so.

Elin: It was the same for me. My first patents were the result of a project where we had to come up with new ways to protect a product because the original patent was about to expire. We sat down in a group and discussed various ways to do this. Discussing ideas with other people is a very good way to come up with new solutions.  

The two of you are obviously very creative. Is there something else that makes a good inventor?

Elin: It is a mindset. I think about patents more now than before. It is not enough to just develop new products and processes. We must protect our inventions to prevent our competitors from using our solutions. It is also important to remember that even minor modifications can be patented. An invention does not have to be revolutionary.

Maria: It also depends on what you work with at the moment. I work a lot with textiles and that is a field where we can apply old knowledge in new ways. Not everyone is aware that this is something that can be patented. It is also easy to forget about patents when you have many other tasks to do.

Both Elin and Maria emphasize the importance of working together and discussing ideas with others, including people from other technical fields. Many inventions are the result of a group effort and ideas are improved upon when more people are involved.

We asked Rickard Andersson (VP, Pulp BU) what he thinks about Elin’s and Maria’s achievements.

Rickard: We are of course very proud to have both Elin and Maria on a list of the most inventive women in Sweden. Only one other company (Scania) have more than one woman on that list. It is important for Valmet that we invent new products and services to gain a competitive edge over our competitors, and to achieve this we must use the skills of all employees, regardless of gender. We do our best to promote gender equality at the workplace and hopefully we will see more women from Valmet on this list in the future.

*List of the ten most inventive women in Sweden based on granted national patents in Sweden 2008-2023.

  1. Maria Södergren, 16 patents, Scania
  2. Susanna Jacobsson, 13 patents, Scania
  3. Jenny Filipsen, 10 patents, Roxtec AB
  4. Elise Revell, 7 patents, Kelicomp AB
  5. Adeliina Aho Tarkka, 7 patents, Scania
  6. Elin Engqvist, 7 patents, Valmet
  7. Jenny Eriksson, 6 patents, Scania
  8. Maria Wennerström, 6 patents, Valmet
  9. Eva Sunning, 6 patents, Carton Lund AB
  10. Sofie Jarelius, 5 patents, Scania