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Women-led companies are on the rise. The participation of women in deep tech is not only a matter of fairness but an important case of using Europe’s full potential of excellence in science and businesses.

To further support the role of women in innovation and tech the European Innovation Council (EIC) is offering a skills enhancement and networking programme for women researchers and entrepreneurs, the Women Leadership Programme (WLP).  

This programme is open to female researchers and entrepreneurs from the EIC Community and Women TechEU.  Each cohort also engages a certain number of European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) supported female entrepreneurs.


First cohort (October 2021 – March 2022)

The first WLP cohort served 50 participants with eight tailored-made training and networking sessions to improve their skills and five networking events to expand their network with keynote speakers. In addition, they had access to Mentoring sessions with a focus on their personal career growth and Coaching sessions to approach the necessary tools to solve their specific business challenges.

Watch the Opening Ceremony

Watch the Closing Ceremony 


Second cohort (May – November 2022)

The second WLP cohort served 84 participants who followed a journey of training and networking sessions, in addition to Personal Mentoring and Business Coaching.

This current cohort will be concluded in late November.

Follow the online Awarding Ceremony on 18 November (10:00 – 11:30) . Register

Watch the Opening Ceremony


Third cohort (spring 2023)

Stay tuned for more information on our 3rd cohort, to be launched in 2023!

Who can participate?

The EIC Women Leadership Programme targets EIC beneficiaries, specifically:

  • Business women in management positions, who want to strengthen their skills and expand their network;
  • Women within established companies aspiring to take over leadership positions in business development; 
  • Women researchers involved in research projects aspiring to lead the transition of their research into businesses. 

For detailed conditions regarding past engagement in EIC-funded projects, please consult the FAQs.

What does the programme offer?

Selected participants have the chance to participate in specific trainings, networking events and be invited to take part in a personalised mentorship and business-coaching scheme.

Networking events

Dedicated networking events take place throughout the programme to increase the participants’ network and heighten their visibility. Keynote speakers will be invited to give testimonial speeches and facilitate the networking moments.

Mentorship and business-coaching scheme

Selected female members of EIC beneficiaries have the chance to tap into a pool of experienced mentors across sectors and geographies. These mentors, ranging from experienced CEOs and investors to VCs and serial entrepreneurs, will help the participants along the way and offer support in defining their personal and career goals. Each participant will also work with an expert EIC business coach who will help identify new business opportunities and potentials.

Training scheme

In addition to the networking events and mentorship scheme, the participants have access to a tailor-made training scheme on topics like negotiation, pitching and leadership styles.


Alumni Group

Participants of the programme are added to an exclusive group in the EIC Community Platform to maintain an active contact with the other fellow participants, network, share events and relevant news.

Event calendar

  1. 20 May
    Launching Ceremony – 2nd cohort


    Watch the Opening Ceremony 

  2. May - October
    Exclusive trainings, networking, mentoring and coaching activities
  3. 18 November
    Awards Ceremony - 2nd cohort
  4. Spring 2023
    3rd cohort


Find all the answers on the EIC Women Leadership Programme in the FAQ.

1 JULY 2021
(263.93 KB - PDF)


Background information

Despite the high demand for talent, the European pool of next generation leaders in research, innovation and venture investment continues to be limited by the underrepresentation of women in all parts of the innovation ecosystem. Women represent less than 20% of senior management in deep tech start-ups that have raised Series A or B, with CTO positions stagnating at 1% for the last 3 years. In technology investment, men-only teams captured 91% of all capital raised and 85% of all rounds across Europe in 2020, and these imbalances are confirmed at regional level for Central and Eastern Europe and for Nordic countries. In the Central and Eastern European region, only 19% of the Venture Capitals are led by women or mixed teams, while 81% are led by all-male teams; women led VC funds represent a single digit share of assets under management. In the Nordic countries, only 11% of VC partner positions are held by women.  Women are equally underrepresented in the management of venture capital, with cascading consequences for the rest of the innovation world, as female investors tend to invest more than men in companies with female founders.

The WomenTechEU scheme and the EIC Women Leadership Programme are just two of the actions that the EIC is taking to support the role of women in tech. Check the Statement on Gender & Diversity in the EIC for more information.