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European Innovation Council

EU Prize for Women Innovators 2023-24: the winners

Awards ceremony

On 18 March 2024, at the R&I Week Opening event in Brussels, the European Commission announced the winners of the 10th edition of the European Prize for Women Innovators. Managed jointly by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the prize underscores the invaluable role of women in driving transformative change and fostering innovation-driven growth in the European Union. Read more about the winners in three prize categories:

Women Innovators

Winner: Rana Sanyal (Türkiye)

Rana Sanyal is Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of RS Research, which develops smart nanomedicines for targeted chemotherapy. 

Find out more about Rana Sanyal and her company in this video.

Video interview


Second place: Natalia Tomiyama (Germany)

Natalia Tomiyama is Managing Director and Co-Founder of NÜWIEL, which develops e-trailers that can match the movement of the pedestrian or biker pulling it.  

Find out more about Natalia Tomiyama and her company in this video.


Third place: Elena García Armada (Spain)

Elena García Armada is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Marsi Bionics, which develops paediatric exoskeletons and robotic knees.  

Find out more about Elena García Armada and her company in this video.



Rising Innovators

Winner: María González Manso (Spain)

María González Manso is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of tucuvi, which automates follow-up phone consultations with empathetic artificial intelligence.  

Find out more about María González Manso and her company in this video.

Video interview


Second place: Sara Correyero Plaza (Spain)

Sara Correyero Plaza is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of IENAI SPACE, which develops and manufactures electric propulsion modules for nanosatellites together with mission optimisation.

Find out more about Sara Correyero Plaza and her company in this video.


Third place: Bàrbara Oliveira (Ireland)

Bàrbara Oliveira is CTO and Co-Founder of Luminate Medical, whose technology helps prevent the side effects of cancer treatment.  

Find out more about Bàrbara Oliveira and her company in this video.


Third place: Eva Sadoun (France)

Eva Sadoun is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of, which makes it easier to invest in social enterprises. 

Find out more about Eva Sadoun and her company in this video.



EIT Women Leadership

Winner: Yuliia Bialetska (Ukraine)

Yulia Bialetska is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of S.lab, which develops alternatives to plastic foam packaging.  

Find out more about Yuliia Bialetska and her company in this video.

Video interview


Second place: Deniz Ficicioglu (Germany)

Deniz Ficicioglu is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of BettaF!sh GmbH, which develops seaweed-based alternatives to fish.  

Find out more about Deniz Ficicioglu and her company in this video.


Third place: Cristina Purtill (Ireland)

Cristina Purtill is, Chief Executive Officer of Plio Surgical, which developed a magnetic solution to intestinal post-surgery recovery.  

Find out more about Cristina Purtill and her company in this video.



Jury Members

Kamila Czerwinska

Kamila is a social entrepreneur, experienced project manager, certified trainer and coach with extensive experience leading international teams and designing strategies for impactful change. She collaborates with diverse organizations to develop innovative solutions, leveraging participatory methods like design thinking, system thinking and behavioral science. Kamila is an expert advisor for major public initiatives such as Warsaw 2040 metropolitan strategy, the European Commission's and the OSCE social innovation projects. With a background spanning the United Nations, European Commission, and various international corporations she has mentored and trained over 4000 individuals, incl. start-ups and co-designed numerous innovative initiatives. Kamila holds a Master's in Political Science from Warsaw University and a postgraduate degree in European Public Administration from the College of Europe, Bruges.

Kamila Czerwinska


María Engonga

Maria is a project adviser at BIC Guadalajara, with more than 12 years of experience in the innovation industry. Her experiences range from leading the management of projects from their early stage in Spain to major creation and coordination of programmes of acceleration and incubation for startups, participating in European consortiums, European mentorship programmes, being member of the jury in many of them. Her achievements include sourcing quality seals monthly for tech-based companies. Certified mentorat EOI (School of Industrial Organization in Spain) scaling up startups, since 2022 she has been working too as a mentor in the programme for women entrepreneurs in Africa together with the international network EBN.

María Engonga


Eliav Haskal

Dr. Eliav Haskal is the Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Manager for the Swiss National Competence Center for Research (NCCR) in Bio-Inspired Materials since November, 2014. In this role, based at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, with main partners EPFL and ETHZ, he is tasked with valorizing the research done in the NCCR through industrial collaborations, patent licensing, and startup creation.  He is currently assisting seven startups, and also acts as an angel investor. Before joining the University of Fribourg, he spent twenty years in industrial research as a scientist at IBM Research Zurich and Philips Research (Eindhoven, NL), where ultimately he was the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Philips Research.  In this role, he managed global cooperative and open innovation projects with companies, universities and governments for Philips Research related to Lighting in all market segments.

Eliav Haskal


Lukáš Konečný

Lukáš Konečný is Junior Partner at Y Soft Ventures, a Czech Republic based corporate VC fund investing in Central European hardware & IoT startups, and a member of the European Commission expert evaluator network. He started his career at JIC - South Moravian Innovation Centre, a public agency supporting entrepreneurial development, where he worked as a business consultant and a program manager. Lukáš is a prog rock enthusiast and a (bass)guitar player. 

Lukáš Konečný


Osman Gürcan Ozan

Partner at ACT Venture Partners, specialising in early-stage investments in deep-tech startups across Europe since 2015. With over two decades of experience in venture capital, R&D, product development, and global partnerships, he has collaborated with thousands of startups and researchers across various industries. Experienced EU expert.


Rui Serapicos

Rui is an established entrepreneur with experience in international business, community, and ecosystem building. Rui believes in the power of research, deep technologies and decentralisation to deliver real-world impact for the world's global challenges. Co-founded a Web3 Research Lab dedicated to delivering real-world social good from emerging technologies.

Rui Serapicos


Eugene Smyth

Eugene Smyth is an Investment Partner for Furthr VC Funds in Ireland, including the €53m AIB Seed Capital Fund where he manages the fast-growth technology portfolio. He is also an industry expert consultant on a variety of European Commission technology innovation programmes.  His specialist areas include Cleantech, IOT, New Media, SaaS, DeepTech and emerging platform technologies.

Eugene Smyth