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European Innovation Council
News article8 March 2022

Applications for the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2022 are open

The European Innovation Council (EIC) launched today the ninth edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators. The Prize celebrates the women entrepreneurs behind Europe’s game-changing innovations, to inspire more women to follow their footsteps.

The EU Prize for Women Innovators is funded under Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme. The EIC will award three prizes of €100,000 each to the most inspiring women innovators across the EU and Associated Countries, including Ukraine. To mark the European Year of Youth, the EIC will be awarding a further three prizes of €50 000 each to promising ‘Rising Innovators’ under the age of 35.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, opened the competition today on International Women’s Day in the French city of Strasbourg.

Commissioner Gabriel said: “The empowerment of women and girls is at the core of our European values and goals. Throughout my portfolio, we aim to foster environments that help women succeed, and lead in their respective fields. This year, we highlight some key initiatives undertaken to support women in science, innovation, culture and education.”

The prize is open to women from all EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon Europe, who have founded an innovative company.

The deadline for applications is 18 August 2022 at 17:00 (CET). The prize is managed by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, and the winners are chosen by an independent expert jury.


Background

Innovation and tech remain a man’s world. Today, three quarters of startups in Europe are founded by men, while only 8% are founded by all-women teams. This lack of diversity translates into low amounts of capital invested into female-led and managed companies. In 2019, 92% of all funds raised by European VC-backed companies went to all-male founding teams.

To make matters worse, the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately impacted women founders. Funding to women founders in 2020 was down 31% compared to the first three quarters of 2019 while funding for all-male teams dropped by just 16% during the same period.

This is why gender equality is at the heart of the European Innovation Council work programme, which seeks to create fair, inclusive and prosperous research and innovation ecosystems in Europe.

The EU Prize for Women Innovators is part of a series of EIC measures to empower women innovators and tackle systematic bias in research and innovation. Key initiatives including ambitious pitching targets for women-led companies under the EIC Accelerator, a new Women Leadership Programme supporting women entrepreneurs, a gender balanced EIC Board and integration of the gender dimension in the EIC Challenges. The new Women TechEU pilot complements these EIC initiatives, by supporting women-led deep tech startups at the early, riskiest stage of the company’s growth.

More information

For further information about the EU Gender Equality Strategy and European Commission’s support for women in research, science and education is available here

Gender equality in research and innovation

Details

Publication date
8 March 2022

Contacts

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European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency
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EU Prize for Women Innovators 2022