Skip to main content
European Innovation Council
News article2 July 20212 min read

​​​​​​​Record number of applications for EU Prize for Women Innovators 2021, now powered by the European Innovation Council

The eighth edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators closed on Wednesday 30 June, with a record number of applications from across Europe and Associated Countries. A total of 264 applications were submitted, up from 198 total applications in 2020 and 155 applications in 2019.

Overall, women from 35 different countries applied to this year’s edition, with the highest number of applications coming from Spain with 36 proposals. A total of 30 applications came from ‘Widening’ countries (EU 13, Portugal and Greece), and another 44 applications were submitted by Associated Countries, including two applications from Tunisia, and the very first applications from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Applicants to this year’s edition have founded a variety of innovative companies, working on advancing health technologies, green technologies, 5G technology companies, fintech, and much more.

Eligible applications will now be evaluated from July through October. The final shortlist will be published in October, and the winners will be announced at the European Innovation Council Summit in November.

This year’s edition is dedicated to the memory of Dr Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, brilliant marine biologist and a visionary entrepreneur. She was awarded the EU Prize for Women Innovators in 2019 for her groundbreaking work with sustainable concrete solutions that offered hope to restore and protect the world’s marine ecosystems.

This month, the European Commission is launching a new support action for women-led deep tech startups. The Women TechEU scheme will offer first-class coaching and mentoring to female founders, as well as targeted funding to help take their business to the next level.


The opportunities created by novel technologies and disruptive innovations promise to deliver the fair and sustainable recovery Europe needs. But Europe risks missing out on these opportunities if half its population is overlooked as a source of innovation and creative talent.

Achieving a Union of Equality that promotes gender equality in all spheres of life, is one of the major priorities of the European Commission. The Commission is working with Member States and countries associated to Horizon Europe to overcome the barriers to women entrepreneurship and encourage more women to start their own companies.

First launched in 2011, the EU Prize for Women Innovators was created to raise awareness of the need for more female entrepreneurs and create role models for women and girls. The prize is awarded every year to four talented women entrepreneurs from across the EU and Associated Countries, who have founded a successful company and brought innovation to market. Three winners each receive €100,000, with another €50,000 awarded to a Rising Innovator, aged 30 or younger. The prize is managed by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, and the winners are chosen by an independent expert jury.

More information



Publication date
2 July 2021