THE European Innovation Council (EIC) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) have taken their partnership to the next level and launched today a revamped European Prize for Women Innovators.
This joint competition will reward an even wider community of women innovators, celebrating their achievements and giving them more opportunities. The awards will be given to the most inspiring women entrepreneurs whose innovation is creating a positive impact for people and planet.
According to Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, this new award will be given to inspire Europe and women innovators. Launched by the European Innovation Council and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the award aims at removing barriers to women in business and tech. I look forward to seeing many contributors.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, said: “This new award is a great way for Europe to show its shared commitment to innovation and gender equality. It’s a cause that will bring the EIC and EIT closer together – natural allies in breaking down barriers to women in business and tech. My hope is for a large field of competing women innovators and entrepreneurs so we can show the diversity in European tech!”
Three winners will be announced at the European Innovation Council Summit in March 2024 in each of the following categories:
Women Innovators: This category is open to all women founders and co-founders from across the EU and Associated Countries. The winner is awarded EUR 100 000, and two runners-up are awarded EUR 70 000 and EUR 50 000 respectively.
Rising Innovators: This category is open to promising young innovators under the age of 35. The winner is awarded EUR 50 000, and two runners-up are awarded EUR 30 000 and EUR 20 000 respectively.
EIT Women Leadership: This category is open to those with a direct link to the EIT Community or one of the existing Knowledge and Innovation Communities. The winner is awarded EUR 50 000, and two runners-up are awarded EUR 30 000 and EUR 20 000 respectively.
An award designed to celebrate women and inspire Europe
These awards will be given to the most inspiring women entrepreneurs whose groundbreaking innovation is creating a positive impact for people and planet. By spotlighting their ingenuity, the European Prize for Women Innovators will show the central role women can (and should) play in creating a new more sustainable Europe, and inspire people of all ages to join the new vision the EIC and EIT are building of women as tech and climate leaders.
Removing barriers to women in business and tech
The EIC and EIT said it knows that systemic barriers still pose obstacles to women’s advancement in the realms of technological innovation and business. That’s why they’ve made women’s empowerment in those sectors core to their mission.
Women are an important source of talent that too often are discouraged or turned away from the world of tech. The EIT’s own study in association with Dealroom revealed that inclusivity unlocks Europe’s potential for innovation. In fact, it found that women-founded tech scale-ups grew 1.2x faster than their competitors over the past five years showing the degree of potential Europe can tap if it makes tech more inclusive to women.
By contrast, excluding women is a huge risk the tech world cannot afford to make. Studies already show that without women’s perspectives and inclusion in the creation of cutting-edge tech, sectors like AI could actually fail to meet people’s real needs and instead reproduce the inequities and harms already present in our status quo.
The European Prize for Women Innovators is now the latest in a series of steps the EIC and EIT are taking to make sure Europe can make the most of inclusive innovation. It won’t just decide winners and who gets prizes – it will connect women innovators, give them a chance to network and build out a community, and help boost the future number of women in leadership roles by normalising the idea of women in charge.