The European Commission published on 21 June 2022 the second Women TechEU call which will be open until 4 October 2022, 17:00 (CET). This year, the Commission is raising the budget to EUR 10 million with the objective of funding up to 130 deep-tech start-ups, following the very encouraging results of the first pilot in 2021.
Women TechEU is one of the numerous EU initiatives aimed at encouraging and strengthening female leadership in tech and innovation, including the annual EU Prize for Women Innovators and the new EIC’s Women Leadership Programme. Women TechEU also supports female-founded start-ups throughout the most vulnerable phase of their company’s growth. In addition to a EUR 75 000 grant, the finalists also receive mentoring and coaching for leadership, internationalisation, business modelling, implementation strategy, market entry, financing, negotiating with investors, and much more, through the EIC’s Women Leadership Programme.
In this context, Mariya Gabriel – Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said: “We received a very positive response to this first pilot, with nearly 400 applications from across the EU and Associated Countries. I am proud that we are now supporting 50 ambitious women-led companies from 16 countries. This is a huge step in the right direction to bridge the deep tech gender gap and encourage women to fulfil their true potential. Women-led deep-tech companies should build EU’s innovation DNA and this year we will support even more of them”.
Additionally, the Women TechEU programme backs up women as decision-makers and leaders in their respective fields. Leveraging their position in the investment industry, where women are still underrepresented, is the Commission’s funding goal. This program is supported by the European Innovation Council and funded by Horizon Europe’s work program, the European Innovation Ecosystems (EIC).
In a nutshell, the European Commission wants to build a more equitable and thriving European deep-tech ecosystem by assisting women-founded enterprises.
Deep tech businesses in Europe account for more than 25% of the bloc’s start-up ecosystem, with a current valuation of €700 billion. However, women are still disproportionately underrepresented in this sector. Currently, less than 15% of start-ups are created or co-founded by women (and only 6% by women-only teams), while women only obtain 10% of patent applications in the EU. This results in minimal capital investments in female-led businesses, creating a vicious cycle. Only 5% of venture capital is allocated to mixed-gender teams, and only 2% to all-women teams.
© European Commission