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News article3 June 2021European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency1 min read

The European Innovation Council launches Women Leadership Programme for innovative entrepreneurs and researchers

Increasing the participation of women in deep tech is not only a matter of fairness, but vitally important for using Europe’s full potential for excellence in science and innovation.

The European Commission has launched the Women Leadership Programme to provide a dedicated programme of mentoring, skills enhancement and networking for women entrepreneurs and researchers in EIC supported projects.

Also today, the European Innovation Council pilot Advisory Board has published a statement on gender and diversity, urging the EIC and all other innovation actors to take immediate action to achieve balanced representation of women and men along the entire innovation chain. The Board point out that in its pilot stage, the EIC has already made good progress by increasing the number of women-led companies awarded EIC Accelerator funding (from 8% to 29%). In addition, women represent 50% of the jury members that recommend EIC funding and 42% of the business coaches that advise and mentor EIC supported start-ups.

To further build upon this, the European Innovation Council has launched a dedicated skills enhancement and networking programme for EIC women researchers and innovators: the EIC Women Leadership Programme (WLP). As of today, women from EIC-funded projects can apply for the Programme. 50 of them will get the tailored-made training and get the chance to work with personal mentors and coaches to define and follow their business strategies. At a second stage, this Programme will be extended to projects selected under the new WomenTechEU scheme.

Background information

The EIC WLP will be part of the set of Business Acceleration Services offered to EIC supported companies and projects. In March 2021, the EIC launched a call searching for mentors to join the Programme, gathering close to 500 potential mentors across the continent to work with the prospective women leaders. Now is the time for women in EIC supported projects and companies to apply for the programme by 2 July 2021. This includes start-ups and SMEs awarded funding through the EIC Accelerator and research teams supported through the EIC Pathfinder, together with the projects awarded under the EIC Pilot.