After its successful pilot, in 2022, WomenTechEU has launched a second call to boost innovation in Europe’s female-led deep-tech sector, with an increased budget of 10 million euro. Funded under the European Innovation Ecosystems work programme of Horizon Europe, 134 selected companies will be able this year to receive an individual grant of EUR 75 000 to support the initial steps of their innovation process and the growth of their company. Furthermore, all female founders are offered mentoring and coaching under the European Innovation Council (EIC) Women Leadership Programme, and dedicated networking opportunities across the EU.
This second edition of WomenTechEU has attracted a record number of interest with 467 applications from 35 Member States and Horizon Europe Associated Countries. Following the evaluation, a panel of independent experts selected a total number of 134 companies for funding. They come from 26 different countries with 14% of companies based in countries associated to Horizon Europe and 15% from Horizon Europe widening countries.
All companies proposed for funding have in common that they apply cutting-edge deep-tech innovations while operating across 16 different industry sectors. The selected projects range from the development of new medical drugs to carbon capture technologies, digital learning solutions, or autonomous robotics solutions. Over 15 companies are university spin-offs. By combining innovative ideas, female entrepreneurship, and excellent research and development, this year’s companies selected for WomenTechEU will contribute to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of the EU and beyond.
Deep-tech accounts for over a quarter of Europe's start-up ecosystem, with European deep tech companies now valued at a combined €700 billion and counting. Yet women remain largely underrepresented across this industry.
Founded on innovation in engineering and advances in science, deep-tech start-ups tend to have longer R&D cycles, and often take more time and capital to build than other start-ups. Most could fail in their first years if they do not receive the right support and investment early on. Women in deep tech often face the additional hurdle of gender bias and stereotypes, particularly prevalent in sectors like technology.
The Women TechEU pilot scheme launched on 13 July 2021 as a new EU scheme supporting deep-tech start-ups led by women and helping them grow into tomorrow’s deep-tech champions. Under the Women TechEU pilot call, 50 promising deep-tech start-ups from the EU Member States and Associated Countries will receive targeted funding and first-class coaching and mentoring.
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 Associated Countries to promote women in leadership and close the gender gap in technology and innovation.
- Publication date
- 14 April 2023
- European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency