How You Could Win The EU’s €100K Prize for Women Innovators

Photo:  Jacob Lund /
Photo: Jacob Lund /

If you’ve founded a company with a turnover of at least €100.000, you may just win one of four EU awards for women innovators.

The 2017 edition of the Women Innovators contest, which features prizes ranging from €20.000 to €100.000, opened for applications this week (13 September). The EU competition is organised to highlight “some of the many remarkable women contributing to the European knowledge economy,” according to EU research and innovation commissioner Carlos Moedas.

But women only represent 30 per cent of all entrepreneurs in Europe, and Moedas is keen for that to change. “We hope these prizes help winners to continue on the path of innovation and encourage others to follow in the footsteps of these outstanding entrepreneurs,” Moedas said.

Women Innovators

Europe’s economic growth depends on how well it can compete with the rest of the world. In the United States, for example, women make up almost 40 per cent of the self-employed.

“We simply cannot afford to not increase the number of female entrepreneurs,” Climate-KIC start-up coach Agnieszka Klucznik-Törő recently wrote in a viewpoint for the Daily Planet, while also pointing to the historic opportunities offered by the low carbon economy.

Earlier this year, then-UN climate chief Christiana Figueres partially contributed the success of the Paris Agreement on climate change to an increase in female leadership, arguing out that women tend to be more collaborative than men.

“We [women] certainly tend to be more optimistic and you can’t deliver any results without optimism,” she added.

Rising Innovator Award

The European Commission says it has been organising the contest since 2011 to showcase the achievements of women who overcome barriers to entrepreneurship, such as access to finances and networks, and to draw attention to the need to get more women involved in entrepreneurship.

The EU competition also includes a special Rising Innovator award for women under 35 and is open to women of any nationality living in the European Union, or a European country that collaborates with the EU.

A jury will evaluate and select four winners, who will be announced close to International Women’s Day 2017 on 8 March, the European Commission says.

How to Win

The winners of the 2016 prizes were awarded to entrepreneurs in Portugal, Finland and Ireland who brought new digital, healthcare and space technology innovations to market.

None of the winners were specifically focused on sustainability. But if you’re a founder or co-founder of a business focused on climate change solutions, you may be able to change that by submitting your application on the competition’s website before 3 November 2016.

If you’re still trying to get your climate change solution to market, find out how Climate-KIC could help you kick-start your business.

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