A look back at the launch of the “Women TechEU” pilot programme for women-led start-ups

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A look back at the launch of the “Women TechEU” pilot programme for women-led start-ups

The European Commission last month launched “Women Tech EU”, an EU programme supporting deep tech start-ups led by women. The initiative is part of Horizon Europe, the new European innovation and research programme that follows Horizon 2020. The aim is to help these new structures become long-term leaders in deep tech. A pilot call will be launched to select up to 50 women-led start-ups to receive financial support of up to €75,000.

EU programme to reduce gender gaps in innovation

At present, statistics show that gender parity in the world of innovation is far from being achieved. These data show that only 15% of innovative start-ups are founded or co-founded by women and only 6% are founded or co-founded by an all-female team. These women-led companies raise less money (venture capital) than those led solely by men, even at the start-up stage, when investment is vital, and the amounts they raise tend to be lower.

In Europe, about 5% of venture capital goes to mixed teams and only 2% to all-women teams. The European Commission has decided to launch the “Women TechEU” programme to reduce this gender innovation gap by supporting deep tech start-ups led by women at their launch, where the risks are highest.

Moreover, since they are based on engineering innovation and scientific advances, deep tech start-ups tend to have longer R&D cycles and often take more time and capital to build than other start-ups. Additional support is often welcome for these structures.

A pilot call for start-ups until November 10

Fifty promising deep tech start-ups from EU Member States and associated countries will be selected and receive funding under the first pilot call ‘Women TechEU’, which will close on 10 November 2021. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, speaking around the launch of this new EU programme that aims to reduce gender inequality in start-ups, said:

“With Women TechEU˝, we want to increase the number of women-led start-ups and create a more equitable and prosperous European deep tech ecosystem. We are convinced that supporting female deep tech founders today will increase their chances of success and boost the entire European innovation ecosystem by attracting more female talent.”

The programme will provide financial support to these start-ups, with grants of €75,000, and they will receive coaching and mentoring via the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Women’s Leadership Programme. The EIC accelerator also targets women-led start-ups, but the new Women TechEU programme will support them from the early stages of creation, to encourage women to launch their own start-ups.

Translated from Retour sur le lancement du programme pilote “Women TechEU” pour les start-up dirigés par des femmes

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