With the aim of encouraging other people to follow in their footsteps, the European Commission wants to give public recognition to outstanding women entrepreneurs who brought their innovative ideas to the market.

Launched in 2011, this is the third edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators. The news was announced this week on International Women’s Day and the prize aims to raise awareness of the need for more female entrepreneurs.

You can see more in the video below:


Why does the prize exist?

Although there has been some improvement in recent years, great differences persist between the careers of female and male scientists and entrepreneurs. In 2012, 46% of the PhD graduates in the EU were women, but they represented only 33% of researchers.

“Women represent only 30% of all entrepreneurs in Europe”


Just one on every ten universities in the European Union has a female rector, and 20% of researchers at the top grade of an academic career are women. Women represent only 30% of all entrepreneurs in Europe.

Who can enter?

  • The contest is open to all women who have founded or co-founded their company and who have at some point of their careers benefitted from the EU’s research framework programmes, the EURATOM Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation framework programme (CIP) or actions relating to research and innovation under the European Structural and Investment Funds (known as the Structural Funds prior to 2014).
  • The contestant must reside in an EU Member State or a country associated to Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme.
  • The company must have been registered before 1 January 2013 and have had an annual turnover of at least EUR 100 000 in 2013 or 2014.

What can I win?

The first prize is worth €100 000, the second prize €50 000 and third prize €30 000.

The three prizes will be awarded in Spring 2016. Interested in entering? You will be able to submit your entry for the prize until 20 October 2015.

Enter the EU Prize for Women Innovators competition.  See also the full competition rules  and the application guide.  You can also find out more about Women innovators in Europe in this report: “Statistical Data on Women Entrepreneurs in Europe”.

Jamie Middleton