On July 13. 2021, the European Commission launched Women TechEU, a new EU scheme supporting deep-tech start-ups led by women and helping them grow into tomorrow’s deep tech champions. This scheme comes under the new Horizon Europe innovation ecosystems programme, reinforced by the European Innovation Council (EIC).
Data shows that only 15 % of innovative start-ups are founded or co-founded by women, and a mere 6% have all-women founding teams. These women-led businesses raise less venture capital than their male-only counterparts, including at the vital early-stage investments, and the amounts that they raise tend to be lower.
Across Europe only around 5 % of venture capital goes to mixed teams and only 2 % to all-female teams. Women TechEU addresses this innovation gender gap by supporting women-led deep tech start-ups at the early, riskiest stage. The scheme will offer financial support to women-led start-ups with grants of EUR 75000 and first-class coaching and mentoring through the EIC Women Leadership Programme. The EIC Accelerator programme also targets women-led start-ups, but the new Women TechEU scheme provides support at the earlier, formative stage of companies in order to increase the number of women launching their own start-ups.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Through Women TechEU, we want to increase the number of women-led start-ups and create a fairer and more prosperous European deep-tech ecosystem. We believe that today’s support to deep-tech female founders will increase their chances of success and boost the overall European innovation ecosystem by drawing in more female talent.” Up to 50 promising deep tech start-ups from EU Member States and Associated Countries will be funded under the first Women TechEU pilot call that will close on November 10, 2021.