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EU Prize for Women Innovators 2018

Awards to International Women Entrepreneurs for
Bringing Outstanding Innovations to Market

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European Commission

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Awards to International women entrepreneurs who have brought outstanding innovations to the marketplace. Eligible entrepreneurs are located in the European Union, or one of the following Horizon 2020 countries: Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Moldova, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Tunisia, Georgia, and Armenia. Cash prizes will be awarded to the most innovative entrants.

Objectives Pursued:

Europe urgently needs more innovators to stay competitive in the coming decades and to spur economic growth. The large number of well-educated women who, for various reasons, including lack of awareness or obstacles to maintain a work-life balance, do not consider entrepreneurship as an option, represents a tremendous untapped pool of innovation.

Awards have a strong potential to drive innovation through the recognition of achievements and the promotion of role models. Therefore, the European Commission through this prize would like to encourage women, currently underrepresented among entrepreneurs and innovators, to better exploit the commercial and business opportunities.

After the success of the forerunners of the contest in 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2017, the Commission intends to continue its drive to increase public awareness of this issue, address the gender gap in entrepreneurship and spotlight women entrepreneurs who have brought outstanding innovations to the market. The Commission plans to award up to three "EU Prize for Women Innovators" and one "Rising Innovator Award" following a European-wide contest.

The prizes are addressed to women who have founded or co-founded a company and who themselves or their company have benefitted from funding related to research and/or innovation. The prizes will not reward innovation proposed for the future, but outstanding achievements that have been already accomplished by the participant.

Expected Results:

Although women are more and more active in research, there are still too few women creating innovative enterprises. This represents an untapped potential for Europe which needs all resources to remain competitive and find solutions to societal challenges. The prizes will boost the public awareness of the potential, importance, and contribution of women researchers to entrepreneurship and will encourage entrepreneurial women to become innovators. This will help to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Award Criteria:

All eligible applications will be evaluated by a High level jury. The prize will be awarded, after closure of the contest, to the contestant(s) who in the opinion of the jury best addresses the following cumulative criteria:

1. The originality and marketability of the developed product or service provided by the company of the contestant. Applications will be compared according to e.g. the number of patents/co-patents and trademarks.

2. The economic impact - The economic impact of a product or service of the company for Europe is measured by the number of countries (inside and outside the EU) where the product or service is sold, and by the size of the turnover achieved with this service or product in 2015 and 2016.

3. The societal impact - the societal impact of a product or service of the company for Europe. It will be measured by the number of jobs created and the potential of the service or product to help Europe in addressing societal challenges e.g. the aging of the European population, global warming, clean water, renewable energy and resource efficiency.

4. The impact and leadership role of the contestant. Contestants must explain how their role in the company influenced the success of the company and contestants should outline their potential to empower other women to be leaders and entrepreneurs.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 160966

Number of Grants:

Four cash prizes will be awarded.

Estimated Size of Grant:

-First Prize: €100,000
-Second Prize: €50,000
-Third Prize: €30,000
-Rising Innovator: €20,000

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The contest is open to women across the EU (or country associated to Horizon 2020) who have:
-Founded a successful company and brought innovation to market
-Benefitted from R&I funding from the public or private sector

As of January 1, 2017, the following countries are associated to Horizon 2020:
-Bosnia and Herzegovina
-The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
-Faroe Islands

Participants for the "EU Prize for Women Innovators 2018" have to comply with the following eligibility criteria to participate:

1. The participant must be a woman. For Rising Innovator Award following applies: The participant must be a woman born as of January 1, 1987.

2. The participant must be an ordinary resident in an EU Member State or a country associated to Horizon 2020.

3. The participant must be the founder or co-founder of an existing and active company which was registered before January 1, 2016.

4. The annual turnover of the company was at least EUR 100,000 in 2015 or 2016 (EUR 50,000 for the category Rising Innovator).

5. Either the participant as a natural person or the company founded/co-founded by the candidate have received or is receiving European or national funding for Research and Innovation or bank funding or alternative sources of financing such as private equity, venture capital, crowd funding through platforms or business angels

Please note, however, that special rules may apply for entities from certain countries (see General Annex C to the Main Work Programme).

Please also be aware that participants that have already received an EU or Euratom prize cannot receive a second prize for the same activities.

Participants will be excluded if they (or one of them):
-Are subject to an administrative sanction (i.e. exclusion)
-Are in one of the following situations:
-Bankrupt, being wound up, having their affairs administered by the courts, entered into an arrangement with creditors, suspended business activities or subject to any other similar proceedings or procedures under national law (including persons with unlimited liability for the participant's debts)
-Declared in breach of social security or tax obligations by a final judgment or decision (including persons with unlimited liability for the participant's debts)
-Found guilty of grave professional misconduct by a final judgment or decision (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control)
-Convicted of fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organization, money laundering, terrorism-related crimes (including terrorism financing), child labour or human trafficking (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control)
-Shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations under a procurement contract, grant agreement or grant decision financed by the EU or Euratom budget (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control)
-Found guilty of irregularities within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Regulation No 2988/95 (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control)
-Have misrepresented information required for participating in the contest or fail to submit such information
-Were involved in the preparation of the prize documents and this entails a distortion of competition.

Pre-Application Information:

The contest opens September 5, 2017. The deadline for submissions is November 15, 2017.

The 12 best applications will be invited in January 2018 for a hearing with the jury.

On the basis of the evaluation by the jury, the Commission will decide on the award of the prize. All participants will be informed in the 1st quarter of 2018 about the outcome of the contest.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

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Geographic Focus:


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.