Companies that have women in leading positions consistently perform better than companies that don't. However, innovative, techy and digital companies still excruciatingly lack women entrepreneurs. On 4 April, 33 innovative companies led by women and funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot met for an EIC Investor Day in Brussels to promote the access of women entrepreneurs to finance. In addition to panel discussions with investors and plenty of networking, 12 innovative companies got to pitch in front of investors. In addition, European Commissioner for Innovation Carlos Moedas announced the 13 finalists for the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2019, two of which are funded by the EIC.
Only 30% of enterpreneurs in Europe are women. “No matter what way you look at it, it poses a problem. Socially, yes, of course, this is a recipe for an unequal society. But how about economically? We know that start-ups founded or co-founded by women generate higher revenues than those by men, and we are missing out”, commented Commissioner Moedas. One of the EU's initiatives to encourage women to innovate and start their companies by promoting positive role-models is the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2019. The Commissioner announced the 13 finalists for the 2019 prize. Among the finalists are two women co-founders from the EIC backed companies: Nuria Espallargas, a co-founder of Seram Coatings, and Cécile Réal, co-founder and CTO of Endodiag.
Ambassador Luminita Odobescu, Permanent Representative of Romania to the European Union and a mother of two, stressed the importance of educating young boys towards a goal of gender balance. “Political actors and business support organisations need to support women entrepreneurs in access to credit, cut red tape and mainstream gender perspective in all EU policies”.
Gitte Pederson – a co-founder of Genomic Expression, emphasised the significance of networks among entrepreneurs: “It is important that women connect and help each other. You are trained so well in that first stage of the relationship, but since your investors are usually your partners, there is the whole other side to it which is all about getting to know each other”.
The event hosted 17 investors from the private sector and investors from the European Investment Bank.
The EIC Corporate Days link entrepreneurs with international companies to engage in open innovation towards new products, pilot projects and new business models. Since 2017, more than 400 companies funded under the SME Instrument, Fast Track to Innovation and FET Open participated in matchmaking events with large corporates across Europe.