At an award ceremony in Brussels, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas and MEP Eva Kaili announced the four winners of the 2018 EU Prize for Women Innovators, funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.
The winners of the 2018 EU Prize for Women Innovators are:
- 1st Prize (€100,000): Ms Gabriella Colucci (Italy), founder of Arterra Bioscience, a research-based biotech company focused on the discovery and production of active compounds for industrial applications, in particular cosmetics and agriculture.
- 2nd Prize (€50,000): Ms Alicia Asin Perez (Spain), co-founder and CEO of Libelium, a company in the hardware solutions market for the Internet of Things.
- 3rd Prize (€30,000): Ms Walburga Fröhlich (Austria), founder and CEO of atempo, a social business company that invented services and products that allow people with learning disabilities to enter the workforce as paid employees.
- Rising Innovator (€20,000): Ms Karen Dolva (Norway), co-founder of No Isolation, a company with the single purpose of creating tailored communications devices for groups that are socially isolated.
Commissioner Moedas said:
The four winners are truly inspiring women who developed ideas that succeeded in the market and at the same time improve the lives of people. I am happy that our prize recognised their outstanding achievement. But it also has another aim – to inspire future generations of women innovators. Women's participation and contribution to research and innovation is fundamental for Europe's growth.
All of today's winners have founded or co-founded a successful company based on their innovative ideas, and all have received EU research and innovation funding in the past.
The winners were chosen by a jury of independent experts following an open call for submissions in autumn 2017. The jury consisted of independent experts from business, venture capital, entrepreneurship and academia. 122 applications were submitted from across the EU and the countries associated to Horizon 2020, the EU's funding programme for research and innovation, which provides the prize money for the awards. 12 finalists were shortlisted for the award in January 2018.
The aim of the EU Prize for Women Innovators is to raise public awareness of the need for more innovation and more women entrepreneurs, to recognise the success of women in innovation and create strong role models. Women are underrepresented in terms of creating innovative enterprises – only 31% of entrepreneurs in the EU are women. This represents an untapped potential for Europe, which needs to use all its human resources to their full potential in order to remain competitive and to find solutions to economic and societal challenges.
This is the fifth edition of the contest, which began in 2011. To be eligible to compete, participants must have founded or co-founded a company before January 2016 with a turnover of at least €100,000, and either they themselves or their companies must have previously benefitted from public or private funding for research and innovation, whatever the source.
21 June 2018