Twelve successful women entrepreneurs who have brought their breakthrough ideas to the market have made it to the shortlist for the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2018, funded under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, announced the names on this year's International Women's Day at a meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality:
On this day, the world shouts about the importance of gender equality. For me, the battle must be won on many fronts. And two of our strongest tools to empower women are science and innovation. This is the true spirit of the EU Prize for Women Innovators.
Each finalist has founded or co-founded a successful company based on her innovative ideas. Nine of the outstanding women are in the running for three prizes in the main category, and three others for the Rising Innovators prize that recognises excellent female entrepreneurs under the age of 30.
The nine finalists in the main Women Innovators category are:
- Alicia ASÍN PÉREZ (ES), who co-founded the company Libelium in Zaragoza, which develops intelligent sensor technology for several applications.
- Rima BALANAŠKIENĖ (LT), who founded the company Aconitum in Kaunas, which develops and manufactures innovative herbal medicines and food supplements.
- Clare BRADLEY (UK), who founded the Health Psychology Research (HPR) group in London, which specialises in the development and use of Patient Reported Outcome Measures in international health-related research.
- Martine CAROFF (FR), who founded the company LPS-BioSciences in Paris, specialised in bacterial endotoxins for vaccines, in vitro diagnostic, cosmetics, and medical devices.
- Gabriella COLUCCI (IT), who founded the company Arterra in Naples, which discovers and produces active compounds for industrial applications, in particular cosmetics and agriculture.
- Walburga FRÖHLICH (AT), who co-founded the company atempo in Graz, which enables people with learning disabilities to join the labour market as paid employees.
- Maria-Pau GINEBRA (ES), who founded the company Mimetis in Barcelona, which designs and manufactures new synthetic biomaterials for bone regeneration and orthopaedic applications.
- María Luisa HERNÁNDEZ LATORRE (ES), who co-founded the company Ingelia in Valencia, based on a novel industrial technology that turns bio-waste into biomaterials.
- Séverine SIGRIST (FR), who founded the company Defymed in Strasbourg, which develops implantable bio-artificial medical devices.
The three candidates for the Rising Innovators award are:
- Karen DOLVA (NO), who co-founded the company No Isolation in Oslo, which creates tailored communications devices for groups that are socially isolated and lonely.
- Anna FISCALE (IT), who co-founded the QUID Project in Avesa, which produces clothing and accessories from waste and leftovers, and which employs disadvantaged people.
- Zoi GIAVRI (EL), who co-founded the company Advantis in Athens, which offers a web-based software suite for the processing of brain MRI exams.
The finalists were selected by a jury of independent experts from the fields of business, venture capital, entrepreneurship and academia. The Commission received 122 applications from across EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020. The companies created by the contestants are built around innovative ideas in a wide range of sectors, with health, biotech and social innovation being the most prominent ones.
Following the success of its first four editions in 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2017, applications to this year’s EU Prize for Women Innovators closed in November 2017. Three cash prizes of €100 000, €50 000 and €30 000 will be awarded in the main Women Innovators category and one prize of €20 000 will be awarded to the winner of the Rising Innovator Award. The winners will be announced later this year.
The aim of the Prize is to raise public awareness of the need for more innovation and more women entrepreneurs, and to recognise the success of women in innovation. Although women are increasingly active in research, there are still too few of them who create innovative enterprises. This represents an untapped potential for Europe, which needs to use all its human resources to their full potential to remain competitive and find solutions to economic and societal challenges.
- EU Prize for Women Innovators
- Gender equality in research and innovation
- Statistics on women entrepreneurs in Europe
- Horizon Magazine - Women in science
8 March 2018