EU Prize for Women Innovators 2020

The four winners of the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2020 were announced at the European Research and Innovation Days on 23 September 2020. The winners were chosen by a jury of independent experts, following an open call for applications. Over 200 applications were submitted this year, and 21 women were shortlisted for the final. This year’s winners are pioneering game-changing innovations across a wide range of industries and help combat global challenges. Updates on next year’s competition will be posted here.

News alert: EU Prize for Women Innovators 2020: And the winners are...

Watch the Ceremony

What is the prize?

It is a cash prize awarded every year to European women who founded a successful company and brought an innovation to market.

We award the prize to four incredible women entrepreneurs working to make the world a better place and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. The contest is open to women from across the EU and countries associated to Horizon 2020. Finalists are selected by a high-level jury of independent experts from across Europe, from business, venture capital, entrepreneurship and academia.

Three winners receive €100,000 each, and €50,000 is awarded to a Rising Innovator (an exceptional entrepreneur - age 35 or younger - at the beginning of her career).

Why is there a prize?

Even though there are more women than men in Europe, female entrepreneurs represent only a third of self-employed people in the EU, and only 30% of start-up entrepreneurs. This means that female creativity and entrepreneurial potential are a hugely under-exploited source of jobs and economic growth. The European Commission is working with EU countries to overcome the barriers to women entrepreneurship and encourage more women to start their own companies.

The EU prize for women innovators celebrates our inspiring female leaders in innovation. The award recognises women’s role in bringing game-changing innovations to market, and honours the outstanding achievements of female entrepreneurs running innovative companies. The award also seeks to raise awareness of the need for more female entrepreneurs, and create strong role models for women and girls.

Prize value

  • 3 prizes of €100,000 each
  • Rising Innovator (35 or younger): €50,000

The award also recognises a number of finalists specially acknowledged for their outstanding record as women entrepreneurs and innovators.

Who can apply?

The contest is open to women from across the EU and countries associated to Horizon 2020, who have

  • founded or co-founded a successful company and
  • brought innovation to market

Award criteria

  • breakthrough innovation – the company founded or co-founded by the contestant provides a truly innovative product or service
  • impact – the product or service addresses a specific societal need or challenge, with significant benefits to citizens and to the economy
  • inspiration – the contestant has shown active leadership, she has played a pivotal role in the success of the company and inspired others

Applications are judged by a panel of independent experts from across Europe.

How to apply

Applications must be submitted online, via the Funding and Tenders Portal. Applicants are invited to read the following documents before submitting their application.


  • 11 February 2020

    Start of application phase

  • 21 April 2020

    End of application phase

  • September 2020

    Winners’ announcement

Applications will be assessed during spring 2020 and the best candidates invited to a hearing with the jury.


For more information email

Past competition


Biographies of finalists of the 2020 competition.


Biographies of finalists of the 2019 competition.


Biographies of winners and finalists of the 2018 competition and award ceremony details.


Biographies of winners and finalists of the 2017 competition and award ceremony details.


Biographies of the winners for the 2016 competition and details of the award ceremony.

2014 and 2011

Biographies of the winners of the 2014 and 2011 competitions.