The EIT’s Women Leadership Award caught the eye of the EU Agencies Network (EUAN) for its promotion of outstanding women within the EIT Community – Europe’s largest innovation network.
The EUAN Diversity & Inclusion Awards, which took place this year on 27 October in Frankfurt, reward EU agencies for excellence as role models in diversity and inclusion.
After five editions, the EIT Women Leadership Award has proven itself as an inspiring promoter of women in business and tech. The EIT has built off the success of the award to go on to create gender-focused activities such as Supernovas and Girls Go Circular. The winners of the Award themselves testify it has changed their lives for the better.
The EIT brought home the top prize of the EUAN Diversity & Inclusion Awards, lauded by the host and the jury for its work making gender equity more than an internal goal but a part of its external outreach as well. EIT Director Martin Kern arrived onstage to accept the award in a spirit of deep appreciation for the women of the EIT Community.
I'm very honoured. Thank you very much to the jury and big thanks of course to the team at the EIT in Budapest who’ll be watching this. They are the ones who prepared this Women Leadership Award over the last few years and it indeed has been a very successful initiative. It should obviously not be me here receiving it but the women of the EIT Community. They have been very inspiring as innovators and mentors, helping other women work in technology and innovation. Only 15% of start-up founders are women and we want that to be 50%. Only when we are at that point will we not need this award anymore.
Martin Kern, EIT Director
The significant outreach that has taken place around the EIT Awards means word of the EIT Women Award winners has reached the eyes of millions of Europeans, helping advance the much-needed normalisation of women at the forefront of business and tech. And it helps empower women and girls, who can now find inspirational role models in leadership and innovator roles.
An Award that Helps Europe Move Towards Equity
The Women Leadership Award started in 2018 when members of the EIT Community voiced the need for greater visibility for women entrepreneurs. As gender equity is one of the EIT’s main goals, a visibility-boosting award highlighting inclusivity would help the EIT’s progress. This was especially important in the face of Europe’s growing gender gap in entrepreneurship, management, and technology sectors even as research was showing that diversity in these areas boosts their overall performance.
The EIT Women Leadership prize not only provides its winners with monetary rewards, coaching, and networking opportunities, it also makes them the stars of media campaigns to inspire more women to follow in their footsteps.
A New Horizon Coming Soon
The EIT and the European Innovation Council (EIC) have joined forces to take the Women Leadership Award to the next level. It is now a joint EIT-EIC prize – the European Prize for Women Innovators – which will reach an even larger community of women in business and tech. The partnership will also boost the prize’s publicity reach and its sustainability as a pro-inclusivity initiative. The Prize finalists will be announced at the EIT Summit in February and the winners will be declared at the EIC Summit in March.