The EIT’s mission is to empower innovators and entrepreneurs across Europe to turn their best ideas into products and services. The EIT is tasked with driving innovation and together with our Innovation Communities, we place a strong emphasis on education to train the entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders of tomorrow.
This is currently limited to the university level and we have noticed that that the participation of women entrepreneurs in EIT activities should increase. We want to change the low participation of women entrepreneurs across all EIT Community activities.
Underrepresentation of women in entrepreneurship, economic leadership and the technology sector is recognised as a significant problem globally.
Women constitute 52% of the total European population but only 34.4% of the EU self-employed and 30% of start-up entrepreneurs. Women are the largest untapped entrepreneurial and leadership potential in Europe. Only 5-15% of high-tech business is owned by women.
Although women are often early adopters of new technology, they are rarely at their inception. If technological developments are almost entirely conducted by men, then half of society is not represented in the development process. It is also widely admitted that a more diverse ecosystem leads to better products and services, grants access to new and different experiences, and significantly improves the work environment and company and talent productivity.
In addition, young girls’ interest and enthusiasm in digital entrepreneurship and leadership are often damaged over time by stereotyping, cultural discouragement, peer pressure, and lack of inspiration and role models resulting in a lack of confidence to engage with entrepreneurship, leadership and technology.
Our long-term objective is to empower women entrepreneurs and nurture women leaders by increasing the number of girls aged 12 to 18 interested in technology, innovation, digitalisation, entrepreneurship and leadership. Through this, the EIT will:
- Support a cooperation platform that implements women entrepreneurship & leadership activities;
- Expand and link our 2017 and 2018 activities and their success stories and lessons learned to interested partners, EIT Alumni, in our EIT Community activities, such as INNOVEIT, and also through EIT Innovation Communities' own women entrepreneurship & leadership activities;
- Disseminate success stories to encourage the empowerment of girls and women across Europe
EIT Woman Award
In 2018, the EIT introduced a new EIT Awards category for women innovators. The EIT Woman Award recognises the outstanding achievements of women entrepreneurs and leaders from our Innovation Communities.Sara Guimarães Gonçalves, Co-Founder of Trigger.Systems (supported by EIT InnoEnergy and EIT Food), won the 2019 EIT Woman Award for irrigation system that uses calculation models based on weather forecasts and plant conditions to save up to 40 per cent of water.
Activities for 2019
The following activities will take place in 2019:
Enhancing digital and entrepreneurship skills among girls
The European Commission, through the Digital Education Action Plan, supports technology-use and digital competence development in education. The EIT welcomes the adoption of the Digital Education Action Plan and plans to contribute to the implementation of its Action 8 Training in digital and entrepreneurial skills for girls.
- Promote positive role models and enhancing digital and entrepreneurship skills among girls that help to tackle the gender gap and boost female participation in science, technology and business
- Inspire female students to consider careers in technology, entrepreneurship and innovation
- Organise a series of workshops on digital and entrepreneurial skills throughout Europe for girls in primary and secondary education (up to 20 000 girls by the end of 2020), with a particular focus on EIT RIS countries. Related procurement information is available here while more information on the EIT involvement in this intiative can be found here
- Active participation in key Women Leadership and Entrepreneurship events across Europe.
- Participation and sharing of content with select online women leadership and entrepreneurship platforms
- The dissemination of profiles of 'Inspirational EIT Community Women Leaders and Entrepreneurs'
- Leverage Women Investors network at a European Level and connect them to EIT Innovation Communities and EIT Alumni investment dealflow
- The EIT Woman Award
- Support and promote the Women @ EIT initiative
Initiatives from the EIT's Innovation Communities
The empowerment of women entrepreneurs is an EIT Community wide objective. Each of the EIT's Innovation Communities are committed to increasing the number of women in innovation. For example:
- The EIT Alumni's Women@EIT initiative
- EIT Alumni's profiles of 'Inspirational EIT Community Women Leaders and Entrepreneurs'
- The CommUnity by InnoEnergy's Women 4 Tech event
- EIT Health's WE Health project
Throughout 2016 and 2017, the EIT organised a series of women entrepreneurship and leadership workshops, with the long-term aim of increasing the overall number of women innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs participating in the economy. In 2016, three workshops were held in October and November at Mozaik, Impact Hub and Kitchen Budapest, and a total of 16 speakers provided their insights over the three workshops.
Read about our some of our workshops below:
- EIT-JA Bulgaria seminars a success in Sofia
- EIT co-hosts women entrepreneurship workshop with JA Hungary
The future is digital. I encourage all young women to get involved Martin Kern, EIT Interim Director
Other EIT activities included:
- EIT-KEAN Digital Coding Workshop for girls - 2017
- EIT participation in Science on Stage' Debrecen 2017
- EIT joins panel discussion at #Switch! 2017
- EIT at the Female Founder Summit 2017
- Presenting the 2017 ADA Awards
- The EIT as a jury member for the Women Start-up Competition during Brain Bar Budapest. Read more here.
- The EIT supporting the expansion of the ‘Skool’ coding competition, ‘Scratch Meccs’, open to women coders in the CEE region, by joining the competition as a jury member in 2016 and 2017. Read more here.