Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership

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 boosting innovation through the integration of the knowledge triangle: business, research and academia.

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; the participation of women entrepreneurs in EIT start-ups, the EIT Awards and Innovation Communities management has also been limited.

The women entrepreneurs of the EIT Community have scored considerable success. Finalists in the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2017, winner of the Rising Star category of the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2017, and named on the Forbes Europe 30 under 30 lists.

Underrepresentation of women in entrepreneurship, economic leadership and the technology sector is recognised as a significant problem globally. Women constitute 52% of the European population but only 30% of entrepreneurs and only 32% of economic leaders. Women are the largest untapped entrepreneurial and leadership potential in Europe. When it comes to the tech sector, women make up only approximately 15% of tech-sector jobs in the European Union, and at senior management and company board levels their participation is even lower with a few exceptions in certain European countries.

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


Activities for 2018

In 2018, the EIT plans to further expand its activities in the field of women entrepreneurship and build on success stories and lessons learned from 2016 and 2017. A key aspect of our 2018 activities will be the training of female students aged 12- 18 through a series of workshops and seminars. 

A new addition for 2018 is the inclusion of an EIT Women award in INNOVEIT 2018, the EIT's flagship annual event. Alongside our interviews with 'inspirational women entrepreneurs from the EIT Community' our goal for this new award is to highlight and recognise some of the most inspirational women leaders and entrepreneurs from the EIT Community, with the hope of inspiring younger generations to also consider a career in entrepreneurship.

The following activities will take place in 2018:

  • Inspirational and entrepreneurial education workshops for 12-18 years old female students 
    • To be held on a European scale with a prevalence on RIS countries and EU candidate countries
  • Active participation in key Women Leadership and Entrepreneurship events across Europe.
  • Leverage Women Investors network at a European Level and connect them to EIT Innovation Communities and EIT Alumni investment dealflow
  • Support and further 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:

                         Women @ EIT

WE Health
                                                  WE Health









Previous activities

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.

In 2017 the EIT, with the support of Ernst & Young (EY), and Junior Achievement expanded these workshops into other RIS countries. Namely: Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovakia, and Romania.

Read about our some of our workshops below:

'The future is digital. I encourage all young women to get involved.' Martin Kern, EIT Interim Director

Other EIT activities included: