European Commission opens €175k contest targeting women innovators

16 Apr 2013

The 2011 Women Innovators Prize winner Ilaria Rosso; European Commission president José Manuel Barroso; winners Dr Gitte Neubauer and Fabienne Hermitte; European Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn; and European Commission vice-president Antonio Tajani

The European Commission has launched the latest edition of its Women Innovators Prize to reward female entrepreneurs who have come up with new innovations and brought them to market. A €175,000 prize fund will be divided amongst the three eventual winners.

According to the Commission, the goal of the contest is to raise awareness of the need for more female entrepreneurs and to inspire other women to take the leap into self-employment. The three winners will avail of a first prize worth €100,000, a second prize of €50,000 and a third prize to the value of €25,000.

The contest will be open to women who have founded or co-founded a company and who have at some point in their careers received support from the EU’s research framework programmes or the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).

The Women Innovators Prize was first launched in 2011 to publicly recognise outstanding women entrepreneurs who have brought their innovations to the marketplace. 

The winner of the first prize was Dr Gitte Neubauer, the co-founder of the German drug discovery company Cellzome. The company centres on the discovery of novel drug candidates to treat inflammatory diseases like Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Cellzome has recently been acquired by GlaxoSmithKline.

Fabienne Hermitte, the co-founder of the French healthcare diagnostics company Ipsogen, won second prize. Around since 2003, Ipsogen develops and commercialises diagnostic products to offer more individualised treatments for cancer patients.

Meanwhile, third prize went to Ilaria Rosso, the co-founder of the Turin, Italy-based Electro Power Systems. The company claims to have developed the first self-recharging hydrogen fuel cell system for backup power.

Entrepreneurs have until 15 October to apply for the next Women Innovators Prize. Following the deadline, an independent panel of judges from business and academia will select the three winners who will be announced in early 2014.

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s year-long campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic