The European Commission has announced the results of the second round Women TechEU — a program designed to help deep tech startups founded by women scale.
The round that has a budget of €10 million, saw applications from 467 deep tech startups founded by women from across Europe, of which 134 were selected to participate. It builds on a successful one pilot in 2021 with 50 startups.
The startups selected for the second round will each receive individual funding from €75,000. TThe founders are also offered mentoring and coaching within the framework of the European Innovation Council (EIC). Program for women leadersand get access to networking opportunities in the EU.
The startups are active in 16 different deep tech sectors and have developed Solutions ranging from new medicines and carbon capture technologies to digital learning and autonomous robotics.
Sweden is resident among the participants norbitthat uses insects to recycle plastic waste, based in the Netherlands Agurotechthat digitizes agriculture using AI and is based in Lithuania Inobiostarwhich has developed a waste paper-based material for removing oil spills.
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“By combining innovative ideas, female entrepreneurship and excellent research and development, this year’s companies selected for WomenTechEU will contribute to improving the quality of life of citizens in the EU and beyond”, called the European Innovation Council.
Deep tech accounts for over a quarter of the European startup ecosystem with European deep tech companies estimated to a total of 700 billion euros in 2021.
Yet women remain chronic underrepresented: last year Only 3% of VC funding in the European deep tech space went to startups founded by women.
These injustices are pervasive across the industry, but are amplified in the deep tech sector. Deep tech startups tend to have longer R&D cycles and require higher capital expenditures than traditional startups, making them more balanced heavier for women-led and women-founded teams.
Not only is this bad practice, it’s also bad for business. According to consulting firm McKinseyThe European tech ecosystem will only remain competitive if it manages to attract and retain more female talent.
And investors seem to agree: “Diversity of thought, opinion and creativity is essential for our deep tech ecosystem to thrive,” said Christina Franzeskides, a deep tech investor at Lakestar, in 2023 European Deep Tech Report.
“To that end, we must strive for inclusion across all backgrounds and genders, so that the space can reach its full potential,” she added.
The European Commission believes that the right early support and investment of female-founded startups can help bridge the deep tech gender gap and strengthen the ecosystem as a whole.
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