Women TechEU, the EU funding program for female founders in deeptech start-ups, is entering a new round. Find out how you can apply and what requirements must be met. The next application deadline is May 20, 2024.

#femaleempowerment, #femaleleadership or #femalefounded are no longer just new-fangled hashtags. There are now a large number of initiatives and programs that support women in taking on leadership positions and/or founding their own companies.


The challenge: too few female founders in the EU

Nevertheless, there are far fewer female founders than male founders in the European Union. According to the German Startup Monitor, only just under 21% of start-ups in Germany alone were registered by women last year. It is also statistically proven that female founders receive less venture capital than male founders, with around 5% of start-ups that completed a financing round in 2023 having an all-female founding team. In contrast, 77% of the venture capital invested went to start-ups with a male founding team.


Financing gaps and need for action for female founders

Overall, the number of start-ups founded by women has developed positively in Germany and the EU since 2019, but there is still a great need for action. According to the EY Startup Barometer, female founders generally receive less money on average (in the form of loans, grants, equity capital, etc.) than male founders. At 102 million euros, only 2 percent of the total financing volume (in Germany in 2023) went to female founders. Start-ups with an all-male founding team received far more financial support at almost 5 billion euros.


Women TechEU: support for women in deep tech innovations

Accordingly, the number of female founders in the field of cutting-edge technologies and deep tech innovations is much lower, with just under 15,000 female-led start-ups in this area in the EU.

The EU has also set itself the task of female empowerment and has put female founders of deeptech start-ups in the spotlight with its Women TechEU program. After a long break, the program is now entering another funding round. We have summarized all the key data and application requirements for you.


Who can apply for funding?

As the name of the Women TechEU funding program suggests, the EU's grant is aimed at highly innovative deep-tech start-ups with female founders or co-founders, i.e. the position of CEO, CTO, COO or a comparable C-level function must be held by a woman. At the time of application, at least 25 percent of the company shares should be held by one or more women. In addition, the start-up must be based in an EU member state or in a country associated under Horizon Europe. Furthermore, the company may not have been founded more than 8 years ago, whereby the minimum age for start-ups is six months (from publication of the call for funding).

An additional funding requirement is that the product development must be at an early stage and less than 1 million euros in equity must have been invested. Finally, the proposed project must not have been funded by another EU funding program in the past.

Infographic with questionnaire on Women TechEU

Quick Check: Find out whether you and your start-up are eligible for Women TechEU funding.


How much funding does Women TechEU provide?

The Women TechEU program has been confirmed by the EU for the next two years. The budget comprises 12 million euros. A total of 160 "female founded start-ups" will be supported, with each start-up receiving 75,000 euros. In addition, successful female applicants benefit from a business development program tailored to their individual needs, which includes mentoring, coaching and numerous events and workshops.

When are the application deadlines?

A total of four application deadlines are expected within the next two years. The first deadline for applications is 20 May 2024. Applications must be submitted online via the Women TechEU program website.

What documents are required?

The application procedure is a one-stage process, whereby the necessary documents must be submitted online via the program's website. In addition to information about the start-up, questions about the impact of the project, excellence and technology as well as the implementation of the project must be answered. The application document comprises a total of 10-15 A4 pages. A short motivational video (max. 3 minutes long), the CVs of the team and the founder as well as a pitch deck are also mandatory.

Which activities are supported?

You can decide for yourself how to use the Women TechEU funds. All activities that contribute to the sustainable development and growth of the company are eligible for funding. Possible activities include, for example:

  • Improvement of your business model
  • Updating and consolidating the business plan and growth strategy
  • Validation of the business model
  • Updating the financial plan
  • Certification, strategy development for intellectual property and freedom to operate
  • Analysis of the target market, validation of customers and technical/clinical evaluation
  • Search for partners and investors

Your application will be assessed by an independent jury. They will decide whether the proposed activities are suitable and necessary to promote the growth and development of your company.


Advice on the Women TechEU funding program

Are you interested in the program and would like to find out more? Feel free to contact us, book your free and non-binding consultation appointment now. The EurA team for EU funding will be happy to assist you throughout the entire application process.

Christina Tanosova

Your contact person
Christina Tanosova

Do you want to learn more about this topic? Schedule a meeting with an expert.

As a Grants Advisor, I support EurA's international funding team. During my studies of Political Science and International Relations, I was particularly interested in the funding and investment policies of the European Union. I have many years of professional experience and interdisciplinary knowledge in applying for, managing and implementing European and national funding projects. I will be happy to advise you on international funding opportunities and answer any questions you may have about your project. Let's go through your innovation process together, from the first idea to commercialisation!

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