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Research and innovation
News article8 March 2021Directorate-General for Research and Innovation1 min read

EU to launch new support scheme for women in deep tech and call for mentors

Today, on International Women’s Day, the Commission announced a new initiative called ‘Women TechEU’ to support women leading deep tech start-ups in Europe, and help grow their companies into tomorrow’s deep tech champions.

‘Women TechEU’ will offer first-class coaching and mentoring to female CEOs and founders, as well as targeted funding to help take their business to the next level. It is funded under the European Innovation Ecosystems work programme of Horizon Europe.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

I hope to see more women-led tech start-ups and women in senior tech positions in Europe in the years to come. Through WomenTechEU, we are offering a dedicated mentoring programme to help women break down barriers to success

On this occasion, Commissioner Gabriel launched a call for mentors to provide coaching and mentoring for the women selected under the ‘Women TechEU’ scheme. The call is part of the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Women Leadership Programme. The Commission is looking for women and men in leadership positions, experienced entrepreneurs, investors, tech experts, researchers and innovators.

The pilot scheme will be launched at the European Research and Innovation Days on 23-24 June 2021. This will support a first cohort of up to 50 promising deep tech start-ups from EU Member States and Associated Countries.


Deep tech accounts for over a quarter of Europe’s start-up ecosystem, with European deep tech companies now valued at a combined €700 billion and counting. However, women remain largely underrepresented across this industry.

Founded on innovation in engineering and advances in science, deep tech start-ups tend to have longer R&D cycles, and often take more time and capital to build than other start-ups. Most could fail in their first years if they do not receive the right support and investment early on. Women in deep tech often face the additional hurdle of gender bias and stereotypes, particularly prevalent in sectors like technology.

Achieving a Union of Equality that promotes gender equality in all spheres of life, is one of the major priorities of the European Commission. The Commission is working with Member States and Associated Countries to promote female leadership and close the gender gap in technology and innovation.

More information

Open Call - EIC Women Leadership Programme: call for mentors

Gender equality in research and innovation


Publication date
8 March 2021
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation