Finalists for this year's EU Prize for Women Innovators announced

Submitted by Imogen Allan on 25 October 2021

The opportunities created by novel technologies and innovations promise to deliver a fair and sustainable recovery for the EU. 

Despite the need for more female innovators, three quarters of start-ups in Europe are founded by men. The lack of diversity has resulted in few investments in female-led and managed companies.  

In this context, the EU Prize for Women Innovators celebrates the female entrepreneurs behind game-changing innovations. In doing so, the EU wants to raise awareness of the need for more women innovators and create role models for women and girls. 

The prize is funded by the EU’s Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation and is managed by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA). This year’s finalists are using their innovations across a wide range of industries to help tackle global challenges. 

21 female entrepreneurs working in Europe have been selected for the shortlist for the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2021.  

Speaking of the prize, Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Today, we celebrate the outstanding achievements of 21 women innovators. This exceptional group of women are making a significant contribution in their fields, and tackling society’s biggest challenges. By telling their story, we hope to inspire other women to engage with and realise their potential as future innovators.” 

17 candidates are competing for three prizes of €100,000 each in the ‘Women Innovators’ category. A further 3 candidates are competing for the ‘Rising Innovator’ title that recognises female entrepreneurial talent under the age of 30. The winners will be announced at the European Innovation Council Summit, taking place on 24-25 November 2021. 

The list of finalists for the Women Innovators category is as follows: 

  • Anita Finnegan (Ireland), co-founder and CEO of  Nova Leah, a company offering cybersecurity risk management solutions 

  • Asude Altıntaş (Turkey), co-founder and CEO of  Twin Science, a company improving children’s STEAM skills with physical and digital products 

  • Ciara Clancy (Ireland), founder and CEO of  Beats Therapeutics, a company developing technology solutions to tackle the mobility symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease 

  • Danaë Delbeke (Belgium), founder and CEO of  Indigo, a company designing innovative glucose monitoring solutions for people with diabetes 

  • Daphne Haim Langford (Israel), founder and CEO of  Tarsier Pharma, a company developing disruptive medical solutions for the treatment and cure of autoimmune and inflammatory ocular diseases 

  • Elena García Armada (Spain), founder and CEO of  MarsiBionics, a company designing innovative exoskeletons for personalised gait therapy 

  • Florence Gschwend (Switzerland/UK), co-founder and CTO of  Lixea, a company developing a sustainable and innovative biomass fractionation process using low-cost ionic liquids 

  • Keren Leshem (Israel), co-founder and CEO of  OCON Healthcare, a company developing an innovative intrauterine drug-delivery technology to improve women’s health and quality of life 

  • Lisa O’Donoghue (Ireland), founder and CEO of  Votechnik, a company providing automated recycling technology for safe and sustainable disposal of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) units 

  • Mathilde Jakobsen (Denmark), co-founder and CEO of  Fresh.Land, a digital platform that shortens and digitizes the food supply chain, providing easy access to good quality food 

  • Merel Boers (Netherlands), co-founder and CEO of  NICO-LAB, a company offering cutting-edge technology to help physicians improve emergency care 

  • Monika Haider (Austria), founder and CEO of  equalizent, a company offering education and training solutions for deaf and hard of hearing people 

  • Patricia Scanlon (Ireland), founder and Executive Chair of  Soapbox Labs, a company developing an innovative speech-recognition solution for children 

  • Rocío Arroyo (Spain), founder and CEO of  AMADIX, a company providing personalized medicine solutions for cancer diagnosis 

  • Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss (Austria/Germany), founder and CEO of  omni:us, a data-driven, AI platform that automates insurance claims 

  • Suzanne Moloney (Ireland), founder and CEO of  Hidramed Solutions, a company offering advanced wound care solutions for everyday care of chronic wounds 

  • Verónica Orvalho (Argentina/Portugal), founder and CEO of  Didimo, a technology platform for the fast creation of user-generated digital humans 

The finalists in the Rising Innovator category are: 

  • Ailbhe and Izzy Keane (Ireland), founders of  Izzy Wheels. Their company creates fashionable wheel covers for wheelchairs. 

  • Emna Everard (Belgium), founder and CEO of  Kazidomi, a healthy food e-commerce. 

  • Livia Ng (UK), founder and CEO of  Neuroute, a company that uses a no code AI programme to build digital patient recruitment strategies that improve the lives of patients and clinical innovators.

Find out more about the Prize and finalists here. 

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