Female entrepreneurs in the spotlight


There are more women than men in Europe, yet only 16% of European start-ups are founded or co-founded by women. The EU Prize for Women Innovators 2020 and the Female Innovator of year award provide a platform to recognise and celebrate the achievements of today's female entrepreneurs.



As part of its ambition to achieve gender parity, the European Commission launched the EU Prize for Women Innovators, funded by EU’s Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation. The program aims to create awareness of the need for more female entrepreneurs and create role models for women and girls. The prize is awarded every year to four talented women entrepreneurs from across the EU and Associated Countries, who have founded a successful company and brought innovation to market. Three winners each receive €100,000, with another €50,000 awarded to a Rising Innovator, aged 35 or younger.

This year’s 13 finalists include two Swiss start-up founders:

Madiha Derouazi, founder and CEO of Amal Therapeutics, in the main category. Last year Amal was acquired by Boehringer Ingelheim. The start-up was developing therapeutic cancer vaccines targeting intestinal cancer and brain tumours based on its technology platform. Before the acquisition, the start-up had raised €40 million in venture capital.

Stefanie Flueckiger-Mangual, co-founder and CEO of TOLREMO Therapeutics, in the category rising innovator. The startup is developing next-generation resistance-preventing combination therapies for cancer. Its proprietary drug discovery engine enables the identification of novel drug-resistance regulators and the development of small molecule therapies against the promising drug targets. The treatments will complement standard cancer therapies to offer better response rates, more prolonged survival and improved quality of life.

The winners of the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2020 will be announced at the European Research and Innovation Days taking place on 22-24 September 2020.

Female Innovator of the year 2020
Organised by the Female Ladies Drive, Female Innovator of the Year award takes place as part of the Female Innovation Forum, which offers female founders with a platform to share and exchange ideas and insights through themed workshops, keynotes and networking. This year’s finalists are:

The winner will be revealed and awarded during the award night on 27 August 2020.