The Future is Female in Europe’s Largest Innovation Ecosystem

The Future is Female in Europe’s Largest Innovation Ecosystem

Supporting female innovators is one of the founding principles of the EIT Community, Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem, and this is no different in the case of the EIT Jumpstarter pre-accelerator. We are proud to present the growing number of women entrepreneurs applying and, ultimately, winning some of the different categories of our programme. In 2023, two female-led start-ups dominated the competition in their categories and took home first prize.

The EIT Jumpstarter’s mission is to strengthen the culture of entrepreneurship, support start-up creation and build a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem. For this reason, it is especially important for us to encourage female innovators to apply to our pre-accelerator programme, and we are happy to acknowledge that the number of women entrepreneurs has been steadily increasing throughout the years. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of female applicants was hovering around 30, however, from 2022, it first tripled to 102, and this year, it peaked at 201.

The relative number of women applicants also grew compared to the number of men. In 2023, female innovators made up 31% of applicants, and we are determined to continue engaging with women entrepreneurs until we reach an even 50-50 split.

In 2023, 157 male- and 68 female-led teams were selected to participate in the EIT Jumpstarter programme. From these, 7 female- and 20 male-led teams made it onto the podium, and 2 female-led teams won the first prize: the Portuguese start-up, Seenergy clinched victory in the New European Bauhaus category, while the Latvian start-up, WatchBuilt triumphed in the EIT Digital category.


The Portuguese start-up integrates generative energy systems into everyday furniture and household items. In line with the New European Bauhaus principles of aesthetics, sustainability and inclusivity, Seenergy blends design and technology to create visually appealing products that also reduce the carbon footprints of their owners. Within the EIT Jumpstarter programme, the team developed their business concept from ideation to the prototyping and testing phase.

“The award is a tremendous milestone, symbolising the collective dedication and success of our team. It validates our path and also opens doors for strategic partnerships, amplifying our start-up’s trajectory towards further growth and impact. The EIT Jumpstarter has been instrumental in forging connections and refining our project through invaluable mentor feedback. Key learnings include the power of collaboration and the pivotal role effective communication plays in garnering support for our start-up, shaping it into a more resilient and promising venture.” – said Seenergy representative Rita Gomes.

The next pivotal step on their path is transitioning into production and commercialisation, capitalising on the recognition and momentum gained from the EIT Jumpstarter programme.


The Latvian start-up, WatchBuilt develops an innovative tool for medium to large construction companies to capture real-time data from construction sites, extract AI-generated reports, and compare initial plans against actual execution. Their system ensures the timely completion of projects and minimises costly errors.

“The award received means a lot. It is a recognition of what we do and additional funding for our demo device development that will help us move forward. In the EIT Jumpstarter programme, I met incredibly talented people from the organising team, our mentors and our peers. I gained important learnings and put our business plan together in a reasonable number of pages to make it relevant and readable. As for the next steps, we are launching the demo device that we will be testing with our potential clients.” – said WatchBuilt representative Aija Hermane-Sabule.