Foto: iStock_aquaArts studio

EEN2EIC - Funding for Female Tech Entrepreneurs

Even as the number of women in STEM continues to grow, there remains a significant disparity in the number of female tech founders in Europe. In Germany, only 20% of all tech founders are women, and they account for less than 5% of all VC deals in Europe. The EU’s new initiative, EEN2EIC, aims to close this gap by providing valuable support to female founders looking to apply for the EIC accelerator. 

The EIC Accelerator is the EU’s premier funding program for innovative start-ups and SMEs. Successful applicants can benefit with up to €2.5 Million of equity-free grant funding, and up to €15 Million equity investment, presenting a golden ticket for Europe’s most promising innovators to bring their disruptive technologies to the market and rapidly scale their business.  

With an extensive proposal procedure, high level of competition, and complicated financial arrangements, approaching the EIC Accelerator alone is a daunting prospect for many companies, but fear not! NRW.Europa’s experienced and neutral funding advice team is ready to help you with your application.  


- You have an innovative, game changing product, service or business model that could create new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and even worldwide.
- Your product has reached at least TRL 5 and can reach TRL 8 within the next 24 months.
- Your business has the potential to scale up and you are committed to doing so.
- You need substantial funding to reach market readiness, but the risks involved are too high for private investors alone to invest. 
- Your product has a strong European dimension and contributes to European strategic goals.
- Your company has a woman in the founding team or in a leading role within the company.
- You are located in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Your Opportunity

- Grant financing up to €2.5 Million with a 70% funding rate to reach TRL 8 within 24 months.

- Equity investment up to €15 Million to support market deployment and upscaling (TRL 9) within a 7-10 year timeframe

- Apply for tailored financial support depending on your specific needs:

  • Grant-only funding, for companies aiming to reach TRL 8 and continue further development without EIC support. 

  • Grant-first funding, for companies aiming to reach TRL 8 in their project, with the possibility to apply for dilutive investment at a later stage. 

  • Blended Finance, incorporating both grant and investment funding to cover innovation activities and market deployment in a single effort. 

  • Investment only, for mid-caps and companies that have already received grant-only funding.

Thematic Focus 

The EIC Accelerator is open to any thematic topic and any field of technology through its open call.

Additional budget is allocated for a number of EIC Accelerator Challenges: 

  • Novel biomarker-based assays to guide personalised cancer treatment 
  • Aerosol and surface decontamination for pandemic management 
  • Energy storage 
  • New European Bauhaus and Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector digitalisation for decarbonisation. 
  • Emerging semiconductor or quantum technology components 
  • Novel technologies for resilient agriculture 
  • Customer-driven, innovative space technologies and services 

Application Process

Available Support 

Our experienced team of funding advisors can support you throughout the application process with cost-free, direct advisory services, starting with:

- Introductory workshop:

  • Overview of programme requirements.
  • Definition of project scope and suitable financing structure 
  • Identification and formulation of Europe-centric aspects, technical risks, and business roadmap. 
  • Tips & coaching on the phase 1 application (short proposal), the written questions as well as the pitch deck and pitch video.

- Feedback/clarification of questions/tactical issues.
- Review of the draft short proposal. 

If the first phase application is successful: 

- Proposal workshop for phase 2 (full proposal).
- Joint editing and suggestions for the proposal.
- Jury interview training and practice sessions. 

Are you Europe’s next deep-tech unicorn? Then reach out to us to get started on this unique opportunity! 


Marcus Collier-Wright
ZENIT GmbH / Enterprise Europe Network
for Nordrhein-Westfalen NRW.Europa
Phone: 0208 30004-54

Further Information and Links:

EIC Accelerator Website

EIC Accelerator Challenges

EIC Work Programme

Application Portal

Disclaimer: This support is funded by the EEN2EIC Project, Horizon Europe Grant Agreement 101075818, which is part of the European Innovation Council, and by the Enterprise Europe Network. The level of support available is limited to the advisory services listed above and comparable actions.