Women with passion, ideas and answers to the challenges that the agrifood sector has to face for the society of the XXI century. That is what EIT Food is looking for, which is why today they have opened the programme Empowering Women in Agrifood (EWA), to be implemented in five countries.
The European consortium is aware of the obstacles that women have to overcome in this environment and seeks to revert the current statistics that show the difficulties they have when it comes to leading agrifood businesses: only 28% of the women in the sector are managers or have top-level responsibilities in agricultural and livestock farmsin the European Union. In addition, there is another reason: EIT Food has considered that, “as a result of the crisis caused by Covid-19, it is necessary to reinforce the support programmes for this group of women”, explains Begoña Pérez-Villareal, EIT Food director in the South of Europe.
This specific programme to reinforce female leadership wants to support women with ideas or startups in initial phases in the agrifood sector. It is aimed especially at rural areas with difficult access to other business incubation programmes or training. EIT Food has implemented it in Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Romania and Turkey.
The programme, which will be developed from July to December and will be entirely free, includes tailor-made online and face-to-face training (the final details will depend on the evolution of the Covid-19 health crisis). In addition, mentoring will be offered by female experts in business and agrifood as well as by other successful entrepreneurs. It will include both women that have an idea to materialize, and those who have already created a startup and are taking their first steps. The workshops, as well as the different actions, are driven by professional women.
The EWA programme also incorporates a remarkable financing section which will give access to prizes up to 10,000 euros at the end of the process and will also facilitate the link to other EIT Food programmes with access to finance.
The third aspect of the programme is the creation of a community through events and a network with over 100 female entrepreneurs and mentors in the sector, as well as access to contacts from diverse fields such as investment, technology, corporate or other contacts from the net of the European consortium. In order to register, it is necessary to go to EIT Food’s page.
EIT Food, the leading initiative in food innovation in Europe
EIT Food is the leading initiative in food innovation in Europe. It works to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trustworthy. The consortium is made up of more than 60 entities, including key industries, leading companies in this field, startups, research centres and universities from the whole of Europe. It is one of the eight innovation communities established by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an organisation which is independent of the EU and was created in 2008 to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
The headquarters of the south of Europe works with partners such as: Acesur, AIA, Angulas Aguinaga, AZTI, Caviro, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CSIC, AN Group, Granarolo, Hub Innovazione Trentino, Inalca, International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), Mondragon Corporation, PeakBridge, Strauss, Technion, UAM, UNITO, the University of Bologna and the Volcani Institute of Agricultural Research.