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EWA- Empowering Women in Agrifood

EWA- Empowering Women in Agrifood

Training, mentoring, business coaching and networking opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the agrifood sector

The objective of this programme is to motivate early stage female entrepreneurs to harness their power, understand their innate ability to succeed and overcome any obstacles, equip them with the appropriate knowledge,confidence and networks to successfully start and develop sustainable businesses.

Up to 50 women entrepreneurs from countries with modest to moderate innovation rates (check countries here) will participate, during 6 months, in an educational programme tailored for female-specific challenges regarding entrepreneurship. After this training period, they will have the required knowledge, confidence and support to meet and exceed their aspirations, leading them to successfully start and develop sustainable businesses.


Why a project for women entrepreneurs?

Even though there are more women (52%) than men in Europe, female entrepreneurs represent only a third of the self-employed in the EU. Due to some different factors (such as reconciling business and family) entrepreneurship is currently a less attractive option for women than for men. This is worse when we move to rural areas and agrifood businesses according to the latest statistics published by the European Statiscal Office. In 2016, women accounted for 28% of the top positions in agricultural and livestock farms in the European Union, with a remarkable low rate amongst women from RIS regions.

Furthermore, the lack of representation of women in rural areas not only affects entrepreneurship, women face obstacles that prevent them from fully developing and choosing positions of responsibility in rural companies. Therefore, and specially in rural areas, female creavity and entrepreneurial potential are an under-exploited source of economic growth that should be further explored. The European Commission is working with EU countries to overcome these challenges and encourage more women to start their own companies.


  • Education: 6 months of tailor-made free online and presential trainings and access to resources to improve your skills.
  • Mentorship/Ongoing Support: Personalised mentoring, both online and face-to-face from experts in business, agrifood and successful entrepreneurs.
  • Community building: Participation in entrepreneurship and networking events with high-level stakeholders and direct access to over 100 mentors and female entrepreneurs within the agrifood ecosystem
  • Access to finance: Beneficiaries will have the chance to win up to 10,000 euros per country, discover other EIT Food programmes and access investors, business angels and corporatives to take their businesses to the next level.


  • Launch of the call for women entrepreneurs: Beginning of April
  • Selection of Women and their mentors: May
  • Start of the programme: June - Virtual Community alive!
  1. Matchmaking event : Early July
  2. Capacity building workshop: Mid September
  3. Networking and pitching competition: November


  • 50 women will be upskilled on how to start their agrifood business and be successful; receiving personalised mentoring, training and becoming part of the big EIT Food community.
  • Standardised tools and materials to educate females with entrepreneurial talent in RIS regions will be developed so that the programme can scale in future years.
  • Overcome the existing gender gap in the agrifood sector with a special impact in rural areas: promoting inclusivity and diversity between business founders, and increase female founded startups.


Women entrepreneurs in the agrifood sector from RIS regions. Further details about the elegibility criteria will be shared when the call is launched.


The call for applications is now closed. The date for 2020 application will follow soon.

Project team

Lara Rodríguez

EIT Food, CLC South


RIS Project Manager

Contact details

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