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EIC Women Leadership Programme

EIC Women Leadership Programme



To support the role of women in innovation and tech, the European Innovation Council (EIC), in partnership with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), offers a skills enhancement and networking programme for women researchers and entrepreneurs, the Women Leadership Programme (WLP).   

The programme is open to female researchers, aspiring female leaders and entrepreneurs from the EIC and EIT Communities.  Each cohort consists of both virtual and in-person training sessions, led by high-profile experienced trainers who challenge participants’ leadership approaches with inspiring case studies and use participatory approaches to encourage active engagement. Participants benefit from individual coaching and personal mentoring. Through dedicated networking events, they also engage with peers and inspiring role models. 

Implementing partners 

Logos of Female Founders and Impact Hub

Who is eligible to participate?

The EIC Women Leadership Programme offers recurring cohorts aimed at participants from both EIC and EIT beneficiary groups:

  • Aspiring female leaders seeking to enhance their skills and broaden their professional connections.
  • Female researchers engaged in research endeavours with ambitions to spearhead the transformation of their research initiatives into successful businesses.

The 5th WLP cohort, starting in April 2024, is specifically designed for female researchers and aspiring female leaders open to EIC beneficiary groups.  In addition, one more WLP cohort will be launched at the end of 2024, with a focus on female (co-)founders and leaders in C-Suite positions. Eligible candidates can apply to open calls launched on the EIC Community (see further details below). 


What does the programme offer?

Participants will benefit from a tailored programme following a needs assessment, including specific training sessions with interactive exercises and discussions, networking events, personalised mentorship, and business-coaching schemes:


Participants have access to training sessions on topics such as negotiation, pitching, leadership styles, marketing, and public speaking, that address the participants needs. The trainings take place during business days, with a duration of 2 hours each. Sessions are led by experts from the industry and are designed to be interactive, offering hands-on exercises and case studies to help participants put their leadership skills into practice.


Dedicated networking events take place throughout the programme to increase the participants’ network and heighten their visibility with key stakeholders in the European innovation ecosystem. During the training sessions, keynote speakers provide testimonials and facilitate networking moments. WLP fosters and promotes the exchange of experiences between its cohort participants and provides speed-dating activities with mentors.

Personal Mentoring and Business Coaching

The mentors, ranging from experienced CEOs and investors to serial entrepreneurs, are matched with participants based on career challenges faced by the participant. Participants meet with their mentors on a regular basis to receive support on their career goals and challenges.

In addition, participants can work with an expert EIC business coach. These experts support participants with business related goals and challenges, such as identifying new business opportunities. 


Alumni Group

Participants of the programme are invited to join an exclusive alumni group on the EIC Community Platform, facilitating ongoing communication with fellow participants. This platform serves as a hub for networking, sharing events, and staying updated on relevant news within the community.


EIC WLP 5th Cohort for female researchers and aspiring female leaders - timeline

April- June 2024  Training sessions and networking activities, online or in person (TBC) 
June 2024  Closing Ceremony 


Please check the Open Calls & Upcoming Events page. 


Upcoming cohorts

Not ready just yet? Check the timeline for the upcoming cohort focused on female (co-)founders and leaders in C-Suite positions.

The programme is confirmed to continue in 2025. More information on the cohorts and their timing will come soon.


September 2024 Application period opens
October 2024 Start of activities
December 2024 End of the cohort



Joana Simões Correia, Executive Director and CSO at Exogenus Therapeutics:

The EIC Women Leadership Programme was all about self-confidence and empowerment.

Alessandra Balduini, Professor and principal Investigation at SilkFusion:

The EIC Women Leadership Programme had a great impact on my career. As a scientist, I learnt about business and how to direct my science, my research, in that sense


Learn more



What skills will I obtain during the programme?  

The programme offers a catalogue of profile-based and tailored journey of training sessions for participants, for example, how to develop your personal leadership and brand, scout and negotiate with partners, pitch in front of investors, increase sale skills and other key topics for innovators to thrive. The skills will be further developed during the exchanges with personal mentors and business coaches.  

How does the Women Leadership Programme Coaching scheme work?   

Each WLP participant works with a Business coach, who helps participants discover innovation opportunities and provide insight in their entrepreneurship potential and improve their business plans, implementation strategies and the market entry. Participants are entitled to 3 days of business coaching spread during the duration of the cohort.  

What will I gain during the Women Leadership Programme Mentorship Scheme?  

Each WLP participant has the opportunity to work with a Mentor – experienced entrepreneur, investors, innovator or senior manager who shares his or her extensive managerial experience and provide access to their diverse professional networks. Mentors help participants define their career path, overcome the existing career challenges and set the next steps. Each participant is able to select his best matching Mentor based on her needs from a pool of more than 200 qualified mentors from across the EU and beyond.  

Find all the answers on the EIC Women Leadership Programme in the FAQ.


Contact us 

For additional information, please refer to our Helpdesk service (please choose 'EIC Women Leadership Programme' as the subject).