The Women Startup Competition (WSC), celebrating female entrepreneurs and gender diverse companies is back, hosting 12 semi-final rounds across Europe.  

The competition was founded in order to give female entrepreneurs, and their team members, the opportunity to meet investors and gain recognition in an industry traditionally dominated by men.

This year, 12 semi-finals, consisting of two rounds, will be held all over Europe with the first event set to take place in Prague, Czech Republic on 6-7 February 2018. Startups which have founding teams made up of at least 50% females, have a female CEO or 50% females on the team are welcome to apply here

Applications will close one week before each semi-final.

In the first round applicants will be evaluated by an online jury consisting of serial entrepreneurs, mentors and leaders of innovation departments at some of the top 100 EU companies including IBM, Deloitte, Microsoft, AmCham and GE. 10-15 selected candidates will move into the second round where they will participate in a two day mini-bootcamp. Here startups will give a two minute pitch and in return receive feedback, advice and business opportunities from our industry expert panel.

The winners will then proceed into the final in London on September 15, 2018 where they will participate in a 5 day training and mentoring program, followed by a Demo Day event. Prizes include two years of mentoring, contact building and business aids from WSC Incubator, along with material prizes, like Macbooks and iPads. Participating startups will also benefit from sponsorship and PR opportunities.

In Europe, the ratio of female founded startups is below 27%, and women investors rate is under 7%. Furthermore, only $1.46 billion was invested in women-led companies last year, while male-led companies earned $58.2 billion in investment, according to M&A and venture capital database Pitchbook. 

Despite Portugal’s impressive list of incubators, tech groups and organisations supporting female entrepreneurs, women in startups remain the minority across the country. Furthermore, women who do hold leadership positions in Portuguese startups admit that they have “suffered gender discrimination” and given less opportunities than men, according to an article in dinheiro vivo.

WSC is therefore striving to change these figures and stigmas, by inspiring, educating and uniting female led, and gender balanced companies. Celebrating and promoting female led startups on a world stage may just help increase women participation in the entrepreneurial world. 

“We created this program to help encourage and support gender diverse startups to leave their marks in the industry” said Tamás Müller, Founder of Women Startup Competition, in a Press Release. “Our annual competition aims to make the startup journey for women less lonely, more connected, and more meaningful.”

The first semi-final in Prague will be held at Impact Hub Praha on the 6-7 of February. More information on tickets can be found here.

2018 Semi-final Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic – 6-7th of February

Cluj-Napoca, Romania – 16-17th of February

Vantaa, Finland – 9-10th March

Warsaw, Poland – 14-15th of March

London, UK – 6-7th of April

Vienna, Austria – 20-21st of April 

Budapest, Hungary – 27-28th of April

Padua, Italy – 11-12th of May

Moscow, Russia – 25-26th of May 

Berlin, Germany – 8-9th of June