Two Irish women entrepreneurs win EU Prize for Women Innovators
8th December 2022
The European Commission has announced that two talented and inspiring Irish women entrepreneurs are winners in the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2022. Dr Ciara Clancy, founder and CEO of Beats Medical, has won in the Women Innovators category while Niamh Donnelly, co-founder and CRO of Akara Robotics, won in the Rising Innovators category. The competition celebrates the women responsible for Europe’s most groundbreaking innovations, from tackling climate change to treating the world’s deadliest diseases.
The overall six winners in the two categories from Ireland, Spain, France, Bulgaria and Portugal were announced at the European Innovation Council (EIC) Summit in Brussels yesterday, Wednesday 7 December. The three winners in the Women Innovators category will receive prizes of €100,000 each while the three winners in the Rising Innovators category will each receive €50,000.
This is the second year in a row that Ireland has won in the Rising Innovator category which recognises promising emerging innovators under the age of 35. Last year, Ireland’s Ailbhe and Izzy Keane of Izzy Wheels won the award and a third of the entrepreneurs nominated for the finals were from Ireland.
The competition is funded by the EU’s Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation and managed by the European Innovation Council (EIC) and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA). Enterprise Ireland leads the Horizon Europe National Support Network which aims to secure as much Irish engagement with this funding programme as possible.
The prizes were announced by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, during the EIC's two-day summit in Brussels.
Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy said: “This is great news for Ireland and reflects the notable rise of our women entrepreneurs in the start-up sector in this country. There were 14 finalists shortlisted for the six prizes, two of which were from Ireland. Both Dr Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical and Niamh Donnelly of Akara Robotics went on to win the overall prizes highlighting the international competitiveness and recognition of the calibre of women entrepreneurs emerging from Ireland. Enterprise Ireland continues to support and promote Irish women entrepreneurs with the aim of growing our talent pool while helping them to scale their businesses and ultimately create jobs. Overall, Ireland has enjoyed considerable success in EIC funding under the Horizon Europe programme with 15 Irish SMEs approved €86m in the last two years.”
For further information, read the European Innovation Council Statement.