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Women Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the EIT Alumni Community

The EIT Alumni Communiy is a diverse and vibrant community that is dedicated to promoting and supporting women leadership and increasing the number of women involved in entrepreneurial activities.

Under-representation of women in entrepreneurship, economic leadership and the technology sector is recognised as a significant problem globally. Women constitute 52% of the European population but only 30% of entrepreneurs and only 32% of economic leaders. Women are the largest untapped entrepreneurial and leadership potential in Europe.

    When it comes to the tech sector, women make up only approximately 15% of tech-sector jobs in the European Union, and at senior management and company board levels their participation is even lower with a few exceptions in certain European countries.

    One of the key activities of the EIT Alumni Community in 2017 is to help promote gender balance in entrepreneurial activities and education programmes.
    Currently the EIT Alumni Community is involved in three key initiatives in this field:

    1. Women@EIT events
    2. Profiles of Inspirational EIT Comunnity Women leaders and Entrepreneurs
    3. Supporting the EIT in its promotion and development of Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership activities
    4. Collaboration with EIT Health's WE Health project

    The students behind Women@EIT want to create a network that connects both female EIT students and Alumni members and gives them a sense of belonging. They intend to achieve this goal through organizing monthly events that give the attendees the opportunity to learn new technical skills to advance in their careers and get encouraged to start their own business in the future.
    On top of that, Women@EIT stands for promoting female role models, creating comfortable learning environments, female networking, raising awareness that inequalities between men and women still exist and trying to diminish them. Women@EIT is planned to be a cross-KIC initiative, which also creates a platform for sharing opportunities, events and ideas and is increasing the visibility of EIT among potential female applicants to EIT’s programs.

     
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    So far Women@EIT have held four events, each offering pitch training and workshops at various locations across Europe. If you want to get involved in upcoming Women@EIT events, join their Facebook group!

     

    Inspiring EIT Community Women Leaders and Entrepreneurs 

    The EIT Alumni Community has recently started publishing a series of profiles of 'inspirational women leaders and entrepreneurs from the EIT Community'.
    These profiles are designed to highlight some of the great and successful women in our community, to inspire a future generation of women entrepreneurs, and to create a buzz around the opportunities an entrepreneurial education can offer.
    Unfortunately, it is true that there is a gender imbalance in the field of entrepreneurship. We hope that these profiles will be one small step towards improving this!

    A full list of all our profiles is outlined below, in order of publication date.

    Isabel Hoffman
    CEO of Tellspec and member of EIT Food Rising Food Stars 

    Isabel is something of a serial entrepeneur, having successfully founded 8 companies in the fields of medicine, health care, technology, mobile health and education. She has won numerous awards and honours throughout her career, such as the Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year award,or the Ernst and Yound Entrepreneur of the Year award.
    In 2013, Isabel founded Tellspec, an EIT Food supported start-up that wants to build consumer trust in food by offering real time, non-destructive food analysis. Tellspec are a member of the EIT Food Rising Food Stars and were featured at INNOVEIT 2017.
    Click here to view her full interview with the EIT Alumni Community

    "The best thing about running a company is being able to freely innovate and take charge of the direction and strategy of your idea"

    Laura Soucek
    Co-founder of Peptomyc and EIT Health Alumna

    Laura is both an entrepreneur and a scientist working in cancer research. She has a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the University La Sapienza in Rome, and did her postdoc at the UCSF in the USA. In 2016 her start up Peptomyc was chosen as the prize winning team of the annual EIT Health Summit.
    Peptomyc have recently finished a highly successful Series A funding to the tune of 4.2 million euros. This will allow them to start industrial production and clinical trials with patients. Ultimately this innovative cancer therapy has the potential to save many lives.
    Click here to view her full interview with the EIT Alumni Community

    "Ghandi once said 'be the change you want to see with the world'. Lets start with that."

    Kate Hofman
    EIT Climate-KIC Alumna & Winner of the 2013 EIT Change Award

    Kate joined the EIT Community after taking part in the EIT Climate-KIC Summer School in 2011. During her time with EIT Climate-KIC she got the entrepreneurship bug. Swiftly, she met her business partner, quit her job and decided to co-found GrowUp Urban Farms.
    Growup Urban Farms now run the largest aquaponic farm in the UK and deliver to many major retailers and restaurants in London. In 2015, Kate was elected as a London Leader, a position reserved for the capital’s most exciting and innovative new leaders in sustainable business.
    Click here to read her full interview with the EIT Alumni Community

    "Build your emotional resilience and make sure you're working with a purpose that's going to create some greater good"

    Maria Boychenko
    Digital Industry Business Community Coordinator at EIT Digital

    During Maria's study of Information and Service management at the University of Aalto she became actively involved Finnish start-up eco-system. Her interest in this field led her to a position with EIT Digital, where she happily gets the chance to work with startups on a daily basis and organises a number of international events.
    In addition, Maria is also a project lead at Girls in Tech Helsinki, part of a global network which supports women in technology. Currenttly she is working on a mentoring programme that is designed to inspire, encourage and support young women in business and technology to achieve their goals.
    Click here to read her full interview with the EIT Alumni Community

    "Try things and don't be afraid to fail, every failure is a learning opportunity"

    Clementine Chambon
    EIT Climate-KIC Alumna and Co-Founder of Oorja

    Clementine is currently completing her EIT Climate-KIC PhD in Bioenergy at Imperial College London. In 2014 she took part in EIT Climate-KIC's summer school - The Journey, where she learned the ropes of climate entrepreneurship and met Amit Sarogi, her co-founder of Oorja: Empowering rural communities.  In 2016, Clementine was included in the Forbes 30 under 30 list of best young entrepreneurs, and the MIT Technology Review's list of Innovators under 35.
    Click here to read her full interview with the EIT Alumni Community.

    "Entrepreneurship is a steep learning curve for everyone; don't let your fear of failing hold you back."

    Silvia Francioso
    EIT InnoEnergy Alumna & Engineer for Energy Inclusion

    Silvia is an EIT InnoEnergy graduate with a real love of people and a desire to give back to the world community. She describes herself as an Engineer for Energy Inclusion, and was inspired to get involved in the 'Appropriate Technologies' concept after her time with Engineers without Borders. Currently Silvia is currently working with Devergy in Tanzania bringing solar power to rural communities.
    Click here to read her full interview with the EIT Alumni Community

    "Dont let anyone intimidate you, don't take shortcuts, and don't be afrad to compete with men on a professional level!"

    Florence Gschwend
    EIT Climate-KIC PhD Student & Founder of Chrysalix

    Florence is currently completing her EIT Climate-KIC supported PhD on the remediation of CCA-treated waste wood using iconic liquids at the Chemical Engineering department of Imperial College London. Her start-up Chrysalix, which is based on a process developed during her PhD was awarded 3rd prize in the Climate Launchpad finals 2016. This year she was included in the Forbes 30 under 30 list of best young entrepreneurs for 2017.
    Click here to read her full interview with the EIT Alumni Community

    "My advice would be to be bold and not worry too much. Great things happen when you come out of your comfort zone"

    Mina Mirzadeh
    Local CommUnity Manager, Leuven 

    Mina is a graduate of EIT InnoEnergy's Master programme in Energy for Smart Cities. Since September, Mina has been the Local CommUnity Manager for InnoEnergy in Leuven. She describes herself as an electrical engineeer by background, an Iranian by origin and an advocate of sustainability by inspiration.
    Click here to read her full interview with the EIT Alumni Community

    "The EIT InnoEnergy CommUnity is where I have found what I would call like-inspired souls with big dreams and even bigger motivations."

    Estefania Tapias 
    EIT Climate-KIC Alumna 

    Estefania is a graduate of the EIT Climate-KIC PhD programme and became an alumna in 2012. She has been an extremely active member, and has contributed greatly to the development of the EIT Alumni Community.
    She was elected President of the EIT Climate-KIC Alumni Association for the period 2015-2016, and then as President of the EIT Alumni board for 2016-2017.  
    Click here to read her full interview with the EIT Alumni Community 

    "The dynamics of the EIT Alumni Board have always been very empowering and open. We've helped each other to construct a long-lasting and dynamic community!"