NEWS - 2024/03/08

Empowering Tech Women to Drive Innovation Forward

4YFN - Mediterranean Women Leading the Way: Hubs, Funding, and a Comparative Advantage

Inspired by the 4YFN panel “Mediterranean Women Leading the Way: Hubs, Funding, and a Comparative Advantage”, in this article, we explore how women are harnessing their potential to drive progress and prosperity in the innovation field. To boost their potential, in recent years, there has been a growing effort to recognize the essential role that women play in shaping the tech industry. From funding disruptive startups to policymakers in our governments, women are increasingly taking a more visible role as leaders, entrepreneurs, and, in conclusion, change-makers.

One of the key pillars of women’s empowerment, not only in the Mediterranean but globally, is the establishment of support networks. Focusing on Barcelona, community assistance plays a crucial part in boosting the role of women in the tech industry, where they receive lots of support to exist more comfortably in male-dominated spaces.

If we keep discussing collaboration, a key aspect in this city that serves as a strong tech hub, it is important to highlight the existing quadruple helix model. In the third helix mode, companies, universities, and governments are considered as each helix piece, interconnected to each other. If we take one step forward another actor comes into play: the society. Citizen participation is key when developing new solutions that tackle the existing challenges.

Establishing collaborations is very important, especially because it develops into funding opportunities, a critical part of the process of building a company. Access to funding remains a significant barrier for women entrepreneurs. Despite female companies often showing a bigger return, they tend to attract fewer investors. As women tend to focus on social benefits and sustainability rather than purely financial gains, these objectives don’t always align with investor priorities. To tackle this, better strategies for funding startups are needed. While mentoring is strong, there is a need for business-angel training.

Despite the lack of opportunities and specific investment programmes, Barcelona’s rich ecosystem for younger generations, is supported by specific policies from both the private and the public sector. Thanks to the existing public initiatives, the community of female startups is further developed, as there exist specific grants and initiatives to connect them to other European communities.

As we look ahead, it is clear that women have the potential to be part of the force that is reshaping the region’s future. A remarkable example of an initiative that aimed to boost women’s potential in tech was Women in Urban Mobility (WUM), which was led by CARNET with the mission to foster this collaborative ecosystem and provide better growth opportunities. Many similar initiatives are being currently developed in the field, and through the establishment of supportive hubs, improved access to funding, and new collaboration opportunities, women are offered the resources to lead the way in driving progress, innovation, and inclusive growth, unlocking opportunities to build a more prosperous, sustainable, and equitable future for our cities.