February 6, 2019 – Jerusalem - According to research, only 8% of Israeli startups are led by women – similar to much of the Western world. The percentage of applications submitted by female entrepreneurs in 2017-2018 to the Israel Innovation Authority’s Early Stage Incentive Program is about 10% of total applications.
The board of the Israel Innovation Authority has approved the launch of a designated incentive program for increased support of women-led initiatives during their startup stage. The board's decision presents a significant step towards narrowing gender bias and increasing the number of female entrepreneurs in the Israeli innovation ecosystem. The Authority aims to double the number of women entrepreneurs it supports within two years.
Under the new plan, women-led start-ups (requiring at least 33% ownership and a managerial or technological role in the company) will be eligible for research and development grants of up to 75% of the company’s R&D funding in the first year of the program, and 70% of funding in the second year, with a budget cap of up to NIS 2.5 million in the first year and NIS 5 million in the second year. In addition to the grants, the Innovation Authority plans to open a dedicated support program for women to enable access to all the support tools available through the organization. The designated incentive program for women-led ventures is a tool aimed at fulfilling the inherent potential for technological innovation in all segments of Israeli society.
The goal of this grant program is to minimize the gender gap in Israel’s hi-tech ecosystem by helping women entrepreneurs meet their main challenges including funding and networking with potential investors. The program, designed for early stage companies, operates under the Early Stage Incentive Program offered by the Startup Division of the Israel Innovation Authority, offers unique benefits that joins other programs offered by the Authority for support of under-represented populations in the high tech industry, such as the Incentive Program for Ultra-Orthodox and Minorities.
The support of female entrepreneurs is vital to minimizing the gender gap in Israel, and presents a leverage to incorporate women in the high tech industry and to increase their contribution to the growth and prosperity of the economy in general and the high tech industry in particular. The goal of this program is to increase the number of women-led projects and to strengthen and ensure their success, thus ensuring the Authority's ability to fully realize the innovation potential of all segments of Israeli society to generate inclusive and sustainable economic growth. This program allows woman-led companies to promote innovative technological projects and raise capital from the private sector.