The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) announced the launch of a new incentive program aimed at supporting women-led initiatives with grants of up to 75 percent, narrowing gender bias, and increasing the number of female entrepreneurs in the Israeli innovation ecosystem.
The program seeks to help narrow the existing gender gap in Israeli high-tech where women lead only 8 percent of all Israeli startups, according to the IIA. The initiative also reflects the authority’s objective to seamlessly increase women’s presence in the Israeli tech ecosystem and double the number of female entrepreneurs it supports within two years, the authority said in a statement.
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As part of the program, women-led start-ups – qualified as such if women have ownership of at least 33 percent of the company and hold managerial or technical roles – will be eligible for research and development grants of up to 75 percent of the company’s R&D funding in the first year of the program, and 70 percent funding in the second year with a budget cap of up to NIS 2.5 million in the first year and NIS 4.5 million in the second year, the IIA said.
In addition to the grants, the authority is launching a dedicated program that will give female entrepreneurs access to a wide variety of tools, help them receive funding and support fruitful networking with investors.
The program is designed for early-stage companies and operates under the “Early Stage Incentive Program” offered by the Startup Division of the Israel Innovation Authority. The Startup Division also has separate programs to support under-represented communities in the high-tech industry.
“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,” the authority said in a statement.