The Innovative Women Program was created to stimulate startups led by women, in order to increase female representation in the national entrepreneurial economy, through training and recognition of their contributions to Brazilian competitiveness.
The program selects 30 startups for acceleration which includes specialized mentoring, support and monitoring by market professionals. In addition, up to 10 of these startups are selected to receive a prize Award of R$ 100,000 each (approximately US$ 19,000).
For the selection of these startups, a panel formed by representatives of FINEP, MCTI and invited specialized experts in different sectors, take into account the business model, the positioning of the products and the way the company will meet a specific market demand, existing or potential, as well as its production, pricing and marketing strategies.
2nd edition (2021): program iterations introduced
For the 2021 edition, the program incorporated some changes. In particular, applicants will compete regionally, and six from each of the five regions of Brazil will be selected to be accelerated. Of these, two startups from each region will receive the prize money.
In addition, each of the regions will call for applications in two priority themes, involving a set of innovations in the sectors of productive competitiveness and quality of life. At the time of applying, the startup must choose one of the themes of the region where it is located.
This program is carried out by Funding Authority for Studies and Projects (FINEP) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MCTI). FINEP is federal government agency under the Ministry of Science of Technology, devoted to funding of science and technology in the country.
The call for proposals has been supported by Rede Mulher Empreendedora (RME) and Founder Institute.
Technological-based companies with high growth potential who are innovative and work in conditions of uncertainty, with a repeatable and scalable business model, capable of solving a real problem, may apply to the program. It is necessary to meet all of the following conditions:
- The startup has at least one woman among the entrepreneurial team, in an executive or managerial role. In addition, one of these condition must be met: a) a female entrepreneur's individual shareholding must either be greater than or equal to the individual shares of the other entrepreneurs, or b) the sum of the equity shared by the female entrepreneurs in the team must be greater than or equal to the sum of that of other equity shareholders.
- The startup had been registered with the competent Commercial Registry for at least three months prior to the call for proposals
- The startup must report in the previous 12-month period a Gross Operating Revenue (ROB) of less than or equal to R$ 4,800,000.
- The startup must develop an innovative technology, an innovative business model, or products, services or processes are markedly innovative and produced from new technologies or from the integration of existing technologies with added new development (i.e. not limited to reselling, deploying and/or installing third party products and services).
February 7, 2020: The program begins with a first call for proposals, with the selection announcement in August.
December 2020: Finep / MCTI announced they will contribute up to R$ 1 million in a new call for proposals for the Innovative Women Program (2nd edition).
The first call for proposals resulted in 223 proposals. The announcement for the second edition highlights the positive feedback received by the first group of selected program beneficiaries, as captured by video interviews posted on FINEP's social media.