Europe urgently needs more innovators to stay competitive in the coming decades and to spur economic growth. The large number of well-educated women who, for various reasons, including lack of awareness, do not consider entrepreneurship as an option, represents a tremendous untapped pool of innovation. Awards have a strong potential to drive innovation through the recognition of achievements and the promotion of role models. Therefore, the European Commission created in 2011 a Prize for Women Innovators to increase public awareness of this issue and to encourage women to exploit the commercial and business opportunities and become entrepreneurs. After the success of the forerunners of the contest in 2011, 2014 and 2016, the Commission intends to continue its drive to spotlight women researchers who have brought outstanding innovations to the market. The Commission plans to award up to three "EU Prize for Women Innovators" and one "Rising Innovator Award" following a European-wide contest. The prizes are addressed to women who have founded or co-founded a company and who themselves or their company have benefitted from funding related to research and/or innovation. The prizes will not reward research or innovation proposed for the future, but only achievements that have been already obtained by the contestant.