Female entrepreneurs play a key role in the fight against poverty and in advancing the development of the regions in which they operate. However, the female social entrepreneurship journey is marked by major challenges: Lack of funding, discrimination and missing networking opportunities are only a few obstacles. We want to support the brightest minds who jointly pave the way for a fairer tomorrow with their health, nutrition and agricultural solutions.

Harvesting a healthier future

The Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award is a project dedicated to supporting female founders to succeed and recognise their entrepreneurial spirit. In collaboration with Unknown Group, the Bayer Foundation is ready to remove the obstacles for groundbreaking innovation.

A partnership between

Success stories

Claire Van Enk

“Winning the Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award has catalyzed Farm to Feed, building credibility and curiosity with investors and partners. We also gained valuable exposure through marketing and PR and entered into an inner circle with strong network connections.

During the last year, we closed our first investor, scaled our network from 800 to 6000 farmers, and registered a 10% month-on-month growth. The award has been a game-changer, opening doors and providing us with the resources to thrive.”

What are we looking for?

Female entrepreneurs

Regardless of their initiatives and ideas, female founders face great challenges that hinder their success. The Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award aims to enable their ability to create social impact through groundbreaking innovation. We are looking for women-led enterprises that help drive social change and improve their communities.

Social Impact Focus

We want to empower female founders active in health, nutrition, and agriculture. Women who want to jointly advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2 (Zero Hunger) and 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing). Women who want to decrease inequalities create perspectives and lift each other.

Global South

Although female founders face struggles all across the globe, this challenge focuses on entrepreneurs from the Global South – Latin America, Africa & the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. This opportunity is a prime incentive to take centre stage and accelerate their innovations towards a healthier future.

What is in it for you?

€25,000 cash prize

Tailored coaching to reach your business goals

Access to Bayer Foundation & Bayer’s expert network

Visibility through branded communication activities

Final award ceremony

Alumni Network


13th february

Applications open

24th March

Applications deadline

11th of april

Public voting starts

18th of april

Public voting end


Finalist announcement


Finalist program launch

June - September

Final events and Launch of Empowerment program!

We’ve been asked…

What are the eligibility criteria?

The award seeks to support female founders or co-founders driving impactful solutions in the Global South region, specifically Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East. To be eligible, the applicants must have their solution centered around health, nutrition, and agriculture themes. Additionally, the program emphasizes the importance of creating a social or community impact, encouraging applicants to integrate this focus into their applications.

What stage of business are you interested in?

You can apply as long as you have a working prototype/service that can be shown. 

What is the geographical scope of the award?

The challenge is open to female entrepreneurs active in the Global South: Latin America, Africa & Middle-East and Asia Pacific.

What are the supported themes of the challenge?

Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award is looking to empower and support female founders active in health, nutrition & agriculture. 

When is the deadline to apply?

The application deadline is  March 24th, 11:59 PM (CET).

How does the selection work?

Following the close of the application period, all submissions will undergo a thorough internal review. Through the internal stakeholder review and the public voting, the top 20 finalists per region will be selected. The finalist program will begin in May, where 10 founders per region will be given the opportunity to pitch directly to the jury. Finally, five winners per region will be selected to attend the final event and participate in the empowerment program.

Who will review our application?

Bayer Foundation, Bayer and Unknown Group experts will review the applications. 

Is the award open to NGOs?

We welcome NGOs and their female leaders/founders/co-founders with sustainable business models that can continue creating impact to apply.

How can I use the cash prize?

The cash grant can be used without restrictions and is deemed to support business growth.

What is an outstanding application?

In addition to meeting the general eligibility criteria, we prioritize applicants with a strong personal drive to receive support from the Bayer Foundation and win this award, and a clear commitment to creating social impact through their proposed solution.

See Award Winners

Fifteen women entrepreneurs from the Global South are collaboratively forging a path towards a more equitable future through their innovative solutions in health, nutrition, and agriculture.

Supporting organizations

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