W4RES ResultsCommitted women contribute to market development in the renewable heating and cooling sector by working on 56 innovation projects - Steinbeis Europa Zentrum promotes two women-led start-ups

28. November 2023

Women can drive the energy transition forward and make faster progress in achieving the EU's 2050 climate and energy targets if they play a greater role in the market. (Source: Women’s status and carbon dioxide emissions: A quantitative cross-national analysis - ScienceDirect).

This was the starting point for the EU project "Women for market uptake of Renewable Energy Sources" (W4RES), in which Steinbeis Europa Zentrum was involved as a partner. Over the past three years (2020-2023), the project has supported female entrepreneurs, researchers and climate protection managers in the cooling and heating sector. Although women play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, they are still underrepresented in the field of renewable energies and in the renewable cooling and heating sector worldwide.

The heating and cooling market accounts for 50% of the total energy consumed annually in Europe for private or industrial purposes (source: Energy consumption for fossil and renewable heat | Federal Environment Agency). Energieverbrauch für fossile und erneuerbare Wärme | Umweltbundesamt). Considering the high dependence on fossil fuels and the challenges of climate change, it is more urgent than ever to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. Currently, the use of renewable energy sources in heat generation amounts to 16.2% (2021, source: Erneuerbare Energien in Zahlen | Umweltbundesamt). W4RES therefore supported a range of solutions to significantly and quantifiably reduce the time and labour required for the development and introduction of renewable heating and cooling projects.

To achieve this goal, targeted support actions were implemented and evaluated from 2021-2023 in eight different regional centres in Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway and Slovakia. 56 women received practical support on market introduction in two rounds, including a selection of over 70 individual support services as well as the opportunity to participate in collective support services (Image 1). For example, they were able to take part in a two-day training course on EU proposal writing and EU funding or in training courses on gender-responsive business concept planning.

For each phase of an innovation project, W4RES offered support measures, subdivided into business supporting and technical services in image 1.

Support measures by innovation project phase, differentiated between business supporting and technical services

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supports innovation management

As a project partner for business strategy and market access, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum contributed to its mission "Enabling innovators to grow" by empowering women in leadership positions and supporting them in the further development of their innovations. As a service partner for innovation management, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum provided support from business model innovation to strategic innovation partnerships, even in an international environment.

Alongside individual consultation, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum offered the women a two-day online training course on writing proposals. Many women were seeking funding for their projects and needed support. One of the goals was to familiarize them with the submission modalities for EU research funding and to enable them to apply for public funds on their own in the future.

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supports two start-ups in Baden-Württemberg

One outstanding example is the start-up H2mc Heating by Carina Holzapfel, which was supported by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum. Thanks to the W4RES platform, Carina Holzapfel had the opportunity to present her start-up at various events, at the final conference of W4RES in Brussels, at the Economic Summit Baden-Württemberg in Brussels and at the hy-fcell - International Expo and Conference at Messe Stuttgart, as part of the "Women in Green Hydrogen" network.

FÜNF PROZENT (five per cent), is another promising spin-off of the University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart. The founders Sally Köhler and Sarina Hötzel have set themselves the goal of driving forward the decarbonisation of existing buildings. Five per cent - that is the percentage that the renovation rate of buildings should be to achieve the climate goals in the building sector. However, the actual rate is just under one per cent. In order to actively accelerate the decarbonisation of buildings, Sally Köhler, an expert in energy simulation for buildings formerly at HFT Stuttgart, and Sarina Hötzel, an energy consultant and energy efficiency expert, have founded the start-up FÜNF PROZENT.

The founding of FÜNF PROZENT in November 2023 was a milestone for the founders and enabled promising funding from the Climate Innovation Fund of the City of Stuttgart. The company is now on its way to effectively implement CO2 savings. With their solution, they ensure that municipalities and executing companies are supported with specific building data to effectively initiate energy-efficient renovations and solar panel installations.

More information:

H2mc Heating: Home - H2mc (h2mc-heating.com)

FÜNF PROZENT: https://www.5-prozent.de/

W4RES Project website: Home - W4RES - Renewable Energy


The specific W4RES support services for women are documented in four reports, divided into the two support phases and the distinction between technical and business supporting services:

Report on deployment of technical support and consultancy – First Round

Report on deployment of business support services – First Round

Zu allen Artikel

Contact us!

Elke Weidenfelder
Charlotte Schlicke
Contact us

Contact us!

Elke Weidenfelder
Charlotte Schlicke

Customer references