Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP), recently announced its partnership with Women Startup Competition Europe, a not-for-profit organization set up to inspire, educate and unite female entrepreneurs from around the world.

Avon has been backing beauty entrepreneurs for 130 years and as principal sponsor of the Women Startup Competition, it’ll not only be championing a whole new generation of female startups but also opening up its innovation pipeline to support its fast-beauty strategy. 

Avon will sponsor the beauty sub-category of the competition by reviewing and screening applications and helping to judge the winners. For the beauty category winners, Avon will commit a customized mentoring programme to help support their business growth and the potential for future collaboration in commercializing their idea, product or brand.

In Europe female-founded startups account for less than 27% of the total and female investors represent only 7% of the funding pool. Women Startup Competition seeks to change that by acting as an incubator – providing support and connecting female entrepreneurs with investors to drive their businesses forward.

Louise Scott, Chief Scientific Officer at Avon said: “We are really excited to be partnering with Women Startup Competition. There is a great deal of alignment in our missions – fostering entrepreneurialism among women and encouraging innovation that benefits society, because we know when we create opportunities for women, we see the ripple effect benefit her family and her community.

The partnership announcement coincides with the latest semi-final event in Budapest on April 25. Like all of the events held around Europe, female-run startups have the chance to take part in workshops and mentoring sessions to support their business growth and investment potential and present their pitch as the climax of the competition. 

Alexandra Veidner, CEO of Women Startup Competition, echoed this desire to break down the barriers stopping women from achieving their potential. She said: “Access to knowledge, experts, distribution channels, pricing and data is a huge help for startups at an early stage; on the other hand, engaging with innovative startups is a great route for big companies to achieve their own innovation goals. That’s why at WSC, our goal is to go beyond classic sponsorships by running industry-specific programs with leading corporates like Avon.

Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company