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WE Lead Food

Based on the Three Cs of collective leadership – connect, collaborate and co-create – WE Lead Food is creating enabling environments where women leaders thrive and can be inspired by other women leaders.

Applications are now open!

Course information






Online course 8 weeks from the 1st October 2024

About : The network for women in the food sector.

We are building:

  • A global network of passionate and committed women leaders
  • A leadership toolkit to drive change and deliver a more sustainable and inclusive food system


The WE Lead Food programme is designed for people who are a women and:

  • Have a passion and commitment to drive the transformation to a more sustainable food system
  • Currently in, or have been in, a leadership* position in the food system.


We love diversity, and so all backgrounds and disciplines are welcome, from research, business, policy, and civil society.

We are currently open to applications for women who are committed to driving change within the food sector, from all over the world.

*We don’t discriminate on age and take a broad view on leadership. We focus on mid and senior managers in industry, founders of local charities, public sector managers, entrepreneurs and more. We are not excluding young professionals who have taken a leadership role amongst their peers and demonstrate high potential.

Advantages :

This programme provides you with the space and time you need for more strategic and innovative thinking. We will work with you to:

  • Explore and develop your entrepreneurial self and your leadership self,
  • Define your vision for a more sustainable food system,
  • Devise a plan to realise your vision.

You will also connect with women from across the world, from diverse professional backgrounds, who share your passion and commitment to creating a better food system.

5 Reasons your organisation should sponsor your members to attend WE Lead Food :

  1. Ecosystem Building: Not only is the programme was led by the University of Cambridge, your people will be connecting and influencing across the food system, beyond specific sector/niche allowing for innovation and importing good practices from other places in the food system.
  2. Connecting across the world: As part of WE Lead Food and its alumni, your staff will be broadening their Leadership Network to cover the entire world, which provides increased access to information, markets, resources, and partners, globally
  3. Collective Leadership: the programme provides a toolkit for innovation and leading change within the organisation and sector, offering opportunities for thought and organisational leadership among peer organisations – making your organisation stand out!
  4. Making the world a better place: at the core of the programme is the network, knowledge and tools to envision and implement sustainability practices for food system transformation.
  5. Can’t wait to start! We guarantee you that we will return to you re-energised, motivated and modern leaders. It’s up to you to give them the space to live up to their potential!

Impact opportunities : Change the System, Ecosystem Building, Leadership for Impact, Entrepreneurship for Sustainability

As well as the tools and knowledge you will gain, to challenge and change the system you operate in, you will reap many professional benefits to create the impact that you envision within your organisation, your sector and beyond, on your own and with others - as our Alumni have done consistently. 

Our WE Lead Food community is global, with members from Mexico to Singapore, and Denmark to South Africa and programme alumni get automatic access to this community. Being part of this community of supportive, inspiring women leaders provides a range of collaboration and career opportunities, from employment to co-creation of new projects and ventures, collaboration on grant applications, pitching for funding, and more.

“We extend a warm invitation to each and every one of you to explore the compelling reasons why joining our programme is a transformative journey. Immerse yourself in our captivating podcast and delve into our enlightening interview, where you'll discover the extraordinary opportunities awaiting you. Let these powerful resources ignite your passion and conviction to embark on this remarkable adventure with us.”
Dr Shima Barakat, WE Lead Food Programme Lead

223 Participants

Who are now part of our Alumni Community

50 Countries

Participants from 50 countries

3 Success stories

Which you can find on our News and Impact stories section

WE Lead Food Local Workshops : Have a bite-size taster of the main programme in your local area, in your local language! Ideal way to discover what value WE Lead Food can bring you!

📣 Calling all Women Leaders in the Food Sector- from all over Europe!
WE Lead Food is again organising several local workshops as a taster/introduction for the main programme. 
These workshops are in the local language.


Bianca Forte EIT Food
“The WE Lead Food Programme enabled me to visualise the changes required to improve our tech transfer activities and create a clear plan to test our assumptions and develop a new type of intervention that would allow our team to become more effective.”
Bianca Forte, Business Development Director at SugaROx (WE Leader 2019)

You will learn the following competencies: :

Food systems

  • Develop strategies to address current and future sustainability challenges using systems approaches
  • Design innovative responses to address sustainability challenges in the food system


  • Create opportunities for value creation
  • Mobilise resources to create sustainable value for others
  • Design and implement effective actions to deliver impact

Problem solving

  • Appraise the problem space to identify current and future needs
  • Mobilise effective methodologies to generate new ideas
  • Appraise the validity of new ideas and co-create sustainable solutions

Critical thinking

  • Collect, analyse, interpret and report information to develop sustainable solutions to current and future challenges
  • Appraise unintended consequences of any course of action to devise ethical goals


  • Implement a food system innovation project in a particular work or study context


  • Identify, engage with and respond to stakeholder needs
  • Develop strategies to deliver effective communications approaches
  • Translate complex ideas for different audiences

Technology management

  • Educate and support others to use emerging technologies in (radical or breakthrough) innovation processes
  • Challenge others to apply technologies to different problem spaces

Structure and Modules : 8-week online programme

Throughout the process, you will have access to an expert group of industry, academic and policy specialists, a cross-sector industry leaders’ network and the tools to leverage both entrepreneurial and collective leadership ways of working.

The programme is structured around a combination of talks, facilitated group work, individual work, 1-2-1 clinics and networking, providing you with the optimum environment in which to shape your ideas, get support, learn new tools and build collaborative relationships which last well beyond the programme.

Practical : What you need to know

Participation Fees - Early Bird / General fee

  • RIS country* citizens fee: 302.5€ / 1058.75€
  • Non-RIS/Global citizens fee: 665.5€ / 1633.5€

Early Bird Discounts - for applications submitted before the 30th of June 2024.

Full course fees - application deadline: 1st September 2024.

All prices are including applicable taxes (21% VAT).

Prices without VAT (21%) are the following:

  • RIS country* citizens fee: 250€ / 875€
  • Non-RIS/Global citizens fee: 550€ / 1350€


*The EIT Food RIS strategy focuses on enhancing development within the agrifood sector by implementing activities related to innovation, education, business creation and communication in RIS countries and regions.

Countries eligible to take part in the EIT RIS (2021-2024):

  • EU Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain.
  • Horizon Europe Associated Countries**: Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine.
  • Outermost Regions: Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion, Martinique, Mayotte and Saint-Martin (France), the Azores and Madeira (Portugal), and the Canary Islands (Spain).

**These third countries, which are all listed in the European Innovation Scoreboard, will be fully eligible for the EIT RIS, following the successful conclusion of individual Horizon Europe Association Agreements.

Active EIT Food partners can get a 25% discount.

WE Lead Food Discounts and Fee Waivers 2024 :

We are committed to ensuring that no exceptional woman is excluded from the programme based on ability to pay. Fee waivers are available for excellent candidates who are unable to cover the fee. Decisions on waivers are made based on meeting one of the criteria :

🦅 Phoenixes: rise from the ashes and rebuild themselves: If you are a citizen of a community that falls under the UNHCR scope eg Ukraine. The UNHCR defines its remit as: “to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.” - Full Fee Waiver

🎡 Pivoters: are in between jobs and re-orientating themselves: If you have exited your business AND are currently unemployed, for LESS than one year from the date of your application. - Full Fee Waiver 

👶 Parents: If you are on parental leave or have returned to work less than 12months before the date of your application. - Full Fee Waiver 

🌍Person from RIS Countries: are living in areas within the Regional Innovation Scheme - Partial Fee Waiver

If you feel you are in a hardship situation that is not covered in any of the above, further partial fee waivers may be considered and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. Please apply and then contact the organising team:

Are you struggling with the 2-min application video? :

If creating your video is holding up your application, check this YouTube video:

Local Workshops : Watch the event overview video - WE Lead Food Poland 2024

It was a major success! Participants testify how valuable this workshop was for them.

Entrepreneurs, start-up founders, scientists, experts in the agri-food industry – 40 women from all over the country met on June 11 in Warsaw at the WE Lead Food workshop to share their experience, motivate each other to act and open up to new development opportunities.

Programme Lead :

Shima Barakat

Shima Barakat

Director, Entrepreneurship for Sustainability Programme

Connect on LinkeIn

Founded by :

European Food Information Council (EUFIC)

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Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM)

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University of Cambridge

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Partners : Later joined by


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Aarhus University

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IMDEA Food Institute

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