THE Berlin-based Vodafone Institute is seeking startups to join the second cohort of its F-LANE accelerator, focusing on social ventures utilising technology to empower women worldwide.
The F-LANE programme aims to foster the participation of women in technological development and improve the situation of girls and women around the world through technology.
Four or five startups from around the world will be selected to join the six week accelerator, during which participants will be teamed up with experienced mentors to develop an individual roadmap. The programme then features mentorship and advice from Vodafone and external experts, as well as help in leveraging the global “Vodafone family”.
Micro-funding of up to EUR12,000 (US$13,700) is also on offer to the chosen start-ups.
The programme is hosted in collaboration with Impact Hub Berlin – where the accelerator will be based – and the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie, who will both help start-ups in connecting with their respective networks.
“The first round of F-LANE was phenomenal, with inspirational start-up ideas, fantastic female entrepreneurs and a big media echo. That made our decision to hold a second round very easy. And we obviously still have a long way to go in eliminating gender-specific disparities, particularly in the technology sector,” said Alice Steinbrück, director of strategy and programmes at the Vodafone Institute.
“The popular cliché that there aren’t any women with tech expertise is out-dated. To exploit the potential that already exists, the media, policymakers and investors have to change their tack.”
Three African start-ups were selected for the inaugural F-LANE cohort earlier this year: affordable eye-care app Wazi Vision, and sex education mobile solution Ask without Shame – both from Uganda; and mobile personal security solutions for women provider Securella from Morocco.
The programme is open equally to female and male entrepreneurs, so long as the focus of their work is on female empowerment.
Flights, and accommodation, and childcare are provided for the chosen participants.