Business

Women in social tech accelerator launches

A new accelerator created to help women build their tech-for-good ventures went live in London last week. Here you can listen to a panel discussion at the Deutsche Bank launch, featuring Stemettes, Ada’s List and DigitalAgenda.

The We In Social Tech accelerator programme – created to help women build their tech-for-good ventures – is live. The programme launched on 1 November at London’s Deutsche Bank – and is open for applications til 19 November.  

DigitalAgenda director Julian Blake joined Stemettes head Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and Ada’s List and Storythings co-founder Anjali Ramachandran on a panel to discuss ‘value and values’. Women Shift Digital founder Ghislaine Boddington chaired the panel.

Imafidon – who was the youngest girl ever to pass maths A-level aged 11 before her gaining a masters at Oxford aged 20 – explained the work of Stemettes in encouraging girls and women aged five to 21 get into STEAM subjects and careers.

She recalled how during a 2015 Stemettes incubator, “of 29 startups that were built, all were social tech startups. They all had altruism at the core of what they were even though that wasn’t what we set the brief to be”. She added that “there’s definitely something about being purpose-driven, and that’s the beautiful thing about being in science or technology that we don’t talk about often enough – that it is about solving problems.”

Offering an international perspective where not all have access to the technology and connectivity of the developed world, Ramachandran said “it’s interesting to see what ‘good’ means in different parts of the world. There are huge opportunities from a social perspective but also a business perspective too.”

Welcoming trends in social tech and women in tech, DigitalAgenda was able to say that the impact investing market is growing fast, with £87bn of assets under management in the UK and a 13% year-on-year growth worldwide. We pointed to 2018’s Founders4Schools women’s day report that showed that 1300 women led UK businesses with revenue of nearly £26bn.

The new We in Social Tech accelerator is supported by Deutsche Bank through its Made for Good social enterprise programme, and delivered by not-for-private-profit enterprise agency Nwes London.

Nicole Lovett, corporate social responsibility director at Deutsche Bank, offered an overview, with Nwes regional director Richard Salmon giving more detail on the programme. Fora and Big Chill co-founder Katrina Larkin also offered perspective.

The new WIST London accelerator will back a total of 60 women-led UK tech businesses with a social purpose, across three cohorts, “to make a step change in their enterprise” throughout 2019/20.

It will offer three six-month support programmes over two years, including business growth plans, investment and finance readiness, peer learning groups and free co-working space. It will not take any equity or intellectual property.

The new programme is open for applications until 19 November, at weinsocialtech.co.uk/#apply

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