F-LANE Accelerating Female Empowerment globally in times of COVID-19
- Nine start-ups graduate from the first virtual edition of the Vodafone Institutes accelerator programme for female empowerment
- A record number of 455 start-ups from 84 countries worldwide applied for the Vodafone Institute's global F-LANE Accelerator programme
- 9 women-led social ventures from 8 countries were selected, resulting in a highly diverse cohort while doubling the number of participating startups
- Successful pilot of virtual acceleration programme with positive feedback from participating start-ups regarding the value of the programme: unique setup with over 130 international mentors, supporting the startups in more than 440 combined programme hours.
BERLIN, Nov. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Many researches show that COVID-19 has an enormous impact especially on women: reports of domestic violence increased, for example France reported an increase of 30% in reported cases within the first week of lockdown. Women's jobs are estimated to be 1.8 times more vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis than men's jobs, women in tech are nearly 1.5 times as likely as men to report feeling a greater childcare burden due to COVID-19 (72% vs. 53%). This is precisely why the Vodafone Institute decided to implement F-LANE despite COVID-19, with a first virtual edition of F-LANE, to great effect: this year's edition had an increased regional scope and a greater diversity of social businesses participating, strengthening the social impact on women and girls worldwide.
From domestic violence, to harassment on public transport, to ovarian cancer, the female founders taking part in F-LANE tackle the issues affecting women's lives worldwide, combining entrepreneurship with social impact. The founders appreciate especially the flexibility and high quality the programme offered, as Inas Ismail, founder of Autsera (UK) says: "I had taken part in several accelerators before - what's really outstanding about F-LANE is how much value they offer for the start-ups although this year's program is running completely virtually."
The start-ups received virtual training, personalised support based on a strong mentor-based approach, networking and access to an impact investor network. So Sofie Blakstad, founder of hiveonline (based in Sweden, Denmark, Ruanda) comments: "F-LANE has been the most useful accelerator we have done so far. My favourite part of F-LANE has been the amazing mentors we've met who understand the market we're in, our business and the challenges we're facing – that has been fantastic."