Nexus Community: a global and curated community of professionals sharing solutions, business opportunities and knowledge related to water nexus thematics.
Awards, Prizes and Competitions:
Global Water Awards: a competition for projects demonstrating a significant contribution to the water industry.
XPRIZE Carbon Removal: a four-year global competition for innovators and teams from anywhere on the planet to create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans ultimately scaling massively to gigaton levels, locking away CO2 permanently in an environmentally benign way.
MIT: Water Innovation Prize, startup competition focused on water innovation that awards up to $35K to student-led teams from across the country and internationally.
Brew Accelerator: yearly competitions unleashing water innovation by funding water technology startups from around the world with commercialization potential.
XPRIZE Foundation: large-scale global incentive competitions to crowdsource solutions to the world’s grand challenges; the domain areas include oceans.
UN Climate Change Conference: Tech For Our Planet challenge programme, an opportunity for startups to pilot technology that will help us reach our net zero targets (incl.Challenge 6 For Our Water).
100Accelerator: an accelerator for innovative solutions that have the ability to scale quickly and make a significant impact on one or more of the challenge areas (incl. water stewardship).
Imagine H2O: an innovation accelerator for the world’s top water entrepreneurs.
Katapult: Ocean Accelerator, a digital program that combines 90 days of intense workshops, networking events and learning sessions with $150,000 – 500,000 investments.
FAO UN Fellowship: designed to attract fellows, typically PhD students, researchers and professors, who have an advanced level of relevant technical knowledge and experience in any field of the Organization.
Kirchner Food Fellowship: three fellowship programs that harnesses the power of millennials to find, fund and assist promising socially responsible agricultural businesses; geographical coverage: Central America, Mexico.
EIT Food: Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.
LadyAgri: a network of International and African professionals linking agri-businesses with the finance community, social impact funds, through which women-agri- entrepreneurs can develop and upscale their businesses in Africa and Small Island Developing.
Incubators and Accelerators:
World Resources Institute: Land Accelerator, a four-month program and curated network for entrepreneurs who restore degraded forests and farmland; geographical coverage: Africa, Latin America, South Asia.
The Yield Lab: enabling entrepreneurs to sustainably revolutionize agrifood systems; regional accelerators: North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe.
EIT Food: supporting innovative impactful agrifood entrepreneurs and startups to deliver new food innovations and businesses across Europe (incubator, accelerator, scaleup program).
X-Europe: 6 acceleration cohorts for European startups; the areas include AgriTech.
Fresh Ventures Studio: a venture building program, co-founding companies with experienced professionals and entrepreneurs to address systemic challenges in the food system; for EU participants, require all participants to locate to Rotterdam for the physical part of the program.
StartLife: accelerating food & agtech startups with lasting impact in Europe.
Hatch Colab: a 12-month program (with periods of residence in Geneva) for Europe-based entrepreneurs committed to solving humanity’s grand challenges and driving sustainable change; the sectors include healthcare.
Future Hub: Open Innovation Sustainability Accelerator, a kickstarter for startup & enterprise co-creation; five sustainability and GreenTech areas: Mobility, Food & AgroTech, Smart cities & Energy, Supply Chain & Logistics, Sustainable Business & Circular Economy; geography: Baltic countries.
FAO and UNIDO: 3ADI+, Accelerator for Agriculture and Agroindustry Development and Innovation; pilot countries: Bangladesh, Suriname, Tanzania.
Glocal: an accelerator for both, startups and mid – sized established companies in the Agribusiness Sector in Latin America.
Village Capital, with the support of Visa Foundation: Future of Food LatAm AgriTech and FoodTechAccelerator, an investment readiness program for Latin American startups that are tackling the region’s most pressing challenges in the agritech and foodtech sectors.
Food naturally connects all of us and it is certainly the easiest way for every single person to make a positive impact (from healthier eating patterns to reduced food waste), so let’s start with global growth programs for food & agriculture ventures.
FoodBytes: a digital and physical discovery program connecting the best and brightest startups with corporates and investors through structured mentor sessions, one-on-one corporate and investor meetings, and more, culminating in a live pitch competition.
Vegan Women Summit: VWS Pathfinder, first female founder summit and pitch competition dedicated exclusively to plant-based innovation.
Awards & Challenges:
World Food Forum: Startup Innovation Awards, a global startup competition established to support and showcase innovators and entrepreneurs who are harnessing the power of technology to drive the sustainable transformation of agri-food systems in support of ending global hunger and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Fi: Global Startup Innovation Challenge, competition aimed at rewarding innovative projects within the F&B industry through a specialised support programme tailored to their needs.
Forward Fooding: FoodTech 500, showcasing selected international AgriFoodTech startup and scaleup companies using a unique methodology to rank them based on their business size, digital footprint, and sustainability practices.
UN Climate Change Conference: Tech For Our Planet challenge programme, an opportunity for startups to pilot technology that will help reach our net zero targets (incl.Challenge 2 On Our Plate).
Attention FWD: Forces Of Change Awards, honoring innovators who are making an impact and shaping the future (the sectors include food).
Future Food-Tech: Innovation Challenges for start-ups to tackle some of the most critical issues facing the food-tech industry (The Kellogg Challenge: new microbiome-based innovation for gut wellness; The Unilever Challenge: improving the taste, texture, sustainability of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives).
Iberdrola: Agrivoltaics Startup Challenge, seeking low-cost and environmentally-friendly solutions to combine the roll-out of photovoltaic plants and certain primary sector activities in rural areas in a sustainable way.
Incubators & Accelerators:
Counterfactual Ventures: a startup creation studio, an incubator and venture capital fund that is in the business of replacing factory farming and unsustainable fishing practices with scalable alternative protein solutions.
ProVeg Incubator: supporting pioneering companies that are developing disruptive alternatives to animal-based products and services.
Rockstart: a domain-focused accelerator-VC with follow-on growth funding that supports and empowers the best startups on their way to success across four domains, including agrifood.
SOSV: accelerators for elite startups from around the world tackling the biggest problems; the areas include disruptive food.
100Accelerator: an accelerator for innovative solutions that have the ability to scale quickly and make a significant impact on one or more of the challenge areas (incl. smart agriculture).
FoundersLane: several programs for startups; the focus sectors include agriculture.
Plug and Play: 60+ accelerators; the focus areas include food&beverages and agtech.
Kaizen Company: two hybrid technology incubator/accelerator programs to address global challenges in food security and conflict resolution.
RootCamp: incubators and accelerators focused on agrifood tech innovation (for startups from anywhere, but the program takes place in Hannover).
Sente: looking for innovative startups that are disrupting the indoor agriculture world (3 startup programs).
NetImpact: Food Solutions Challenge, an accelerator and pitch competition focused on finding solutions to the most pressing issues in food and agriculture.
FoodFutureCo: a scale-up accelerator in food, agriculture, social, & environmental entrepreneurship.
HortiHeroes: startup program for food & flower startups
THRIVE Accelerator: supporting seed stage startups from all areas of the value chain whose technologies drive us towards a more efficient, sustainable, and secure agriculture future.
Acumen Academy: Climate Resilient Agriculture Accelerator, helping to scale your business and bolster the climate resilience of smallholder farmers.
Leonhardt Ventures: an innovation accelerator focused on Convergence of Bioelectrics & Biologics for Organ Regeneration and Healing.
Brinc: empowering founders who are solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges through new technology-based solutions: alternative protein, agritech, food technology; location: virtual remote programs and ideally, must be looking to deploy their product / solution in the Asian market.
GROW: Southeast Asia’s agrifoodtech accelerator with an impact focus (online and onsite format for startups from anywhere).
Sprout: helping you navigate your entrepreneurial journey so your company and product gets noticed by Investors who ‘get it’ and want to see you grow a global innovation; location: virtual program, but teams will be expected to travel to New Zealand for a minimum of two visits. It’s our expectation that each company has a business plan to address the New Zealand market and/or connect with one of Sprout’s partners.
FoodTech Accelerator: a Milan-based accelerator, selecting up to10 of the best startups worldwide each year to boost food innovation.
Talgra: Invest with Values, a free educational resource that connects the dots between related investment areas including local banking, community investing, impact investing, and socially responsible investing.
MovingWorlds: helping social enterprises in the ‘pioneer gap’ access the skills to overcome any challenge, while helping the professionals who volunteer their expertise find more purpose in their work and accelerate their for-good careers.
Expert Impact: supporting social entrepreneurs to scale, with introductions, mentoring and advice through the Human Lending Library.
All Good Ventures: business mentoring support from volunteers with ‘muscle’ to help social enterprises.
MicroMentor: a community connecting mentors and entrepreneurs from all over the world to help small businesses thrive.
Tech2impact: mentorship support from experienced founders, industry leaders, and experts to startups on their entrepreneurial path in scaling impact.
Lunt Foundation: providing networking for entrepreneurs fostering a better world for humans and the planet alike.
Mentor Capital Network: helping mission-driven entrepreneurs build companies that will be socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable: business plans review, detailed feedback, mentorship.
Social Sector Network: providing top-quality entrepreneurial training to empower innovative leaders around the world.
Legacy International: Global Transformation Corps, live training and coaching events for a select cohort of social entrepreneurs so they can launch and scale their ventures; and a purposeful online network of impact investors, expert coaches and next generation entrepreneurs dedicated to shifting the world to sustainable economies.
Youth Business International: supporting underserved young entrepreneurs (18 – 35 years) to start, grow and sustain their businesses – enabling them to create jobs, build communities and transform lives.
FuseChange: free consulting services for entrepreneurs that are impacting social and environmental change in their community.
SAIRA: a digital matchmaking platform that tackles the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by bringing established experts together with upstart innovators and facilitating long-term initiatives.
Eos Entrepreneur Foundation: supporting social entrepreneurs through coaching, a comprehensive online self-assessment, an analysis of the social entrepreneur’s strengths and weaknesses as well as identifying needs and priorities for improvement.
Regional & National
Enablis: supporting SME entrepreneurs who create jobs in developing and emerging countries, leading to sustainable economic growth.
Impact Consulting: a global network of aspiring and professional Consultants, who want to make a positive impact on the world.
Earth Ambition: the global community improving wellness & growth of impact-driven freelancers, founders & startups.
Nexus Community: a global community sharing solutions, business opportunities and knowledge on water nexus thematics.
Talent Networks of Skill-based Volunteers:
Matchable: reimagining volunteering by offering employees unique upskilling opportunities working with exciting non-profits and impact startups.
ShareNest: a social enterprise that matches capable volunteers with NGOs & social impact projects around the world.
Taproot Foundation: helping social change organizations solve critical challenges in their communities with the support of skilled volunteers sharing their expertise pro bono.
DataKind: providing social change organizations with the pro bono data science innovation team they need to boost impact in the fields of education, poverty, health, human rights, the environment and cities.
Gusher: a startup platform helping companies launch using time equity; everything, incl. health, food.
uBegin: an online platform to look for collaborators.
All Good Ventures: support from volunteers with ‘muscle’ to help social enterprises with small jobs.
TechChange: online professional development courses and events in technology and social change.
On Purpose: Associate and Pathfinder helping people transition into careers, but more profoundly lives, with more meaning and purpose.
Courses for Impactpreneurs:
edX: Enabling Entrepreneurs to Shape a Better World; Responsible Innovation: Building Tomorrow’s Responsible Firms; Responsible Innovation: Ethics, Safety and Technology; Data Ethics, AI and Responsible Innovation; Innovation: From Plan to Product; Capstone Economics and Policies for a Circular Economy; Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, and more.
Coursera: Becoming a changemaker: Introduction to Social Innovation; Social Impact Strategy: Tools for Entrepreneurs and Innovators; Business Strategies for Social Impact, and more.
Effective Altruism: EA Virtual Programs are opportunities for anyone around the world to engage intensively with the ideas of effective altruism through readings, videos, podcasts, and weekly small-group discussions.
Shift/Co: training materials designed to help you grow your conscious business and further develop your entrepreneurial skills.
There are many online platforms with resources for impact startups and you can therefore compile different (often free) materials and courses in order to build your own curriculum. If you prefer to move forward on your own, here is the first part in the series ‘’Be Your Own Mentor’’.
Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily updates for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).
Exxon Mobil Foundation: Women’s Economic Opportunity Initiative, a global effort that helps women fulfill their economic potential and drive economic and social change in their communities.
Denham Capital: financing companies and projects that are developed in a manner consistent with climate change, biodiversity, and human rights, are socially responsible and reflect sound environmental management practices.
AbbVie Ventures: investing in early-stage opportunities in immunology, oncology, and neuroscience.
Lilly Ventures: investing in great companies with compelling life science innovations that have the potential to create a pipeline of life-changing medicines.
The PitchBook‘s All In reports state, that only 1-2% of global venture capital has been invested in women-led initiatives over the past few years globally. Although in accordance with BCG analysis (performed in partnership with MassChallenge) startups founded and co-founded by women have fewer chances to be funded (mainly because of lack of credibility), their financial performance rates are higher (MassChallenge; BCG analysis (of the 350 companies included in the analysis, 258 were founded by men, and 92 were founded or co-foundedby women).
Other sources of funding for women changemakers include crowdfunding platforms, business grants, guarantees&loans, impact investing options. These funding solutions not only provide female impact entrepreneurs with financial resources but also encourage other women to start building their innovative startups.
All in all, there are higher chances for women impact entrepreneurs to get funding, if a certain fund/foundation has a strong record of investing in women. You will find below an overview of financial opportunities that primarily or exclusively target female-led teams and women business owners.
IFundWomen: a crowdfunding platform for female founders and creators.
Women You Should Fund: rewards-based crowdfunding helping women and women-led teams make their innovative products, projects, and business ventures a reality.
Visa Everywhere Initiative: Women’s Global Edition, a competition for women founders and co-founders who are changing the world by solving business and social challenges.
Eileen-Fisher Foundation: Women-Owned Business Grant, awarding $200,000 annually in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 for programs increasing women’s participation in decision-making; training women and girls in climate change adaptation, mitigation, and advocacy; engaging women in the sustainable economy.
Women Working Wonders Fund: awarding grants to programs and projects that assist women in transition, provide leadership development in girls and women, and/or contribute to the beautification of the environment.
MCE Social Capital: providing a loan guarantee model to generate economic opportunities for women and families in underserved communities throughout the developing world.
SheEO: bringing together women from all different backgrounds and ages, who contribute to a Perpetual Fund that is loaned out at zero percent interest to women-led ventures working on the World’s To-Do List.
Grameen Foundation: granting loans or guarantees to companies with social impact (serving primarily women and rural populations) in Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Angel Academe: an angel network securing investment for innovative solutions to important global problems in areas including health, finance, education, security and climate change with a female founder/co-founder based in UK.
We-Fi: funding women-owned SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, and Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Solar Sister: investing in women’s clean energy businesses in off-grid communities in Africa.
Impact Investment Funds:
Women’s World Banking Capital Partners: investing in financial solutions in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families, and their communities.
A-Force Ventures: an early-stage fund that invests in female-led consumer internet and mobile startups.
Rhia Ventures: a women-led social investment company financially supporting female entrepreneurs in reproductive health.
Astia Fund: investing in early-stage companies with women leaders.
Amplifyher: investing in visionary founders with women in decision-making roles.
University Impact: funding ventures and businesses that are solving complex, vexing social problems (no poverty, zero hunger, good health & well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water & sanitation) with strong management teams, passion for change, and innovative business models.
Rivet Ventures: investing in US-based companies in women-led markets where female usage, decision-making, and purchasing are crucial to company growth.
Plum Alley: investing in forward leaning technology and healthcare companies with women founders or women and men founders that will improve our lives and the planet.
Portfolia: designing investment funds for women backing the US-based innovative companies they want to see in the world, for returns and impact.
True Wealth Ventures: an early-stage venture capital fund run by women investing in US-based women-led companies with products and technologies in the sustainable consumer and consumer health sectors that more efficiently solve the next generation of challenges.
The 22 Fund: investing in US-based tech-based, export-oriented manufacturing companies, to create clean jobs of the future in underserved and LMI communities, intentionally including women and BIPOC led firms to deliver both high ROI and social/economic impact.
Pipeline Ventures: investing and creating capital for trans women, cis women, nonbinary, two-spirit, agender, and gender-nonconforming founders within US.
BELLE Capital USA: investing in companies with female founders or owners and/or committing to recruiting top female talent to C-Suite and Board in the US.
The Jump Fund: a women-led micro VC firm investing in female-led ventures across the Southeast U.S.
Minority Business Development Agency: Enterprising Women of Color Initiative, focusing on the fast-expanding minority women entrepreneur population as a revenue generator for families, communities, and the nation.
ICA: accelerating great businesses through investments to grow Bay Area businesses and closing the gender and racial wealth gap.
InvestHer Ventures: the first venture capital fund in Chicago that promotes, supports, and invests in early-stage tech companies built by female founders.
Elevate Capital: investing early in underserved and overlooked entrepreneurs (such as women and ethnic minorities, or those with limited access regionally to capital and opportunities) in Oregon.
Disruption Ventures: funding women-led companies as high value and high potential investment projects in North America
January Ventures: investing in female, more diverse and more distributed founders in US and Europe.
Female Funders Fund: investing exclusively in female-founded early-stage companies in US and Europe.
Merian Ventures: investing in women founded and co-founded innovation in cyber, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and consumer-facing companies; geographical coverage: US and UK.
Investing Women: investing in Scottish-based companies and we are particularly interested in companies with one or more female founders.
Borski Fund: investing in Netherlands-based companies that reduce the gender gap.
Marigold Capital: investing in in Canada-based underrepresented founders with technology-enabled products and services that deliver value to women, BIPOC, and underserved groups.
Scale Investors: a female-focused member-based Angel Investor network that invests in exceptional female founders in Australia.
Enygma Ventures: investing in women-led businesses that have an established track record, a proven revenue model and demonstrated growth in SADC.
Are any global/regional impact investing opportunities missing? Please share the links in the comments below.
Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily updates for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).
This is the first blog post in the series “Resources for impact entrepreneurs”: Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 1.
The European Study “Women-led social enterprises” and Ashoka’s recent report ”Celebrating ChangemakHERS” show that women are deservedly called genuine social entrepreneurs, as they tend to be more engaged in tackling social and environmental issues. It partially explains a lesser gap between men and women impactpreneurs. However, female social entrepreneurs encounter the same challenges as mainstream businesswomen: lack of business skills and visibility, difficulties with acquiring external funding, and other gender-based constraints. Thus, this blog post will be split into two parts:
Opportunities to Learn and Grow
The below programs and accelerators equip women social entrepreneurs with the necessary skills and knowledge in order to support them on their mission to uplift the lives of other women, families, communities, and also promote ecosystem building for female impactrepreneurs.
General and sector-specific opportunities/programsdesigned exclusively for women impactpreneurs
Programs launched with the aim to empower women:
AWE Partners: an online training program that teaches an intentional and strategic approach to women who want to effectively share their gifts, talents, and resources to co-create the better world they dream of.
SoGal Foundation: SoGal Academy with a mission to close the global diversity gap in entrepreneurship and investing. Creating accessible education about investing, founder wellness, breaking into VC, and scaling a startup – brings us one step closer to bridging that gap.
Cartier Women’s Initiative: providing women entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to grow their business and to build their leadership capacity by drawing upon the experience and expertise of academics, practitioners, industry experts, and entrepreneurs and by enabling peer learning.
Inspiring Capital: Return with Purpose Fellowship, a year-long experiential learning program in a cohort of like-minded women with exposure to Inspiring Capital’s broader social impact network.
Ogunte: offering several programs designed for impact women: growing leadership, increased sustainability, sense of connectedness, growth of confidence, enhanced sense of learning.
Women Moving Millions: Philanthropic Leadership Program, for anyone seeking to learn how to be supportive leaders for women and girls’ movement (influence, impact, investment), and a community of peers and leaders for a gender-equal world.
FEM-START: an intentionally inclusive program that seeks to empower women techpreneurs to change the world; supporting women-led startups, based in Europe, that focus on tech or social impact.
IIX Foundation: equipping women with education and knowledge to gain better livelihoods, to start and grow businesses, and to become investors and inclusive businesses that in turn, impact more underserved women.
Girls Who Venture: exploring and expanding knowledge of women entrepreneurship through education, research, knowledge dissemination, and facilitated collaboration, particularly in developing and underdeveloped countries.
Girls in Tech: providing training and resources, experiences and community with a mission to eliminate the gender gap in tech.
She Entrepreneurs: a leadership program for highly motivated women entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa region who are building successful and sustainable businesses with the potential to make a difference in their societies.
High Water Women: virtual events on investing in gender, diversity, and inclusion.
Networking, matchmaking,and mentorship support for women social entrepreneurs:
How Women Lead: a platform for women to connect, learn, find purpose and make an impact.
The Hawthorn Club: an international network for executive women in the energy industry.
Women in Solar Energy: a non-profit network advocating for JEDI principles of justice, equality, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the solar energy industry.
Women in Cleantech and Sustainability: an influential network of professionals to further the roles of women in growing the green economy and making a positive impact on the environment.
Women’s Energy Network: an international organization of professionals who work across the energy value chain.
50/50 Women on Boards: educating, advocating and collaborating to increase the number of women on corporate boards and drive business imperative for corporate action in the US.
Invest For Better: a nonprofit campaign that provides resources for women to become effective impact investors in US.
Solar Sister: recruiting, training women entrepreneurs to build businesses and bring clean energy to their communities in Africa.
LadyAgri: a network of International and African professionals linking agri-businesses with the finance community, social impact funds, through which women-agri- entrepreneurs can develop and upscale their businesses in Africa and Small Island Developing States.
She Loves Tech: an accelerator and bootcamps for diverse founders and startups with transformative impact for women; sectors: health&wellbeing, education, cleantech&sustainability, food&agritech, women’s issues.
Girl Effect Accelerator: a two-week program for entrepreneurs leading wildly innovative startups that are positioned to benefit millions of girls in poverty (in partnership with The Nike Foundation (co-founders of the Girl Effect) and Unreasonable Group).
F-Lane: a 5-week virtual accelerator for impact-driven entrepreneurs who have developed an innovative digital solution that has the potential to impact millions of girls and women around the globe.
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