Success has no gender, opportunity shouldn’t have either
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
- Funding Solutions
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/programs designed 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.
The Coaching Fellowship: a six-month professional coaching fellowship for young women leaders of impact.
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.
European Innovation Council: Women Leadership Programme for innovative entrepreneurs and researchers.
Hatch Enterprise UK: a couple of programs for Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic woman in the UK.
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.
Young Women Social Entrepreneurs: a global network of women change-makers organized and led through volunteer chapter networks.
ChangemakHERS: an online network dedicated entirely to female Ashoka collaborators.
MentHer: a global mentorship network supporting female social entrepreneurs.
H.E.R. Entrepreneur: providing free access to business consultations, training, and conference for underprivileged and abused women to help set beneficiaries up for success.
accelerateHER: focusing on addressing the underrepresentation of women in tech, championing those who are trailblazers in promoting gender equality, and upsetting tired stereotypes.
Empowering Women in Agrifood (EWA): a 6-month program: training, mentoring, business coaching, and networking opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the agrifood sector.
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.
Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation: a community empowering pioneering female entrepreneurs to develop innovations.
Incubators and accelerators for female impactpreneurs:
Ad Astra Ventures: virtual bootcamps and accelerators for the female founders who are redefining the future of business and prioritizing people, values, and a deeper mission above profit.
Technovation Girls: a challenge for teams of young people from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology.
HALO Incubator: providing early-stage women entrepreneurs with the essentials required to fast-track their high-potential start-ups into scalable and successful businesses.
Empow’Her: an incubation program for women-led enterprises with a positive environmental and social impact; geographical coverage: Ivory Coast, Niger, France, Europe.
Springboard Enterprises: coaching and accelerators for women-led companies in technology and life science.
Upaya Social Ventures and MIT D-Lab initiative: a hands-on social business accelerator for early-stage women entrepreneurs.
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.
The Female Founders Lab: an accelerator for female founders with ideas/ventures impacting society.
Women Who Tech: Women Startup Challenge (full support model with mentoring, partnerships, resources, and funding for women tech entrepreneurs with innovative startups).
Female Funders: an educational investor accelerator program designed for female leaders in the corporate and technology sectors.
La Ruche: several incubation programs for social enterprises in France.
We in Social Tech: a London-based accelerator for female social tech founders.
Do you know of other learning opportunities for women impactpreneurs? Do not hesitate to share the links in the comments.
Other useful links on this topic:
- Follow Ogunte on Facebook and Linkedin to be the first to know about regular updates and upcoming deadlines for female social entrepreneurs.
- Collection of resources from the Gender and COVID-19 project and the Gender Working Group
- Information, Grants, and Resources for Women That Own Small Businesses
Other educational programs and accelerators for women-led ventures are listed in the first comment below.
The Part 2: Funding Solutions for Women Impact Entrepreneurs can be found here.
More learning and funding resources for impact ventures can be found in the following blog posts:
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).