Female Foundry, an accelerator programme for female founders, has returned for its second year. It is an initiative by Dentsu Aegis Network, a group of companies specialising in marketing and communications, to educate, mentor and provide funding access to leading female-founded startups leveraging technology to promote economic sustainability.
Why Do We Need to Support Female Founders?
Women are now capitalising on the opportunity to thrive as entrepreneurs. The most challenging aspect of starting a business is the amount of time it takes before seeing any profits. This is exacerbated when many women entrepreneurs are self funding through their own savings as funding is not readily accessible.
A study by a global business performance agency, iProspect, titled “Hear Her Voice” revealed women entrepreneurs seek technical skills and personal development to grow and scale in the next 12 months. 20% of female startup founders also intend to raise capital and source further financial backing. Over 90% of successful women entrepreneurs also said they would mentor future female startup founders at the beginning at the journey.
There is a tangible opportunity to bring women together and provide leadership, inspiration and valuable skills to current and future entrepreneurs. By taking this group of motivated women entrepreneurs and investing in targeted efforts to support them, Dentsu Aegis Network hopes to contribute a small part to unleashing what could be a great force for economic growth around the region.
What to Expect in the Accelerator Programme?
In partnership with Female Founders and West Tech Fest, Female Foundry, will provide shortlisted Southeast Asia-based female entrepreneurs access to tools and networks, training to scale platforms, and skills to create commercially viable businesses over a six week-long programme.
In addition to education and mentorship, the programme culminates with a demo day to help secure possible second round funding, a key hurdle for female-led startups in this region. This year, Bill Tai, Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist and founder of ACTAI Global, will join the programme as both an advisor and judge on demo day.
“Female Foundry helps prepare startups by equipping them with the necessary tools, networks, skills, and strategy to thrive in the digital economy. Through Female Foundry, we hope to provide a platform that will support and empower women in emerging markets where 80% of the global middle class will live in 10 years. Next year, we plan to extend the programme into Latin America and Africa as part of our plan to roll Female Foundry out to 30 markets around the world in 30 months,” Nick Waters, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific.
The programme will partner shortlisted participants with senior industry mentors including Darshini Santhanam, APAC Marketing, Microsoft Advertising, Paula Taylor, Executive Director & Co-founder, West Tech Fest, as well as Katarina Hasbani, General Manager of Female Founders.
The demo day winner will then be sponsored to travel to West Tech Fest, Australia’s premier innovation festival held in Perth, to present their winning idea at its 2017 Startup Challenge in December.
Joanna Catalano, CEO of iProspect Asia Pacific and a key driver of the Female Foundry initiative in the region, said: “Dentsu Aegis Network is thrilled to lead the industry in supporting female entrepreneurs from emerging markets. We continue to support initiatives which leverage tech for good and drive meaningful and lasting change in society. Building on the success and learnings from last year and in partnership with leading influencers, we are delighted to welcome our second cohort of founders.”
Applications for Female Foundry open today until 19 October 2017 (extended to Thursday, 26 October 2017). Applicants should be female-founders with tech-enabled startups based in Southeast Asia. They should also have a sustainable, long-term business plan in place. Interested participants can apply at www.thefemalefoundry.com.