In the US, only about 9 percent of venture-backed entrepreneurs are women. Less than 3 percent of the $130B+ given every year out of VC funding goes to female founders. Only about 11 percent of venture capitalists themselves are women.
This is what we learned from Siri Chilazi, Research Fellow for the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School, during our fireside chat with her. She shared with us about the state of gender equality in tech, and we specifically discussed equality in Venture Capital.
“If we can figure out insights that work to increase gender equality in VC, then we can do it everywhere,” Siri said. “Venture capital has a huge role in shaping the society of tomorrow because by deciding which ideas get funded and which ideas get an opportunity to come to fruition, they’re literally shaping what our world will look like in 10-15 years from now.“
Taking that insight, we decided to look into programs, accelerators, incubators, and other opportunities that focus on women Founders and present that list to you.
So here are 21 opportunities for Female Founders to turn their ideas into a business:
1. Female Founder Program by the Founder Institute:
The Founder Institute, the world’s premier pre-seed startup accelerator, is running various virtual and hybrid programs in collaboration with WomenTech Network in Silicon Valley Virtual and other locations across the globe.
The Female Founder Program helps early-stage women entrepreneurs build innovative businesses with the Founder Institute through:
Mentorship and feedback from +100 top entrepreneurs and industry experts
Access to a local and global support network of mentors, investors, and advisors
Introductions to business angels, VCs, and corporates investing globally
Over €1.5MM in partner deals and resources
Several fellowships are awarded to the top applicants, allowing them to participate in the program for free.
2. FemGems Club:
FemGems Club is for early-stage female founders, solo-founders, co-founders, mompreneurs, and side hustlers.
You can be at the idea stage, have an MVP, about to incorporate, or already be generating revenue. FemGems will provide you with the guidance, support, and accountability you need throughout your startup journey.
FemGems Club is a Founder Institute’s Graduate Company.
3. digitalundivided (DID):
digitalundivided serves as a catalyst for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs.
DID offers virtual training programs, fast-paced incubator programs, and best-in-class leadership coaching programs all of which can lead you from START to success. Whether you just have an idea or you’re ready to make the commitment to start your company, you can find a program that fits your progress.
NewME is the first underrepresented founder focused program in the United States.
NewMe has led founders to more than $47 MM in funding. They offer an entrepreneurship education program, serving early-stage business founders and their teams through mentorship, specialized curriculums, and for those companies chosen-- capital investment.
5. MergeLane Venture Fund:
MergeLane invests in high-potential startups and venture capital funds with at least one female leader.
Since its 2015 founding, MergeLane has invested in 48 companies and recruited a network of 300 mentors and 600 investors. MergeLane leverages this network and its focus on Conscious Leadership to prove that diverse leadership teams drive superior investor returns.
6. Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE) Startup Accelerator:
Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE) is a for-profit organization focused on increasing women entrepreneurs' access to growth capital and the number of women investing in early-stage capital markets.
7. Hello Alice:
Hello Alice, the first machine learning technology to help business owners find their path by matching them to personalized opportunities and resources.
Founders Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gorerealized that they could multiply the positive impact on underrepresented business owners through technology.
8. Women’s Startup Lab:
They are a Silicon Valley-based startup and leadership accelerator for women entrepreneurs globally who have a bold vision to lead the wave of innovation and change that is required for growth and competitiveness in today’s economy.
9. The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program:
The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program targets “the missing middle” — women founders who have built profitable small companies, but have not yet found the essential tools needed to scale sustainably.
EY provides program participants evergreen access to resources, networks and know-how, helping to strengthen their abilities to become market leaders.
10. Women’s Business Incubation Program:
Women’s Business Incubation Program is an initiative to enable women to launch their business in the digital space.
They provide office space, digital engagement, mentoring, networking with industry leaders, classes on entrepreneurship, and pitching events for funding.
11. Female Founders:
Female Founders is a community for female entrepreneurial minds in Europe.
They offer an ecosystem based on three main pillars: a low-key community for everyone who identifies themself as an entrepreneurial mind, an online startup accelerator for female-led ventures, a leadership accelerator for female entrepreneurial minds.
12. Hatch Female Founders:
Hatch Female Founders offers practical programs and support for female founders to succeed at business and life.
They have a 6-month accelerator program that combines business training, expert support, coaching, and mentoring; a 4-month incubator program for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic women who want to explore new revenue streams, cost structures, and ways to market; a 2-month launchpad program.
13. Google’s Immersion: Women Founders
Google’s Immersion: Women Founders is a 12-week, skill-building mentorship program for high potential women-led startups selected from startup communities across Europe including the UK and Israel.
The program aims to address predominant challenges for women founders in the startup ecosystem, as unveiled in the Female Founders Monitor, with the aim to close the gender gap.
14. Bridge for Billions:
Bridge for Billions aims to democratize access to entrepreneurship support worldwide.
They support entrepreneurs through programs built with partner organizations and these programs help them subsidize more entrepreneurs through their flagship incubation program, The Leap. About 70 percent of the entrepreneurs they help didn’t have access to other programs.
15. Women Startup Competition:
Women Startup Competition empowers female founders across Europe.
WSC is an independent not-for-profit business incubation platform with the mission to support female entrepreneurs in the critical early years. To date, WSC has completed 6 years of programs, and cumulatively supported 700+ female-founded early-stage startups in 10 countries.
16. Step FWD:
Step FWD supports tech startups with diverse teams through the first stages of their growth.
They offer an 8-week pre-accelerator program, aimed at fueling growth for tech companies with diverse teams.
17. WE Innovate:
The WE Innovate pre-accelerator program champions female entrepreneurs.
The program fits you whether you’re already up and running or have just had that first lightbulb moment.
Grace empowers women with start-up ambitions and supports them in developing and implementing their ideas.
They have formats such as a Summer Camp or various events in their founders' loft in Kreuzberg. Their aim is to create spaces to further develop ideas, creativity and entrepreneurship and to bring the founder community together.
19. WA - Empowering Women in Agrifood:
EWA - Empowering Women in Agrifood aims to reinforce female leadership and wants to support women with ideas or startups in initial phases in the agrifood sector.
It targets especially at rural areas with difficult access to other business incubation programs or training. EWA will be implemented in Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Romania and Turkey.
20. Aviatra Accelerators:
Aviatra Accelerators’s goal is to empower female entrepreneurs.
Through their expertise in business basics, guidance from mentors and coaches, and access to capital, we continuously encourage our members to move forward, and we embrace them when they return, helping to refuel and reignite their passions. They serve markets in Dayton & Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky.
WESST is a home for entrepreneurs, founded 30 years ago by women for women.
As a non-profit, they offer consulting, training, and lending to anyone with the passion to start or grow a business. They serve thousands of clients each year to help them build strong and sustainable businesses that support their families and communities throughout New Mexico.
Are you ready to turn your business idea into reality? We’ve given you the information, now it’s your turn to act. Which program fits your profile? Let us know.