After two successful years in partnership together, Future Females and the UK Government’s International Tech Hub Network, have committed to increasing their support for female founders around the world through the Digital Access Programme. The partnership has pledged to support an additional 1,330 early-stage female entrepreneurs through the Future Females Business School by March 2022, in addition to the 316 female founders who have already benefited from this innovative programme.
While 42.1 per cent of women see the opportunity to start a business, just 10.2 per cent of women are actually taking action, in fact, the female entrepreneurship participation rate has declined in 41 per cent of countries in the past 2 years (GEM, 2020). On top of this, the recent pandemic has been crippling for many female-led business, with a December 2020 Future Females community survey finding 36.7 per cent of entrepreneurs saying COVID-19 had a very negative impact on their business, and 75 per cent stating they have an urgent priority to understand how to better leverage technology to meet the new market needs.
The partnership between the UK’s International Tech Hub Network and Future Females is a commitment to providing female entrepreneurs with the resources they need to gain digital skills and access the support needed to confidently start and grow their tech-based businesses, through the Future Females Business School accelerator program. This support is resourced through the UK Government’s Digital Access Programme and will be offered to women across South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia and Brazil and will focus on supporting priority sectors (i.e. EdTech, HealthTech, FinTech, AgriTech), and will also include a specific program designed to support entrepreneurs in the GreenTech sector.
Minister for Media and Data John Whittingdale said:
“We are proudly supporting female tech entrepreneurs around the world as part of our work to promote gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, and to help boost sustainable economic growth in partner countries.
“Technology has huge potential to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges and this programme will back innovators in addressing vital issues such as climate change and public health.”
“We’re delighted to be able to expand the work successfully tested in South Africa to other key markets – such as Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Brazil, supported by our International Tech Hub Network and the wider Digital Access Programme. We’re seeing incredible economic and social impact through the growth of digitally-enabled small businesses led by women who participate in the Future Females initiative. This aligns with the UK’s robust focus on gender equality, diversity, and inclusion coupled with sustainable economic growth in partner countries around the world”. – states Alessandra Lustrati, Head of Digital Development, FCDO, UK Government
“Since launching Future Females Business School in 2018, we have received over 8,000 applications from women with high potential digital-based business ideas, who could not afford the program fees. Now, in partnership with the UK Government, we are so excited to be able to extend these women the opportunity to participate, and to see their dream businesses come to life!” – States Lauren Dallas, CEO of Future Females.
What is the Future Females Business School Programme?
The Future Females Business School Programme is a three-month virtual accelerator programme, that combines a proven training methodology, with coaching, mentoring, and peer-to-peer learning, to equip female entrepreneurs with the entrepreneurial skills and best practices needed to start and grow successful and sustainable businesses, that utilise technology to not only generate wealth for themselves, but to have a positive impact in their community, and environment.
Since originally partnering with the UK-South Africa Tech Hub in April 2018, this collaboration has enabled 316 female entrepreneurs to graduate from the program, with participants seeing an 88 percent increase in digital skills development, 95 per cent uplift in confidence, and on average a 168 percent revenue increase in their businesses.
Who are these Programmes for?
The Future Females Business School, in partnership with the International Tech Hub Network, is for female entrepreneurs from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia, and Brazil, with an early-stage tech-based business or business idea that has the potential to make a positive social, economic or environmental impact. The programme is gender-inclusive, encouraging cisgender women, transgender and non-binary people to apply. Male founders and co-founders supporting women’s digital entrepreneurship are also welcome.
Who is the International Tech Hub Network?
The International Tech Hub network is delivered by DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport), under the Digital Access Programme, a UK cross-government initiative designed to promote digital inclusion and inclusive growth of the digital ecosystems in partner countries. The International Tech Hubs are expert teams which work to stimulate local digital economies, build high-end digital skills, and forge innovation partnerships between local tech sectors and international businesses. There are expert teams operating in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia and Brazil. Through the Hubs’ activities, entrepreneurs and founders acquire the skills, resources and support needed to turbocharge their entrepreneurial journey.
Who is Future Females?
Future Females is a movement that exists to increase the number of and better support the success of female entrepreneurs. At its core Future Females is a community, operating in nearly 50 cities around the world, and with a rapidly growing membership of over 80,000 members. Future Females Business School is their core program, supporting early-stage female founders with training, coaching, mentorship, community support and access to the resources they need to build sustainable and scalable businesses.
How to apply?
You can join the for future programmes in Kenya, South Africa, or Nigeria. The application requires that you fill in a form and share information about your business. Successful candidates will be invited to a one-on-one interview with a programme team member. This interview will help you validate your business idea and direction, and ensure this programme is the best fit for you. Please note that application dates vary based on the region.
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