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Vodafone Institute launches the next round of F-LANE

03 Jun 2019Digital Society

Women found only 17%[1] of technology start-ups globally and in Europe that number is even lower at 15%[2].

At the Vodafone Institute we are addressing that under-representation by launching the fourth year of F-LANE, the first accelerator in the world empowering women in the tech sector.

Anne Dörner from the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie meets entrepreneurs at the Vodafone Institute Accelerator for Female Empowerment F-Lane; Impact HUB, Berlin; February 2017. Photo credit: Vodafone Institute.

The programme has a mission to increase the participation of women in developing technology and to empower women of all ages around the world using technology.

F-LANE collaborates with the Impact Hub Berlin and the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie to find innovative start-ups from around the world that focus on women, provide an enterprising idea to a social problem and have the potential to make a big impact.

In the past four years we have already had some notable alumni. Wazi Vision is a venture based in Kampala Uganda that provides affordable eye care to children aged 6 -15 using an app (mobile eye screening application and virtual reality) to diagnose vision defects and provide eye glasses made from recycled plastic.

Katharina Schiederig (DigiSitter), Ruth Nabembezi (Ask Without Shame) and Brenda Katwesigye (Wazi Vision) at F_LANE, February 2017. Photo credit: Vodafone Institute.

Doctory’s founders aim to make the healthcare system in Pakistan more transparent through a search engine that uses machine learning and a review-based feedback mechanism to provide patients with reliable health care information and services.

The Doctory founders (l-r) Talha Naveed and Maliha Khalid. Photo credit: Vodafone Institute.

Successful applicants for the class of 2019 class will participate in the intensive seven-week accelerator programme. We will focus on these four areas:

  • Funding

- €12,000 seed capital as start-up support;

- Networking with other investors, venture capital providers and business angels.

  • Advice & Coaching

- experienced mentors for every start-up;

- individual roadmaps for every start-up; and

- advice from external experts (technology consultants, Vodafone experts etc.).

  • Training

- individual training sessions geared to the needs of each start-up.

  • Networks

- link-up with the global ‘Vodafone family’;

- attendance of diverse conferences; and

- access to the global Impact Hub Network (100 impact hubs around the world) and the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie network.

The online application process for the 7-week accelerator programme starting 4 October 2019 in Berlin is now open. Applications can be submitted to www.f-lane.com/online-application until 7 June 2019.

Inger Paus is Managing Director of the Vodafone Institute and Chair of the Management Board of the Vodafone Foundation Germany. The institute is Vodafone’s European think-tank, analyzing the potential of digital technologies and their responsible use for innovation, growth and sustainable social impact.


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[1] Crunchbase (2017): https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/19/in-2017-only-17-of-startups-have-a-female-founder/

[1] TNW (2018): https://thenextweb.com/eu/2018/07/10/the-eu-sucks-for-women-tech-founders/

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Inclusion
  • Startups
  • Vodafone Institute