Our European think-tank, The Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications, has opened the doors to applications for the fifth edition of its F-LANE programme, the initiative aiming supporting digital solutions that enable a global social impact on female empowerment. Are you a social entrepreneur with a purposeful idea that can create impact for women? Apply here or read on to learn more.
What is it?
Founded in 2016 by the Vodafone Institute, F-LANE seeks to identify innovation tech start-ups with a focus on women, which looks at achieving a broad societal impact. As well as being commercially viable, successful ideas make a measurable impact and focus on technology and the empowerment of women in tech, who are currently underrepresented in the sector.
The pandemic and a spur of innovation
The severity of 2007’s global economic recession varied from country to country, but most can agree that we were living through hard times. Nonetheless, individuals created concepts and ideas that later turned into companies, eventually making their way through the bleak deluge of financial plunder. That same economic crash gave us Uber, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Groupon, and Slack – and whilst we might be living through challenging times, it would seem that such difficulties are a catalyst for innovation.
This year, innovation is closer to home for the Vodafone Institute as they look to host the fifth edition of F-LANE remotely and virtually with digital coaching and webinars, to meet the logistical and economic challenges posed by COVID-19. This would not be possible were it not for new implementation partners, Yunus Social Business (YSB) and WLOUNGE. YSB’s vision lies in supporting and growing social businesses with large companies who want to see business in a different way, while WLOUNGE will contribute its expertise in gender lens investing – the practice of investing for financial return while also considering the benefits to women, both economically and socially. The new implementation partners are alongside founding partners Social Entrepreneurship Akademie (SEA) and the Impact Hub Berlin.
Inger Paus, Managing Director of the Vodafone Institute, said: “…we will take up COVID-19 as a current topic for women as agents of change and support sustainable solutions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic for them, their families and communities,"
Paresh Modi, Head of Business Development and Innovation at Vodafone Group and member of the F-LANE advisory panel, said: “During a period when we’ve seen an accelerated shift of services online, Vodafone’s commitment to building a digital society for all couldn’t be more important. F-LANE only started in 2016 but in that short time it’s had a real positive impact, paving the way for beneficial projects such as Wazi Vision, bringing affordable eye-care and sustainable glasses to Africa.”
Applicants have until 31 July 2020 to submit their ideas, and they can do so through the F-LANE website. Ten selected start-ups will partake in the F-LANE virtual accelerator programme in September 2020.
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