Spring, an accelerator that just launched is taking a different a totally different approach from the rest. Spring aims to find, fund and advise up to 90 entrepreneurs who are developing products aimed specifically at the millions of girls in Africa and around the world who live in abject poverty.
The new accelerator already has seven partners, including the Nike Foundation, USAID, UKAID, Growth Africa, GRM, Context Partners and fuseproject, the design and branding firm run by Swiss designer Yves Béhar.
During the first year, Spring partners will choose up to 18 entrepreneurs who apply through the accelerator’s website. Each entrepreneur, if chosen, gets $80,000 up front and spends time in Kenya, Rwanda or Ethiopia. Future expansion plans include Tanzania, Ethiopia, Bangaladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
Fuseproject’s director of Business Innovation, Roo Rogers, called poverty-stricken adolescent women in developing countries “very little understood, often misrepresented and mis-designed for.” Spring’s partners are trying to change that by having local teens help decide which Spring applicants actually gets picked.
About 2,500 people have already downloaded the online application, with a month left until the deadline.