All-Girl Incubator Sparks Social Change

Image source: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/COIqRX5WsAAkKrf.jpg

Image source: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/COIqRX5WsAAkKrf.jpg

Outbox Incubator, a programme developed by Stemettes, is a South London incubator exclusively for European Girls. It brings together up to 115 young women (between the ages of 11 and 22) from around the EU to develop their businesses, which focus on solving relevant community issues such as food security and chronic illnesses. The initiative provides “seed funding, intensive mentorship, and support” to its participants.

A selection of the 45 annual participants live together in a house in London for 6 weeks to carry out their projects. This involves a three-week “Germination” phase, a “Demo Day,” and another three week-incubation “phase.” During the Germination period, girls are invited to explore their entrepreneurial identity and learn more about the business development process including ideation, business operations, and pitching. On Demo Day, girls present their ideas to angels and mentors. The final incubation period helps girls further develop and launch their businesses including by developing a revenue model and customer development plan. The girls have meetups every six weeks for a year after they complete the program.

Salesforce Foundation funded the project. Other partners include HRH The Princess Royal, Microsoft, and O2 Think Big/Telefonica. Prospective partners can get involved here.

The previous round of Outbox ended in September. Projects included Hollerr, a wearable device that records and geo-tags street harassment to facilitate legal action for victims as well as Free Feet, which uses lasers to help wearers suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

According to Stemettes co-founder, Jacquelyn Gunderley, the environment is incredibly supportive, though competition does exist, for example, before Demo Day. However, she believes the girls benefit from having a female-only space to develop their ideas. Most importantly, even if the girls’ businesses don’t succeed at first, this environment empowers them to continue entrepreneurial pursuits, and not feel limited or intimidated as may be the case in traditional male-dominated entrepreneurial environments.

Applications are open between April and June of each year and the program will continue in 2016.

You can find more information on Outbox Incubator on their website or follow the girls’ journeys on Twitter @OutboxIncubator.

Source: Stemettes; Outbox Incubator; Jacquelyn Gunderly, The Guardian