1. About the Gender Equity Track
Every year since 2013, Seedstars runs its renowned Seedstars World Competition, gathering the most promising startups from over 90 emerging markets for the ultimate prize of up to USD 500,000 in equity investment. The objective of the Gender Equity Track is to drive gender-inclusive training opportunities and catalyse more investment for female founders in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Gender Equity Track consists of the following key components: 1) Gender Lens Training 2) Gender Lens Investment and 3) Gender-Balanced Representation.
The Gender Equity Track was piloted after a 2018 analysis showed that from the 5’000 applications the Seedstars World competition received the previous year in 2017, only 14% were female-led businesses, and only 3% of women applicants made it to the top 10 in each country. However, the 3% of women entrepreneurs in the Seedstars World initiative represented some of the strongest candidates and best performing investment portfolio companies.
“This triggered the need to better understand how to support women founders,” states Alisée de Tonnac, Co-Founder at Seedstars. “As a female entrepreneur myself, I am aware of the challenges faced by women when entering predominantly male business environments, especially when it comes to raising funds. We at Seedstars invite all the entrepreneurship ecosystem players to change the narrative and start taking action in gender equality initiatives, such as The Gender Equity Track”.
One of the leading examples is MEDSAF, the world’s largest Pan-African pharma-tech company directing and influencing the flow of medications through complicated supply chains, which raised $ 1.5 million in investment and is part of the Seedstars International portfolio.
“It’s time to change the narrative and you have the power to do so.”
2. Aims of the Gender Equity Track
It all started in 2019 when Seedstars, in partnership r with the German Development Agency (GIZ), launched a pilot of the Gender Equality Track with the purpose of enabling female entrepreneurs from Sub-Saharan African countries to participate in training and to open investment opportunities.. One of the key findings of the pilot was that female-led startups are more comfortable pitching in front of female investors.
This year, Seedstars rebranded the project to The Gender Equity Track and is scaling this program to 25+ countries in the region with the goal of increasing investment in female-led startups. In 2021, the objective is to be able to run this initiative in 90+ emerging markets across the globe. By 2025, Seedstars aims to achieve a gender-equal investment portfolio.
Our goal is to source 500 female-led startups from Sub-Saharan Africa to join the yearly Seedstars World Competition.
By participating in the Seedstars World Competition, startups get customised training and mentorship from our global community of entrepreneurship experts and industry leaders, as well as get the chance to receive up to USD 500,000 of equity investment from Seedstars International or one of the investors in its network
Interested startups can apply at the website: genderequity.seedstars.com.
3. Gender Equity vs Gender Equality
Seedstars decided to rebrand the project from “Gender Equality” to “Gender Equity Track”.Why? Gender equity refers to the process of being fair to women and men. To ensure fairness, strategies and measures must often be available to compensate for women’s historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise operating on a level playing field. Equity leads to equality (UNFPA, 2005).
If gender equality is the end, gender equity is the means.
Gender equality requires equal enjoyment by women and men of socially-valued goods, opportunities, resources and rewards.
Read the full Position Paper here
Digital Education is the Future and These Startups Are Here for It
Rarely has the education system been as shaken as in the last 12 months. Years of slow progress towards digitalization and new learning methods have been replaced by mandatory use of long distance communication tools, new testing methods, and a lot of creativity from teachers and parents on how to engage children in learning. With apps and different online tools becoming a part of children’s lives, it is no wonder that the EdTech startup scene has been flourishing.
According to Crunchbase, venture funding for EdTech reached 4.1 billion USD in the first seven months of 2020, which is 1.5 billion USD more than in the same time frame a year before. It is also the highest amount raised in that frame for the past five years. Most of these deals are still for U.S. based companies, with big players like Skillshare and Materclass raising funds in Series D and E, respectively. Some of the biggest deals are also in China, for example Yuanfudao raised a billion USD in Series G and Zuoyebang raised 750 million USD in Series E.
EdTech wins two years in a row
Many emerging markets are still missing the necessary infrastructure and policies working towards keeping children in school though. Due to low income, children are often forced to leave school and work at a very young age. This is why digital education is especially important in these markets. It is often an answer to issues that involve education inaccessibility and high costs, providing an innovative and quality learning environment to children.
How Diversification Helped Switzerland During the Pandemic
It is well known that Switzerland has one of the strongest economies in the world. With the OECD grouping them into the high-income countries and the second highest GDP in the world, even economy newbies know that this small central-European country is synonymous with stability and prosperity.
The business environment is an interesting mix of world-famous companies, top-notch universities and research facilities, SMEs and startups working in a relatively small geographical area. Ranging from medicine, precious metals and gemstones, heavy machinery, to tobacco, chocolate and luxury perfumes and cosmetics, the 310 billion USD exports can compete with countries with more resources and population.
The Swiss economy is based on a highly qualified labour force working in specialized industries, with the main economic activities being pharmaceuticals, machinery, food and financial services. The “land of watches” can boast its high-class motors, generators, turbines and a whole range of other deep tech products. Continuous investments in research and development (about 3 percent of total GDP) has not only diversified the existing industries, but made it one one of the best places to do business.
Ericsson Innovation Awards 2021
As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, the digital divide is growing. Economic, geographic, gender and access factors have left vast portions the global population at a severe disadvantage. The causes are many, including lack of infrastructure, resources and the high cost of devices. Your challenge is to identify a digital divide and develop a solution to bridge it.
How to participate
To enter the awards, you must register with a complete entry by August 5, 2021, 13:00 CET (2:00PM EAT).
A ‘complete entry’ means all required questions are answered and you have registered up to four total team members, all of whom are currently enrolled students pursuing a university degree. To qualify, each team member must be pursuing a higher vocational or academic degree (undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate), and graduating on or after the end date of the Semi-finalist period (September 13, 2021).
We strongly encourage you to embrace diversity and inclusiveness by bringing team members from different disciplines, cultures, life experience and skill sets. We’ve found that diverse teams often produce the most inspired ideas.
Entries are allocated into seven regions, depending on where your university is based.
By registering with a complete submission, you will automatically be entered to compete in the regional competition and will be eligible to be considered for the Global Semi-finals.
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