The three-month FEW Accelerator programme offers entrepreneurs access to investors, mentors, funding and publicity

Venture capital funding has surged overall in recent years, but female-founded startups have yet to see their funding amounts rise at the same pace. The gender funding gap remains a problem—in Asia and across the world. In Southeast Asia, female-founded startups only accounted for 17.2 percent of all private capital raised in 2021, reported DealStreet Asia

Stepping in to help level the playing field is Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW), one of Asia’s largest networks for female founders and business executives, and its new initiative, the FEW Accelerator

"Even when women have an amazing product and potential to grow, it can be challenging for them to make inroads, find the right investors and ultimately ask for financing," says Ines Gafsi, who co-founded FEW with Anna Wong in Hong Kong in 2015. "We strive to empower female founders by creating a network of investors and through the FEW Accelerator programme."

The FEW Accelerator builds on the success of the platform’s incubator programme in 2021, where 13 female-led startups received cash grants totalling more than HK$1 million (about US$127,400). With the new three-month accelerator programme, FEW aims to bridge the funding gap by providing female founders with access to mentors, investors, marketing resources, and cash investments of up to US$100,000 for a 5 to 10 percent equity share.

Read more: How We Can Use Web3 to Break Gender Biases and Create a More Equal World

Since it was established seven years ago, FEW has built an extensive Asia-wide network comprising more than 20,000 members, 1,800 investors and 100 corporate partners, including UBS, Credit Suisse and KPMG. 

Its new accelerator programme is open to female entrepreneurs from across Asia, particularly those in the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) space or whose startup is targeting a female audience.

Their companies must also have been established for at least 18 months and are looking to scale their reach across the region, with a go-to-market strategy laid out. 

Applications for the FEW Accelerator are now open until June 15. The programme begins on July 1 until September 30. For more information or to apply, visit FEW’s website.

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