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WaiACCELERATE - Towards a more gender-diverse AI Startup Ecosystem

Updated: Sep 29


Part 2: The WaiACCELERATE Method!




Assuming that you have read the part 1 of this post – “It’s All Complicated… Women Entrepreneurship Global Trends & Statistics” – let’s start this blog post from “…and that is where WaiACCELERATE comes in”.


WaiACCELERATE (www.womeninai.co/waiaccelerate) is a novel business acceleration program by Women in AI that was initiated by Eve Logunova, Ambassador Women in AI in the Netherlands, and is executed in 2020 by this dedicated team. This initiative targets women innovators looking to start a business in the fields of AI, Machine Learning and Data Science. With a focus on promoting ethical leadership and social impact, WaiACCELERATE has designed various modules and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of female-led innovative startups that use AI-related technology and are committed to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.


"WaiACCELERATE is the only program which we are part of that truly helps us with the specific problems of our startup. The very dedicated WaiACCELERATE team has helped us through many problems - like cash flow, visibility, logo design, communications, conference attendance, promotions, investment help, AWS credits and more. The members of the team are very friendly, responsive and provide in-depth expertise in various fields. Thank you for your incredible support! - Ekaterina Stambolieva, Founder of Nina Space (Portugal)


WaiACCELERATE is a nine month long online program designed to help participants develop, nurture and grow their entrepreneurial dreams into competitive and profitable business ventures. The modules for the program have been carefully crafted to:

  • help budding entrepreneurs learn the skills and master the tools to both monetize their business ideas and create social impact;

  • identify and access the necessary resources;

  • build a world class-team and lead it in an ethical way;

  • successfully market their ideas to potential stakeholders and partners; and

  • gain visibility among investors to secure early-stage funding.

Since its inception in February 2020, the program became highly successful. Piloted for the Netherlands market at first, it attracted participants from across the globe. There are 30 actively enrolled women founders representing Australia, France, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, the UK, and the US.

“Being part of the WaiACCELERATE family has been a game changer for our startup. It’s not just the exceptional experts and workshops they lead that informs our work, it is also the doors they have opened up for us to communicate and engage in collaborative thinking with the likes of IBM, Amazon Web Services and Oracle for Startups, and to meet investors.” - Davar Ardalan, Founder of IVOW (USA)

Over the course of nine months, the participants have been receiving hands-on online training on various aspects of entrepreneurship from accomplished industry, tech and business professionals. The course is spread out into more than 20 workshops covering topics such as:


Developing Your AI idea & Concept validation;

Building a world-class team and culture;

Ethical & unbiased leadership;

MVP & Winning lean startup practices;

AI Explained & Building a data-proof business;

Monetizing on your AI idea (Commercial & Financial strategies);

Legal Aspects for startups (funding, shares, law & patents);

Personal Branding & Communications.


Please see the full program here.


WaiACCELERATE’s strategic partners - StartupAmsterdam, Smart Health Amsterdam, AWS, Oracle for Startups, IBM, VirBELA, and Inspired Minds (World Summit AI) - together with 16 knowledge partners, provide a rich and diverse pool of resources to facilitate these workshops.The workshops were interspersed with several WaiTALK events on varied areas of interest in the AI domain, all geared towards sustaining the conversation around increasing female participation in the field.

“Oracle for Startups is delighted to be supporting and working with WaiACCELERATE! At Oracle we believe innovation starts with diversity and inclusion. We are lucky to have many incredible female entrepreneurs working with Oracle for Startups but we also recognise that there is a huge disparity between male and female founded startups, and as a program we are committed to nurture and promote females and minorities within our community,” - Amy Sorrells, Director, Global Communications at Oracle for Startups.

“Working with WaiACCELERATE has been a tremendous pleasure. The program provides an important platform and support mechanism to women entrepreneurs both those, who are already well versed in the world of AI, as well as those who have a budding interest based on their startup ideas. It is an honor and privilege being part of the journey for these startups, several of which have potential social impact and to contribute towards their launch and scale," - Anna C Mallon , Senior Startup & Ecosystem BD Manager at AWS.

Via the partnership with the leading global Tech companies - AWS, Oracle for Startups and IBM - WaiACCELERATE team has also provided the participants with so called “Tech Labs”, offering access to in-depth Tech workshops, on-demand Tech consultations and free Cloud credits. All of which became highly beneficial to the founders during the prototyping phase and for building their data-centered MVPs.

"The WaiACCELERATE programme has provided my co-founder and me with excellent mentorship, and helped us build a brand in the space. Additionally, the credits provided via the IBM Cloud solution will prove very handy as we are building the kind of product that requires a lot of data processing and testing." - Iris Anson, Founder of ETIQ (The UK)

Another strategic support to the founders during the development of their AI ideas and for the go-to-market preparation was enabled via the Mentorship track of WaiACCELERATE. There is no other organization or Accelerator in the field that provides such a highly experienced and engaged cohort of mentors. Please visit this page to get inspired by the expertise and industry focus areas of our mentors.

"Through WaiACCELERATE, I got access to top quality advice and world-class mentors who supported me to form my business idea and take it to the next level. Also, I’ve been supported with Oracle for Startups Tech advice and Cloud credits, that are so beneficial at the stage of prototyping. WaiACCELERATE has also opened for me doors to investors. It would have taken me much longer to get here without their structured program which is perfectly tailored to early-stage entrepreneurs like me.” - Iffat Rose Gill, Founder of Digital Starling (The Netherlands)

To tackle the challenge of early-stage startup funding, for the last months WaiACCELERATE has been building an international board of VCs and angel investors who are interested to invest into women-led, early stage startups that are both commercially-proof and aim to create a positive social impact. From the 19th of October till the 12th of November, there will be an Investor Tour organized for the investors to meet with the women founders, learn about their startups and ask them questions. If you are an investor and interested to take part in this initiative, please visit this page to select the startups you would like to meet with and schedule a meeting for the month of October.

“With the power of AI, my team and I are now capable of offering a recommendation system that is tailored to each client individually. I received support from top industry professionals and mentors. Also, AWS Cloud credits, Tech consulting, and a quick outreach to investors. All of this is priceless as no other Accelerator offers such a tailored program for founders at the beginning of their journey. Thank you, WaiACCELERATE team, for believing in my AI-idea!” – Maria Villanueva, Founder of BeautyQlick (Sweden)

WHAT’S NEXT?

Some interesting WaiACCELERATE events to look out for in the coming months include:


WaiACCELERATE Datathon for Sustainable Future during World AI Week (October 9-12). This is a unique opportunity for participants who are passionate about data science, data analytics and computer vision to contribute to developing impactful solutions that aligned with Sustainable Development Goals 2030. The best team will be recognized at the event with tickets to the World Summit AI "Inspired AI" series. Register here.


WaiACCELERATE Investor Tour (October 19 - November 12) – We are inviting international investors to meet with the WaiACCELERATE women founders, learn about their startups and ask them questions. The Tour will be organized in an innovative way, in the VR premises of VirBELA. If you are an investor and interested to take part in this initiative, please visit this page to select the startups you would like to meet with and schedule a meeting for the month of October.


WaiACCELERATE Pitch event “ACCELER-AI-TE!” (November 19th). It is the main event of the program in a very innovative way with the help of VirBELA. As the title suggests, WaiACCELERATE founders will have to pitch their startup to win over the hearts and minds of investors, VCs, and every attendee in the audience. How exciting! Stay tuned for the announcement on October 21st and join this unique VR Pitch event!


2020 final event – WaiTALK “2020=50/50” (December 10) with a beautifully designed experience for participation. The addressed topics will include the gender gap in the industry, the future of DeepTech, challenges, opportunities, and the power of a united ecosystem. This final event of the year 2020 will also present the platform to assess the outcomes of the WaiACCELERATE program. There is a possibility that this event will be organized in a hybrid way (physical + streaming).

So there you have it; proof that WaiACCELERATE is a game changer in helping nurture and grow ideas into formidable startups. To register for next year’s course, please keep an eye out for the announcement of the commencement of applications here.


Re-imagine The Future. WaiACCELERATE!


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