East African girls continue to benefit from SPRING business accelerator

19 businesses committed to making a lasting positive difference to the lives of adolescent girls aged 10-19 from across Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have been chosen for SPRING Accelerator’s third cohort. It is the accelerator’s third cohort, returning to East Africa where it all began in 2015.

SPRING identifies and supports businesses that can bring life-enhancing products and services to this huge population, providing comprehensive business model development and support to its participants – including Human-Centred Design prototyping, prototype funding, investment guidance, global and local mentor and corporate partners who donate in kind expertise, and access to legal expertise through our corporate partner Hogan Lovells.

A five-year programme, SPRING’s mission is to enable ventures to reach 200,000 girls in eight countries with products and services that benefit them by 2019. An estimated 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty worldwide, unable to build assets or safely raise the income needed for a more prosperous life.

Department for International Development UK (DFID), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Nike Foundation and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia (DFAT) have partnered to create the business accelerator based on research showing that girls, when economically empowered, have a unique ability to transform lives and help end the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

This year’s cohort brings together a mix of early, growth and more mature stage businesses whose leadership has made a clear commitment to innovation and girl impact. Each will work with leading Human-Centred Design experts from agency fuseproject, to improve products or services that enable girls to learn, earn, save and stay safe and healthy. From liberating girls from hours of unpaid work in the family farm through procuring them with simple but innovative renewable energy devices, to sophisticated digital solutions that offer essential and private access to healthcare in hygiene products in urban and rural areas. The participants cover a wide range of industry and solutions.

Throughout the cohort timeline participants will research within the ecosystems they operate to understand the challenges girls face, and prototype and implement user-centric innovations – both high and low tech – to tackle them. Find out more about the nine-month cohort curriculum here.

Participant learnings will be shared within the SPRING programme and beyond to inform the private and public sectors about creating long-term impact for girls in these regions.

Ramona Liberoff, SPRING CEO said: “We are pleased and proud to be announcing our second East Africa cohort for SPRING, newly launching in Ethiopia and Tanzania and returning to Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The diversity of our participants is testament to a growing interest in commercial sustainability combined with social benefit. All of the chosen companies have demonstrated commitment to learn and work hard to meet the needs of adolescent girls, across sectors as varied as nutrition, agriculture, technology, and energy and finance. We look forward to bringing these bright teams together to harness the power of Human-Centred Design and user centric research, and to learn from each other’s experiences.”

Roo Rogers, Partner at fuseproject said: “The new cohort of SPRING participants in East Africa is another exciting milestone for our accelerator programme. Each business brings an exceptional combination of creativity, leadership, and passion into the market. By enhancing this capacity with our human-centred approach we will accelerate their potential and continue to establish a new standard for innovation and development, making a meaningful difference for adolescent girls in the region.”

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