Eligibility Criteria
Overview timeline
Be part of us

Accelerator Programme

A multi-stage acceleration programme for start-ups with locally driven innovative digital solutions for sustainable development.

With our current cohort we focus on scalable solutions with positive impact on the environment/climate, gender equality and education.


5 countries

Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, Senegal








3 sectors


Women and girls make up half the global population and therefore half its potential. However, gender inequality in various forms still persists everywhere and hinders sustainable economic growth and social progress. Similarly, this disparity between genders is also reflected in the access to digital technology.

Whether it is providing equal education access or increasing access to adaptive microfinance, technology provide endless possibilities to improving quality of life and enabling women and girls to participate in building resilient communities.


Climate change affects all communities globally with increasingly severe weather pattern changes, rising sea levels and extremely high greenhouse gas emissions. Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC will require drastic changes in all aspects of society. Furthermore, the poorest and most vulnerable people are affected the most.

Digital innovations that contribute to climate and environmental action can deliver scalable solutions to enable countries to increase local adaptation efforts across all communities and advance quicker towards cleaner and more resilient economies.


Good quality and accessible education is a crucial foundation for sustainable development. In addition to improving quality of life, it equips locals with tools to further develop innovative solutions to global problems. According to the UN, 617 million children and adolescents lack minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics, and up to 750 million adults still remain illiterate.

Digital technology has a high potential to help propel forward impoverished communities, and to help youth gain relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills for employment.

Eligibility Criteria

Have a clear business case and feasible financial sustainability for future/current revenue model

Digital innovation solution is operational & has been introduced to the market & its intended users

Have potential for scale and significant replication to maximise impact

Have a digital innovation that delivers positive impact in the areas of Gender Equality, Environmental Climate Action or EduTech

Being locally-driven or locally-led from one of these 5 countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, and Senegal

about the accelerator programme

The Innovation Factory Digital Innovation Accelerator is a multi-stage programme that includes a 6-month acceleration programme and a final competition.

6-month in local countries
Short listed Teams
winning teams



Call for applications open to start-ups, companies, non-profits to submit innovations for sustainable development: Gender Equality, EduTech or Environmental Climate Action.

Submit your application & tell us why your innovation idea/prototype needs acceleration & funding support.


From all applications an expert jury selects 45 teams with the most promising digital innovation solutions for our current focus sectors Gender Equality, EduTech and Environmental Climate Action-related topics. These  teams participate in our 6 months  Acceleration programme where they benefit from:

  • Capacity building support
  • Business model refinement
  • Pitch strategy training
  • SDG impact optimization
  • Investment readiness support
  • Dynamic peer-learning
  • Access to Innovation Factory’s network


At the end of the acceleration phase, the teams  submit their refined business plans to compete for the final prize:
12 winning teams will receive tailored support packages worth up to 15.000€ each that will go into further development of their products and/or the scaling of their start-ups. Additionally, successful teams will also profit from the Innovation Factory’s network.

in support packages


Applicants are not assessed based on education qualifications.

Applicants must have a digital innovation that contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the areas of Gender Equality, Environmental/Climate Action or EduTech. The digital innovation solution should also be operational & has been introduced to the market & its intended users. 

Yes. Your digital innovation solution ideally should be operational & has been introduced to the market & its intended users.

The Accelerator supports digital innovation start-ups who have been established and are entering growth stage. Applications should present a clear business case and feasible financial sustainability for its future/current revenue model. Applications that have potential for scale and significant replication to maximise impact will be highly favoured.

Start-ups that are led by women or youth innovators are highly encouraged to apply. 

The Accelerator programmes will be held in-person in the respective local countries. More information about venue and dates will be revealed in due time. Please be sure to select the correct countries in your application. 

Yes, please apply! Involvement in the Digital Innovation Bootcamp does not affect applicants‘ eligibility to participate in the Accelerator.

Applying to the Accelerator does not require you to provide information about your „start-up secrets“ or intelligence. You are not required to disclose information about details of your proprietary technology.

However, the application will ask for information that demonstrates your business progress, funding status, and market opportunity. This information is critical to help us evaluate your fit for the Accelerator.

We do not provide accommodation and travel expenses. The Accelerator programme will take place in 5 countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, and Senegal. Applicants are encouraged to participate in the Accelerator in their home country.

Once you’ve submitted your application, the Innovation Factory jury team evaluates all applications based on a predefined set of eligibility criteria.

If your digital innovation and team fits the Accelerator eligibility requirements, we will be in touch with more information about the Accelerator programme in your local country. All applicants will be notified of their application results, whether successful or not.

Applicants who have not been short-listed to join the Accelerator programme would still receive an opportunity to have their digital innovations profiled on the Innovation Factory website. It’s one way to get additional visibility on the international scene.  

Congratulations! You will then be invited to join the Digital Innovation Accelerator which will provide capacity building support, guidance in business model refinement, support to become investment ready, help in optimising SDG impacts, and develop a comprehensive business plan, all delivered through a dynamic peer-learning environment.

Overview timeline

3 Dec 2019–02 Mar 2020

Call for applications open

Mar 2020

Internal jury shortlisting

Apr 2020

Shortlisted teams contacted

May 2020–Okt 2020

Accelerator Programme begins
6-months in local countries

Okt 2020

Final submission of business plans
Teams that successfully complete the Accelerator programme compete for final prize valued at €15,000 per start-up.

Nov 2020

Final announcement of winners
12 Final teams selected to receive final prize valued at €15,000 per start-up.

success stories