Electrify Accelerator launches


23rd February, 2022

NZ’s first accelerator for women-led startups launches

This week, Ministry of Awesome announced the launch of Electrify Accelerator, which aims to help more women founders succeed in business.

Women entrepreneurs seeking to turbocharge the growth of their business concepts now have a tailor-made solution at their disposal.

Electrify Accelerator, led by the Ministry of Awesome, brings together some of Aotearoa’s most experienced venture capital firms, startup founders and mentor teams to deliver a competitive, 12-week program for women- and non-binary-led startups.

Backed by MBIE and NZ Growth Capital Partners, with expertise from Amazon Web Services and MYOB, the accelerator is designed to offer its founders ‘every necessary tool for success’.

“Electrify Accelerator is bringing every corner of the startup and innovation ecosystem together for the very first time, to give these women founders the best possible chance at taking their startup to the next level,” said Ministry of Awesome’s Chief Awesome Officer, Marian Johnson.

“Each of the partners share a vision for a more diverse, high performing sector, and Electrify Accelerator is only our first step towards achieving participation that better represents the population of our country.”

10 teams to join inaugural program

The Electrify Accelerator program is currently open for applications, of which, 10 successful applicants will have 12 weeks to take their startup from its early stages of conception, through to becoming an investable, scalable business.

The majority of the program is to be delivered online, with two in-person events in Christchurch bookending the experience.

The Ministry of Awesome is particularly keen to hero women founders due to the fact they are both underrepresented in the field, despite the fact that ‘women-led startups are more capital-efficient, achieve 35 percent higher return on investment, and, when venture-backed, bring in 12 percent higher revenue’ than their men-led counterparts.

READ: Startup accelerators in Australia and New Zealand

While the poor representation of women in startups is well documented, Johnson said efforts to bring about genuine change have, until now, been too limited.

“Yes, the quality of our STEM educational offering and lack of participation in STEM by girls and young women is an important factor for why we’re not seeing them coming through in volume to startup and innovation.

“However, it is important for us to look for more immediate wins,” she said.

And that means providing connections and direction for ambitious women founders.

“Electrify Accelerator is a chance to build community, mentorship, and a clearer path toward success for Aotearoa’s wāhine founders.

“Being a startup founder is hard. Doing it in isolation is impossible,” said Johnson.

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VC firms putting “competition aside for the collective good”

Rob Everett, Chief Executive of the NZGCP, highlighted the fact that venture capital firms of all stripes have backed the initiative, demonstrating the appetite for change.

“It’s promising that so many different firms are willing to put competition aside for the collective good of our industry’s future.

“It’s in everyone’s best interests to see more women building startups, so we need to do something about it,” he said.

Applications to join the program are open until early April via the Electrify Accelerator website.