FAQ – HerMeNow Accelerator Program

FAQ – HerMeNow Accelerator Program

Welcome to the HerMeNow 2022 Accelerator program to support 10 high-potential social enterprises! ⚡️

We will help grow your business during the program with our project-based learning methodology, supportive funds, and world-class support.

What is the HerMeNow Accelerator program?

The 2022 HerMeNow Accelerator is a short program that will bring training support to up to 30 women-led social enterprises in MENA & Africa in the sprint phase and technical, financial, and mentorship support to 10 women-led social enterprises in the accelerator phase. 

The program is almost entirely remote/online and accessible to enterprises across geographies. The program also offers international exposure to the participants through online events, plus by inviting them to take part in an exciting social entrepreneurship festival in Tuscany, Italy, in November 2022 (funded and organized by the HerMeNow team and its partners). 

The 2022 HerMeNow Accelerator is funded by the Stardust Concept ESG and Impact Division and was initiated by Natacha Fazal Karim, a woman entrepreneur who believes in women empowerment through social entrepreneurship. Social enterprises seek to generate profits while maximizing benefits to society and the environment. The Stardust Concept ESG and Impact Division’s mission is to create social and environmental impact by supporting women-led social enterprises worldwide.

The impact focus is culture, mindset, and education. We strongly believe that it is through these sectors that radical change can happen by unlocking solutions to other critical SDG challenges. 

What are the key dates:

  1. Public Launch and Applications Open on Jun 30, 2022
  2. Open house starts on Jul 25, 2022
  3. The application deadline is on Aug 16, 2022
  4. Enterprises are notified of selection into the sprint by Aug 23, 2022
  5. Sprint starts on Sep 7, 2022 
  6. Sprint Demo day is on Sep 21, 2022
  7. Enterprises are notified of selection into Accelerator by Sep 23, 2022
  8. Accelerator starts on Oct 3, 2022, for 12 weeks (3 months)
  9. In-person training and gathering in Tuscany, Italy, Nov 1-4, 2022, midway through the Accelerator 
  10. Demo day is on/around Jan 10, 2023, online. 

What benefits do I receive from the program?

  • Funding to support an essential aspect of the business could improve growth and sustainability. Each enterprise will get a 2,000$ grant to support the enterprise’s needs and potential impact.
  • Training, mentorship, and other support during the three-month accelerator program 
  • Lifetime access to Bloom’s resources and HerMeNow’s network of entrepreneurs, including mentors, investors, alumni, and staff
  • Demo day exposure and other investor connections

How can we get funded after the program ends?

We provide the seed funding to get you going, but you may need more funding to continue your enterprise efforts. Near the end of the three-month program, we’ll organize a Demo Day to help connect you with investors, funders, and organizations that could help you out in the following stages of your enterprise journey. We’ll coach you, so you’re as effective as possible and do everything we can to help get you follow-on support and funding. 

What language is content delivered in for the program?

The primary language in verbal and written communications during accelerator activities is English. However, we can also offer support and mentorship in Arabic or French. We may adapt those during the program to respond to the needs of enterprises. 

What is a typical day and week for a team during the program?

It’s your enterprise, so you’ll be hard at work on your business, the product, marketing, HR, etc. We’ll have between one and three weekly sessions, ranging from formal workshops to informal discussions with our mentors, trainers, and guests. Some of those are “required,” but many are optional, and we expect enterprises to adapt and join the critical sessions for issues they’re dealing with in their enterprise. We’ll also have required check-ins with each enterprise regularly, usually every month. 

In general, though, you’ll be working on your enterprise daily, just like all of the other founders in the program. We don’t tell you what to do or when, but we create an environment conducive to helping your enterprise daily. And we’ll ensure you have lots of experienced mentors to help you.

What kind of enterprises are we looking for?

Social enterprises that can positively impact culture, mindsets, and education take various forms and work across multiple sectors, including music, arts, sports, media, literature, children’s literature, wellbeing, and more. All are welcome to apply as long as their mission and objectives are aligned with the achievement of culture and mindset towards achieving the SDGs. We’re particularly interested in unlocking change that addresses SDG 1 (end poverty in all its forms everywhere), mostly through job creation, SDG number 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), and SDG number 10 (reduce inequality within and amongst countries). 

How do you choose which enterprises to accept into the program?

We will use the following criteria to assess eligible applications. These are not all requirements, but preferences and enterprises will be weighed on the different elements:

  1. Impact: What difference your idea will make, and for whom, how many jobs you will create, what sort of marginalized communities you will impact, and whether you align with the priority impact areas: culture, mindset, and education.
  2. Capacity: What skills, knowledge, and resources do you have to develop and deliver your idea.
  3. Feasibility: Whether you can realistically deliver your idea by the end of the program and within budget.
  4. Sustainability: Whether your idea has the potential to become financially sustainable and last beyond the lifetime of the funding we provide.
  5. Stage of Enterprise and Product: Whether the enterprise is already generating revenue and the stage of development of the specific product or branch that this program will support.
  6. Inclusion and user testing: Whether the voices of your target clients have been included in the prototype/solution design and whether your client base is inclusive of different demographics, backgrounds, sexes, etc.
  7. Innovation and growth potential: Whether your idea is new and different, and where or how it can potentially grow.

What kind of enterprises is eligible for the program?

Your enterprise is eligible if it meets the following criteria:

  • Your enterprise is designed to be sustainable and economically viable.
  • You have the potential to sustain your enterprise without the program’s long-term support.
  • Your enterprise has a social element / generates a positive social impact.
    • Alignment with SDGs
    • Tracking of social impact KPIs along with the financial impact
    • Reinvesting at least half of revenues into social initiatives
  • More than one person in the team, with at least two team members working full-time in the enterprise.
  • No restrictions on sociographic or other parameters regarding the applicants.
  • Female-led enterprises and enterprises with higher diversity (age, sex, socio-economic background, refugee/host communities, location around MENA and Africa, etc.) are particularly encouraged to apply. 

We are unable to support:

  • Enterprises of only one individual. 
  • Enterprises that are engaged with other entrepreneurship/innovation programs/accelerators, unless there is a clear distinction between the program offerings, and enterprises can demonstrate that they have time and capacity to join this program in addition to their other program commitments.

What stage of enterprises is eligible for the program?

Imagine a spectrum of entrepreneurship, from learning about the concept and skills to having a mature enterprise changing the world. Those stages are categorized as follows, and for the sake of this challenge, we will be focusing on supporting enterprises as indicated in blue below:

Enterprise Development Stages
0. LEARNING0.1. Learning without the goal of launching an enterprise
1. IDEATION1.1. Want to start and looking for/testing ideas
2. IDEA-STAGE2.1. Exploring ideas, conducting market/customer research 
2.2. Have started developing my idea
3. PROTOTYPE3.1. Have an early (low-fidelity/paper) prototype (of product or service)
3.2.  Have a functioning (high-fidelity) prototype with early users / early adopters
4. EARLY-STAGE4.1. Declining revenues and the enterprise is not yet profitable/sustainable
4.2. Revenues are stagnant or growing slowly, but the enterprise is not however profitable/sustainable
4.3. Revenues are growing quickly, but the enterprise is not yet profitable/sustainable
5. GROWTH-STAGE5.1. Profitable/sustainable business (with stable, growing, or declining revenues)
5.2. Seeking scalability (of impact and/or profits)

5.3. Seeking diversification 
5.4. Seeking an exit 
5.5. Established national enterprise5.6. Established multinational enterprise

What does the program look like?

You will get access to an empowering program that will include monetary prizes, mentoring, access to opportunities, and more.

  1. Open House
    1. Online discussions and “info sessions” with thought leaders to build awareness and momentum around the program. 
    2. Selection process
  1. Sprint
    1. High-intensity two-week-long Sprint with workshops, mentorship, and support for all enterprises. 
    2. 1-on-1 follow-ups with the enterprises
    3. Sprint Demo Day
    4. Final selection
  1. Accelerator
    1. Weekly or bi-weekly workshops adapted to the needs of the cohort and enterprises
    2. Regular milestone check-ins with all enterprises
    3. Mentorship coordination
    4. Online or offline Demo Day, or otherwise optimized for the interests of partners and the needs of the enterprises to help the enterprises continue their path of growth. 

Take a leap of faith and apply! It could be you. Yes, you!

The deadline to apply is August 16!

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