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SoftBank Launches Emerge Accelerator For Underrepresented Founders

SoftBank, the large multinational holding company aims to increase diversity in tech by giving underrepresented founders the opportunity to participate in their eight-week emerge accelerator programme.

Image Credits: Unsplash 

In recent years, the world of founders and startups has tried to address its lack of diversity with varying degrees of success. Although many new initiatives are trying to increase levels of diversity, according to a 2019 Crunchbase survey, 84% of European founders are white or Caucasian and many lacked female founders.

While some startups are actively trying to change these numbers, many still lack initiatives aiming to tip the balance of diversity.

SoftBank wants to tackle this lack of diversity with the launch of its SoftBank Vision Fund Emerge accelerator which is open to European startups that have at least one founder who identifies as non-white, female, LGBTQ+, disabled and/or is a refugee.

Emerge, the eight-week accelerator programme does not only want to help seed stage companies raise investments, it also hopes to provide access to important networks and knowledge on how to scale their businesses.

After its first successful edition in the US, Emerge has now opened its applications to Europe which close on the 7th of July. So, if you’re interested, you have to be quick!

Guaranteed investments for all participants

Next to the usual customized eight-week programme that includes tutoring from experienced professionals, educational sessions and access to the wider VC community, all selected participants will also receive guaranteed capital. However, the amount will vary according to the startup’s needs and development stage.

Next to SoftBank’s own investment, participating startups will also stand a chance to receive investments from some of Europe’s leading seed investors such as Speedinvest, Cherry Ventures, Breega, Kindred & Firstminute Capital.

The accelerator programme which will run from the beginning of September to the end of October will culminate in a showcase event at the end of October during which the founders will pitch to some of Europe’s top VCs.

While accelerator programmes such as Emerge will not get rid of some of the more systemic issues in the startup scene, it is a promising start which will no doubt keep the conversation going and shed some light on underrepresented talent.

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