Last year we unveiled a new program named the Female Founder Fellowship, in an effort to grow the number of female technology founders by providing free Course Fees for our best female applicants. At the time, 16% of our graduates were female, and our stated goal was to double that number and ultimately graduate 175 female-led companies a year.
The FFF program helped spur a 30% increase in female graduates globally in just a few months time. We have now graduated over 100 female founders, which account for about 22% of our total. This is roughly twice as high as most other incubators, but still short of our goal to get over 30% female graduates.
To continue our drive towards 30% and beyond, we are doing two things;
1. Extending the Female Founder Fellowship Program Indefinitely
The Institute will subsidize the Course Fee for the most extraordinary female applicant for all upcoming Founder Institute semesters. Any female who applies to one of these semesters (including those who have applied already) is automatically eligible.
Applications deadlines are now approaching in many cities across the globe, including the following cities within the next three weeks;
- Chicago Final Applications Due Sunday, May 6th
- Denver Final Applications Due Sunday, May 6th
- Madrid Final Applications Due Sunday, May 6th
- Silicon Valley Early Applications Due Sunday, May 6th
- Chile Final Applications Due Sunday, May 13th
- Ho Chi Minh City Final Applications Due Sunday, May 13th
- Jakarta Final Applications Due Sunday, May 13th
- Puerto Rico Final Application Due Sunday, May 13th
- Singapore Final Applications Due Sunday, May 20th
- Israel Final Applications Due Sunday, May 20th
This is not about providing special treatment - the majority of applicants to the Founder Institute do not get accepted, and this will always be the case because we employ a quantitative Predictive Admissions Test in our application process. This test was specifically designed, and is constantly calibrated, to identify entrepreneurial personality traits and remove all forms of subjective bias. The program is simply designed to grow the number of female applicants, which will ultimately lead to more female-founded technology companies across the globe.
2. Global Call for Female Mentors
Despite active recruitment, only 12% of our 800+ global mentors are female. Founder Institute Mentors provide invaluable insight, feedback and support to our companies in the critical early stages, and we believe more female mentors can positively impact the long-term growth of female graduates in our program.
If you know any experienced female Founders or CEOs, please have them contact us at mentor [at] founderinstitute [dot] com for more information. Being a Mentor is both a fun and rewarding experience.
Finally, we need more ideas and feedback. Like any startup, we acknowlege that despite our best efforts, in the grand scheme of things we know next to nothing. We'd love to hear ideas from others on how to improve the number of females both applying to, and graduating, the Founder Institute program. Leaves your thoughts in the comments below, or email us at j (at) fi (dot) co.