F-LANE Virtual supports social entrepreneurs with an ambition to create impact for women worldwide.

F-LANE Virtual supports social entrepreneurs with an ambition to create impact for women worldwide.

June 17, 2020

Is diversity the only thing that can guide us through this crisis? The F-LANE Virtual accelerator shows why supporting social entrepreneurs that help women is the best way forward to foster resilience in a global pandemic.


We are very excited to launch, together with the Vodafone Institute – the F-LANE Virtual Accelerator. This is  a unique global accelerator programme for supporting social entrepreneurs focused on female empowerment.


  • Women are at greater risk of poverty, abuse, malnourishment and undereducation for a number of interrelated reasons (wage gap, unpaid caregiving, pregnancy affecting educational opportunities, and domestic violence).
  • In 2019, only one CEO running Fortune 500 is a woman of colour.
  • 46% of women think gender has an impact on the barriers they face in running their social enterprise. Female founders are undervalued and overlooked by the investment community.
  • COVID-19 has shown that women are worse affected by such crises, from domestic violence to increased maternal mortality as a result of resources being diverted to the emergency response.

Solutions launched by F-LANE alumni are already seeking to solve these problems, Rubi Health provides mothers in Nigeria with telehealth and psychiatry care during and after pregnancy.

Social entrepreneurship has opened a window of opportunity and offers a powerful tool to alleviate poverty and address gender inequalities.
This is the desire that led the Vodafone Institute to launch Europe’s first accelerator for social entrepreneurs who create impact for women of all ages around the globe. The foundation of the programme is that:

  • Diversity is critical for social innovation as it enables companies to create services/products that take into consideration everyone in society including marginalised women.  
  • Entrepreneurs are turning tech into a powerful social-change ally. Combining the strength of digital technology with social innovation we can re-shape how we address and mitigate all kinds of complex social issues for women in society.


Inger Paus, Managing Director of the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications:

The Vodafone Institute will run the programme remotely during 2020. Going virtual is a chance to lift F-LANE to the next level:  we scale the programme further globally to implement the programme more efficiently, increase access for women worldwide while also strengthening diversity even more. Furthermore we can take up COVID as an acute topic for women as agents of change and support sustainable solutions.

Building on the success of four accelerator cycles, the aim of batch 5 is to leverage YSB’s high-impact lens and support systemic-thinking solutions for female empowerment from diverse geographies and sectors –  from fighting sexual violence in public transport in India to tackling maternal mortality in Nigeria.

There is no equity stake or cost of participation and the programme is run virtually from early September 2020. The aim is to bring in the best of both worlds by combining the experience and excellence from on-site programs with the flexibility of a remote setup.

Keeping in mind entrepreneurs’ busy time, there will be a break of several weeks in between to allow time for F-LANE inputs to be digested and implemented by the teams in their home markets.

The 1-1 mentor-driven curriculum is divided into separate modules to help entrepreneurs on the road to scale (e.g., Customer, Product, Growth, Tech). YSB will further help social entrepreneurs identify their unique needs and challenges in order to handpick Vodafone employees and external industry subject-matter experts to solve them. By connecting with mentors and a pool of fellow entrepreneurs, F-LANE will provide the tools, strategies, connections and networking opportunities to help entrepreneurs maximise their impact potential.

Commenting on the new partnership, Saskia Bruysten, Co-Founder & CEO of Yunus Social Business said:

If we want more diverse companies, if we want businesses that solve the problems of inequality we need to actively start supporting women and women-focussed businesses. We are delighted to support a programme that helps founders act locally, connect globally and work on their impact-business like no other.

Last year’s social entrepreneur Jillian Kowalchuk, Founder of Safe & the City said:

The F-Lane is an excellent accelerator for Female Founders. It provided us with valuable resources, connections into the Vodafone ecosystem, the opportunity to launch the app in Berlin and continued investment into our growth as a business.”

In the past 4 years, many notable successes have been reported. The majority of the start-ups in the past F-LANE rounds had received investments following the programme – some up to 4.5 million euros.


  • Focus on the empowerment of woman and show clear commitment to diversity and equality in the impact generated
  • Proof of a more than profit model and desire to create a positive impact
  • Focus on technologies to implement innovative ideas
  • Clear about impact and how to measure it
  • Show their passion for the social problem they are solving and are ready for a journey that will transform the way they do business!


Apply now

The application process is open from the 15th of June until the 31st of July. Following a rigorous selection process, 10 social enterprises will be selected to participate.




Do you have any questions regarding the program, the structure or whether you would be a good fit? Contact Solene


Do you know of any ventures working on creating a better world for women that would highly benefit from the program?

Let them know!


Please contact Solene to discuss some potential ideas to help to spread the word, joy and excitement about the program and our open applications…

More information at -  https://www.f-lane.com/

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