Women still make up just 17 per cent of the tech workforce
Plexal, London’s largest innovation centre has announced that today it opens applications for its Plexiglass accelerator programme which will support and enable 10 female-led tech startups to grow their businesses. The selected cohort of startups will receive work space at Plexal, mentoring from the likes of Barclays and access to the Plexal and wider Here East community which includes academic institutions such as UCL and London College of Fashion.
Plexal was founded by Claire Cockerton and clients of specialist real estate investment advisory company Delancey, and its purpose is to empower organisations of all sizes to build technology solutions for commercial and societal values whilst creating strategic business value. The innovation centre has a particular focus on deep technology, and Plexal is looking to find women-founded/run businesses focused on AI, VR, IoT, data analytics, cyber security, sporttech, fashiontech, fintech, welltech, hardware or other cutting edge technology. They must be funded for the duration of the programme and be London-based.
Whilst there is no shortage of ambition amongst women in technology and progress has been made in raising awareness of some of the challenges women face when pursuing entrepreneurial careers. In 2017 just 17 per cent of startup founders were women who took just 9 per cent of available startup funding in the UK. Plexiglass was conceived as a way of arming women with the connections and support to succeed.
The cohort will also have access to Plexal’s on-site professional services support which encompasses everything from marketing, to legal services and finance. The will be able to meet fellow founders and clients from the big businesses which visit Plexal regularly and the eight week programme will culminate with a pitch event to be attended by large corporations and prospective investors.
Claire Cockerton, Plexal CEO said: “We deliberately designed Plexal to resemble a mini-city because cities are centres of innovation due to their diversity. It is from that diversity and the collision of different views that innovation emerges. So, as we enter the 4th industrial revolution we need a diverse technology sector to make the most of the massive opportunities in front of us.”
Lyn Garner, Chief Executive of London Legacy Development Corporation added:” Initiatives like Plexiglass help to shine a light on the fantastic opportunities for local people in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – a result of the exciting innovation and collaboration taking place here. This part of the city is fast becoming a hotbed for London’s emerging industries and this scheme is a great way to develop pathways into tech for local female entrepreneurs.”