The programme, which will be based in Wayra’s facility in Oldham, will support up to seven start-ups a year.
Start-ups accepted to the programme will receive the equivalent of £70,000 in cash and business services, including working space at Open Future_ North and access to investors, mentors and coaches – and also potentially to a global audience through business development opportunities with Telefónica.
Through the new programme and accelerator, Wayra UK will support grassroots entrepreneurship and attract start-up talent, investment and business mentors.
The fund has £8 million ready to deploy and is seeking to raise up to £20 million to invest into companies tackling the poverty premium, both within the accelerator and in separate investments across the UK.
60 strategic partnerships across the world enhance opportunities for startups
Wayra’s investor network provides opportunities and helps businesses scale
Telefónica’s network consists of 300m customers across 17 countries
Coaches provide in-depth business advice across a wide variety of topics
Significant skills development through our ongoing masterclasses
Our acceleration programme provides funding up to £70,000 in cash and equivalent business services
Our mentor network provides helpful guidance throughout acceleration
One-on-ones help each start-up develop their business further
Wayra Fair By Design is a new acceleration programme, run by Wayra UK – part of Telefónica Open Future_.
The programme will support start-ups seeking to tackle the poverty premium – where people from low-income households pay higher prices for many essential goods and services such as energy, insurance, borrowing, transport and food.
Under the programme, up to seven tech start-ups a year will be based in Wayra UK’s new Open Future_ North accelerator in Oldham.
The programme is backed by a new investment fund that has £8m ready to deploy and is seeking to raise up to £20m.
For example, people in low-income households can be reliant on expensive, high interest pay-day or doorstep loans because of a lack of assets, lack of information to generate a credit score, or a poor credit rating. The accelerator programme could support tech start-ups developing solutions that open up more affordable credit options.
A 2016 report by the University of Bristol revealed that the poverty premium paid by low-income families is, on average, £490 per year – enough for a family holiday, children’s clothes and shoes, or keeping a house warm in winter. According to Joseph Rowntree Foundation research, one-fifth of the UK’s population is living in poverty.
Tech is having a disruptive effect on society, not least on employment – tech advances could ultimately lead to many jobs becoming automated. If society is to feel the benefits of tech, we must ensure that we use tech positively – for example, in relieving aspects of the poverty premium.
Wayra UK is one of the country’s leading tech accelerators and is part of the world’s largest corporate acceleration network, and a subsidiary of Telefónica.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is one of the country’s leading organisations tackling poverty, while Big Society Capital, Ascension Ventures and Finance Birmingham are well-established investors with long-standing interests in the ethical entrepreneurship field.
Wayra Fair By Design will be a 3-year programme, looking to accelerate 18-20 companies across 3 different cohorts (6-7 companies per year).
The programme is backed by a sizeable fund managed by world-class investors, making it attractive for entrepreneurs seeking to scale their businesses.
For an entrepreneur seeking to develop an ethical tech start-up in the UK, this is the opportunity with the best support – both in financial and business terms – that has ever been made available.
This includes access to Wayra UK’s network of investors, coaches and mentors, and training in entrepreneurship and business; and access to Telefónica’s network of 300m customers across 17 countries through business development opportunities with Telefonica. It also includes access to the networks of the partner organisations.