BOOST, a regional acceleration programme for social impact innovation, financed and supported by the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic and Koç Holding, announced the grant awardees for its Women Innovators programme in Europe and Central Asia today.
The awardees are developing innovative solutions that tackle key challenges faced by women and girls or are powering the women-led entrepreneurial ecosystem across the region – from mobile apps and marketplaces for improved access to sexual and reproductive health and combatting violence against women and girls, to tailored Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
The Women Innovators programme was launched in February 2022 to leverage the power of innovation and technology to advance gender equality in the region. A total of 288 startups, SMEs, social enterprises, non-profits and academic institutions from Europe and Central Asia applied and 55 were selected to participate.
During an intensive 12-week online acceleration programme, participants gained access to world-class training and mentorship to develop, reimagine and scale their impact innovations. Working closely with Startup Grind, ImpactAIM, UNDP-UNICEF’s joint regional STEM4ALL platform, and The Behavioural Insights Team, which provided modules on business acceleration, impact measurement and management, as well as behavioral insights, the participants were able to further develop their solutions, while strengthening the ecosystem of women innovators in the region.
The programme consisted of two tracks: Track 1 targeted Europe and Central Asia women-led startups, SMEs, social enterprises, non-profits, and academic institutions with innovations in four key thematic areas: women in data, women and digital access & use, women in the digital economy & STEM, and women driving tech innovation; while Track 2 focused on women innovators in Türkiye (Meet the Track 2 grant awardees here).
Thirty-two (32) participants from Track 1 successfully completed the BOOST acceleration programme and 26 finalists pitched their innovations in front of a five-member jury panel of leading experts and partners at the programme’s graduation event in July 2022.
Eight participants were awarded US$10,000 in equity-free capital:
- AppsMakers (Ukraine) – a mobile app for social products and services that use no-code and low code technologies to address economic challenges that Ukrainian refugees, particularly women and children, face as a result of the war. Harnessing the power of cutting-edge technology, AppsMakers has quickly been able to invest in hope in times of crisis.
- ArrowStone (Ukraine) – an online marketplace connecting local and global players in the floral industry and promoting a ‘buy local’ concept to reduce carbon emissions and boost local economic growth. Through its marketplace Lystva, ArrowStone is reducing entry barriers for growers, and reduces gender inequality in the market.
- ConsciESG (Albania) – a platform which provides tools and metrics for companies and investors in the Western Balkans to assess companies’ Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors, including gender equality at work. Through ConsciESG’s Direct Product Impact Performance solution, companies can efficiently and effectively align their ESG strategies and measure their impact along the entire product lifecycle.
- Female Algorithm (Slovakia) – a social EdTech startup empowering women, including Ukrainian refugees, to make a career change to tech and business management through a single digital platform. By innovating in the area of EdTech, Female Algorithm is breaking new ground to enhance digital literacy and provide upscaling opportunities to support integration efforts.
- Kyrgyz Space Program (Kyrgyzstan) – a non-profit organization led by seven inspirational young women dedicated to promote STEM education for girls. The team is building an educational platform to encourage youth involvement in STEM through satellite construction.
- Safe YOU (Armenia) – an app and multi-stakeholder platform created by the Impact Innovations Institute that aims to prevent or curb domestic and gender-based violence by supporting women who have experienced or are experiencing abuse. By providing access to real-time data and statistics, Safe YOU also enables crucial data-driven policy making.
- Spica Technology (Kazakhstan) – a web-based, MedTech solution called CLARITY that helps women to take control of their health by providing virtual access to sexual and reproductive health consultations with an international group of doctors experienced in obstetrics and gynaecology. CLARITY facilitates a quick “second medical opinion” and has the potential to reduce diagnostic time.
- WeinCrypto (Kyrgyzstan) – a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that provides education opportunities and promotes the participation of women and youth in the world of crypto currency investments to help break stereotypes and gender inequality in the Central Asia region.
UNDP and partners also congratulate all 32 graduates from Track 1 for successfully completing the BOOST impact acceleration programme:
AppsMakers; Arrowstone Flowers; Art Pioneri Platforma; B&M Accounting Solution; Business and Technology University; Centre for Science and Innovation for Development; Connect-Ed Kazakhstan; ConsciESG; Dreamups Innovation and Entrepreneurship Accelerator; Female algorithm; Film-U-Box; ForSet; Girls Power Fund; Hajde Folim; Her Guide; Innovation, Technology and Strategy Center; Izzi; Kyrgyz Space Program; LLC New Algorithm; MedPoint Technologies; MUGALIM – Online school for teachers; OK TOWN; Onwa; Safe YOU (Impact Innovations Institute); Space SyntaKs; Spica Technology; Tech4Impact; Upway; Virtual Story; Linaster; Visit village; and WeinCrypto.
More information about all graduates’ innovations can be found here.
About the programme:
BOOST is a regional acceleration programme for sustainable impact innovation, powered by UNDP Europe and Central Asia. Initially launched in 2020 in response to the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, BOOST seeks to boost social innovators across the region to accelerate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.