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Last Chance to Apply for Female Founders First, a Barclays and Techstars Initiative

Female Founders First by Barclays and Techstars is for trailblazing female entrepreneurs, leading in all kinds of industries, and from all walks of life, on the verge of breaking through. During October-December of 2020, 30 selected participants will benefit from 6 weeks of peer networking and mentorship, startup-scaling resources and instruction, and brand strengthening initiatives.

The Female Founders First Programme is a unique offering from Barclays and Techstars. Over six weeks, 30 selected founders will gain access to networking, content designed to help propel their businesses forward, and promotional opportunities for their companies.

Launching the Programme, a spokesperson for Barclays and Techstars said, “The global pandemic has shone a stark light on the continuing inequalities for women, and we recognise female founders continue to be disproportionately affected. In an urgent effort to correct this, Barclays and Techstars have joined forces to launch a unique opportunity for scaling founders.”

The programme is not an accelerator with direct funding, nor an incubator designed to get started. It is an exciting six-week engagement designed to help female founders prepare for what’s next, share their experience, and gain access to exposure in the process.

The programme is entirely virtual. This means you can access it from anywhere in the world leveraging tools including Zoom and Slack. It is open to female founders (CEOs preferred) operating businesses in the UK, US, Israel, and India.

Founders will gain access to specific resources designed to help prepare them for the next round of funding or scale. These resources include expert instruction, mentorship, peer networking, and brand strengthening initiatives.

Sonal Lakhani, Head of Global Programmes and Strategic Initiatives for Barclays Innovation said, “The Female Founders First Programme by Barclays and Techstars is a one-off programme for 30 high-growth female founders from around the globe. The selected participants will receive mentorship and a curriculum of workshops and roundtables as well as perks, access to a great network and brand strengthening initiatives.”

The programme is designed to elevate, give business advice and promote female founders and their businesses. The definition of “female” is the broadest possible and includes any female-identifying, nonbinary, and genderqueer founders.

What’s more, all content is subject-matter agnostic. The aim is to help female founders build their businesses across a range of industries including healthcare, legal, finance, ecommerce, AI, software, B2B, B2C, and more.

Companies looking to apply should have initial traction with customers and product-market fit, but they don’t need to have reached a specific level of funding. Throughout the programme, you’ll also gain access to MDs from Techstars, subject matter experts at Barclays and key stakeholders from the Barclays and Techstars’ networks.

This programme is free of charge to selected participants and involves no direct investment or equity exchange.

Applications close on the 20th October however, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with screening interviews for top candidates being held from 19 – 22 October 2020.


  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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