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Inequality Challenge

How might we integrate and upscale innovative approaches for the reduction of inequality and the LNOB principle of the 2030 Agenda – while at the same time strengthening the mainstreaming of these subjects in German development cooperation?


Logo GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
Logo german cooperation – DEUTSCHE ZUSAMMENARBEIT.

Bangladesh, Nigeria, Brazil, Serbia, India, Cambia, Jordan, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mexico



  • Active member of the Steering Committee to consult on selection process design and actively select the winners
  • Design and facilitate a two day design thinking workshop to kick off the inequality challenge and 15 months support program


Project website


>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch!

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Africa FinTech Challenge

How might we support local entrepreneurs in Africa to ensure economic growth and financial security?


Logo GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
Logo BMW Group

Ghana, Kamerun, Germany


  • Run a design thinking workshop with 40 participants (representatives of fin tech scene berlin, giz/bmz, african diaspora) to gain understanding of method & provide perspective on platform needs
  • Develop a digital prototype for an online platform enabling the transfer of remittances from Germany to Ghana & Kamerun, and leverage payments through German development aid 
  • Skype interviews with IH Khartoum and Kigali for provide local entrepreneurial perspective


>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch!

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Accelerating Green Start-ups in Peru & Empowering the Local Ecosystem

How can we build a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem for green start-ups? How can we empower Start-ups in Biodiversity to realise the potential of their impact?


Logo GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
Logo Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola
Logo Impact Hub Berlin



  • Leading a Workshop with key stakeholders in Lima to share knowledge on how to grow a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Impact Bootcamp to support Biostart-up Finalists to identify and leverage their impact
  • Educating Start-up Usil in running a bootcamp focused on Impact

>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch!

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ImpACT – Building Synergies between German and Afghan Start-ups

How can we strengthen German–Afghan start-up ecosystems with one another?


Logo GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
Logo german cooperation – DEUTSCHE ZUSAMMENARBEIT.
Logo IMPACT – Networks, Ressources and Knowledge

Afghanistan, Germany


  • Designing a Bootcamp and inviting key German and Afghan entrepreneurs
  • Understanding local challenges and enabling both to learn from one another
  • Gaining visibility for the powerful entrepreneurial scene in Afghanistan

Project website

>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch!

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GIZ Lab of Tomorrow – Human-centered research to access emerging markets

How can you create new business ventures in emerging markets and establish strong local partnerships?


Logo GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
Logo Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung
Go to website of our partner Merck
Logo Siemens

Zambia, Kenya, Uganda



  • Define the challenge and select cross-sector partners
  • Human-centered Research & Stakeholder Mapping to identify core needs, challenges and potentials
  • Ideation & Prototyping Workshop to design new solutions and strengthen partnerships
  • Test and Pilot new solutions in the field

Program video

>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch! 

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Digital Imagination Challenge – Innovation Contest to Foster Inclusion

How can we empower tech solutions that reduce barriers for people with disability?


Logo unitymedia
Logo Impact Hub Berlin
Logo Sozialhelden




  • Outreach
  • Screening Germany for technological solutions that foster inclusion in all areas of everyday life
  • Selecting top five initiatives and offering them a tailored curriculum, mentorship and network access in a short accelerator format
  • Public pitch event with a renowned jury to position the importance of an inclusive society

How can we impact the life of millions of people?

Rapid technological development and digitalization have revolutionized our society and offer unprecedented opportunities and innovations that can change the lives of millions. Together with Unitymedia and Sozialhelden we looked for innovative ideas and solutions that use technology to break down barriers and enable inclusion at home, at work and in the leisure space.


#nobullshittech: when tech really makes a difference

Copy paste tech solutions, like food delivery, are neat because they make life convenient. But they are not revolutionary and often do not think the needs of people with disability alongside. We scouted 23 initiatives and ventures that created tech solutions that break down barriers and make society more inclusive. From AR to indoor navigation; every solution will change the life of millions of people.


Truly inclusive pitch event

Each of the five ventures that went through the program blew our mind, touched our hearts and inspired us to the bone. They shared their solutions with the public at a fully inclusive final pitch event in front of 100+ people with sign language translation and audio description in place.

1st prize: EiS-App, won 15.000 EUR, 3 months mentoring and Impact Hub Berlin Membership

2nd prize: Deaf Magazine, won 5.000 EUR, 3 months mentoring and Impact Hub Berlin Membership

3rd prize: Match My Maker, won 3 months mentoring and Impact Hub Berlin Membership



  • 2 days bootcamp on lean canvas, impact logic and pitching
  • 8 weeks coaching, focus on business model and pitching storyline and skills
  • Access to the networks of Unitymedia, Impact Hub Berlin and Sozialhelden
  • Peer to Peer support facilitation
  • Mentoring by Unitymedia’s top tier management



  • 23 applications
  • 5 winning teams going through the acceleration program
  • 3 winners to be further supported with mentoring and network access
  • 2 winning teams sharing prize money of 20.000 EUR


Impact (& SDGs):

  • SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities
  • 5 Teams were supported for 8 weeks to make sense of their business and tell their stories
  • the three winners were supported for further 3 months with mentoring and network access

>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch!

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Intrapreneurship – Accelerator for Employees to design digital MVPs

How can we empower employees to gain innovation skills to create relevant digital solutions that will strengthen local partnerships and have a positive impact?


Logo Futuregov
Logo GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit


Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Lesotho, Jordan, Thailand and Germany


The accelerator program for employees enabled six global teams to experience a hands-on innovation journey to design digital solutions:

  1. Selection of the top 5 solutions submitted to an online platform
  2. Bootcamp to kick-off the format and introduce all teams to design thinking skills
  3. 6 month guided innovation sprint that offered each team a process, coaching and financial funding to create MVPs. This took place across 5 different locations.
  4. Internal Pitch to a jury, members of the management board, and colleagues in the GIZ. It was live streamed to +450 people from all over the world.
  5. Funding and coaching for the implementation and scaling of the overall winning solution.

Promo video

From Bureaucracy to Innovation

GIZ, the German development agency, is a rather classic, bureaucratic organisation – like most public organisations still are. So implementing and running a highly agile, user-centred and collaborative process was a challenge in itself: It required quite some imagination from everyone involved to overcome bureaucratic hurdles and pilot an accelerator like this. Also, telling the six participating teams of employees that the outcome of their innovation journey is a) open and b) uncertain; was baffling to them. In their world, a solution was already up-and-running since the moment they had put it on paper and won the selection process. Nonetheless, each team rose to the challenge of joining the innovation journey – even though they surprisingly found themselves outside of their comfort zone.

Each team had the support of a handpicked design thinking coach who guided and supported the entire process – this boosted the team’s confidence and enabled them to stay focused and motivated. Thanks to many success moments and inspiring aha-moments, they all managed to stick through the failures and hard pivots that are normal in the process of creating a new product/service. It was impressive to see that their hard work of validation and iteration sprints paid off: they developed real MVPs from scratch – that are now being piloted!


Learning-by-doing to identify internal barriers that prevent innovation

Transforming an organisation to become more agile and innovative is not easy. There is no magic potion or one-size-fits-all solution. This program combined two goals: It a) enabled every participant to boost their innovation skills during the sprints, and b) enabled them to develop scalable digital solutions (MVPs). Thereby the GIZ managed to identify organizational barriers and to foster innovation.

Enabling the teams to go through an iterative innovation process made organisational barriers very explicit. Using a very hands-on learning-by-doing approach was perfect  – the GIZ was able to identify and understand internal hurdles or show-stoppers AND saw how creative workarounds and playing with wiggle-room was able to push the existing boundaries. We’re curious what new structures and processes the GIZ will created based upon the hands-on experience made by their first cohort of teams.


The best solution is not always digital

Each team entered the rally with a digital solution. A playful competitive vibe gave the Kick-off bootcamp a great energy boost. Each team was convinced they would create the best digital solution and win the funding to implement and scale their solution globally. Little did they know that their innovation journey was not going to be as easy and straightforward as they believed…

One of the teams was struck hard by reality – traditionally one might even say they “failed”. During the testing phase they had to accept that their key partner, a monopol, vetoed the slightest digital aspects of their solution that had the goal to optimise the local processes; making it impossible for the team to proceed. This “failure” was a big draw-back for the team – they wanted to resign from the program. However, the GIZ saw the valuable lesson this team learned and helped them to spin their biggest failure into a massive breakthrough: solving the problem they had putting the user’s needs first, not their solution.

>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch! 

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F-LANE – The Vodafone Institute Accelerator for Female Empowerment

How can we accelerate social ventures that utilise technology to empower women worldwide?


Logo Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications
Logo Impact Hub Berlin
Logo Social Entrepreneurship Akademie




  • Global trendscouting
  • Selection funnel to identify top five ventures
  • Hosting a 7 week accelerator program for high-potential digital impact ventures focusing on female empowerment

Promo video

Many women are still excluded from the workforce, especially when it comes to technology and business. F-LANE’s objective is to ensure that women play a leading role in shaping the future. It is an urgent need to create gender-inclusive technology and promote women’s participation in education, workforce, entrepreneurship, leadership, and, ultimately, digitalization. Technology offers a huge potential to overcome gender inequalities. 

  • 7 week accelerator – how we build companies without shares
    • Tailored curriculum to teach hard skills
      Led by the leading competence center for education for societal change, the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie, the startups benefit from a curriculum specifically designed to meet their individual needs. Consisting of team sessions and individual coachings, the curriculum builds key competences around business, impact and financial models.
    • Experience program to individually match ventures to high-potentials
      Connections are key for young entrepreneurs to accelerate growth – the experience program aims at ingraining the startups into the Berlin ecosystem of social entrepreneurs, industry partners, impact investors and individually matches them with experienced mentors
  • Global Trend-scouting of new ventures that use tech to empower women
  • Over 90% of applications have female co-founders or board members
  • Over 6 million EUR raised in funding
  • Matched 15 finalists with handpicked mentors
  • General Trends we’ve spotted
    • Businesses using emerging technologies in developing countries seem to be more assured about their business model, compared to their equivalents in developing countries
    • Applications from developing countries are typically in the sector of healthcare and education, whereas applications from developed countries are spread across a wide variety of industries


The power of Peer2Peer learning
Across all cohorts we have seen great learning potential among the startups as they are typically confronted with similar problems in the early stages of setting up a business. We facilitate this exchange through a variety of formats including skill sharing and interactive expert sessions, team building exercises and a shared living experience.

Ventures Class I 

  • SecurellaMarocco – A smart wearable that ensures women’s safety and sense of security
  • Ask without shame, Uganda – An app-based service to provide answers to questions around reproductive health
  • Lensational UK – Empowering women in developing countries to tell their story through photography
  • DigiSitter, Germany – An app to help parents coordinate work and childcare
  • Wazi Vision, Uganda – Affordable eye care for children in low-income families

Ventures Class II

  • Gapsquare, UK – A software that allows companies to measure and narrow their gender pay gap
  • Good On You, Australia – A global brand rating app for ethical fashion brands
  • Kaaro Health, Uganda – Bringing health care to remote areas through containerized clinics and telehealth solutions
  • Mowoza, Mozambique – Supply chain management solutions for micro entrepreneurs
  • SouSou, Tanzania – Crowdbanking software to bridge the access to capital gap for women

Ventures Class III

  • breast IT, Uganda – a portable, ultrasound glove for breast cancer screening
  • Doctory, Pakistan – online directory of doctors and patient management for health centers
  • FinMarie, Germany – online wealth management platform for and by women 
  • Free-D, UK / India – empowering disadvantaged women with 3D printing and CAD skills
  • MamaBird, Malawi / US – last mile healthcare through drones

What happened after F-LANE?

    • In total over 500 applications from over 80 countries, spread across all continents
    • Batch One
      • Ruth, founder of Ask Without Shame, met the Queen of England as “Young Leader…xxx”
      • Securella, Wazi Vision and Ask Without Shame scored + X.XXX.XXX,00 EUR of investment
    • Batch Two
      • 4 out of 5 teams participated in follow up acceleration tracks: Good On You became a finalist of the Fashion for Good Accelerator,  SouSou, Mowoza and Kaaro Health were part of the Make IT in Africa Accelerator.
      • Within 3 months after the accelerator, strategic partnerships with corporations were formed (Good On You delivering data on ethical brands to Zalando in Europe)

>> Want more information or host a program with us, too?  Get in touch!

Batch One video

Batch One Pitches