• Plexal and the London Legacy Development Corporation to launch eight-week accelerator programme for female-led tech start-ups on former Olympic Park site.
  • Entitled ‘Plexiglass’, applications for the scheme are now open.
  • The scheme will be led by Plexal’s serial entrepreneur CEO, Claire Cockerton, who has run numerous world-leading innovation programmes for companies such as EY, Euroclear and Canary Wharf Group.

Plexal, London’s largest innovation centre has announced that today it opens applications for its Plexiglass accelerator programme, which will support and enable eight female-led tech start-ups to grow their businesses. The selected cohort of start-ups 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’s purpose is to empower organisations of all sizes to build technology solutions for commercial and societal values while 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, sports tech, fashion tech, fintech, well-tech, hardware or other cutting-edge technology.  They must be funded for the duration of the programme and be London-based.

While there is no shortage of ambition among 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% of start-up founders were women, who took just 9% of available start-up 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 that 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 fourth 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.”

Applications close on the 8 April, with the start-ups moving in on 23 April for a programme that includes pitch training, founder fundamentals, go-to-market strategy, financing options and exit valuation.

Start-ups looking to apply for the Plexiglass programme can do so from today on www.plexal.com/plexiglass.