Start-Up Chile, the government-backed accelerator program that’s funded over a thousand international startups in the past four years, is launching The S Factory, a pre-accelerator for female founders.
The 12-week program is designed to educate first-time women entrepreneurs with an intense course load that includes pitch training, an investor preparation lab, and progress reports from mentors.
“This is not a gender equality program, this is a diversity program,” says Sebastian Vidal of Start-Up Chile.
“Eighty-five percent of our startups [from the accelerator program] are founded by men and 15 percent by women, and if you look at the stats of each group separately, the results are not different at all. So why not increase that number and encourage more females in the country to get into tech?” Vidal says.
The percentage of female-founded startups that have participated in Start-Up Chile’s accelerator is on par with the percentage of venture-backed female founders in the U.S., which has hovered around 15 percent for the past three years.
Instead of establishing a gender quota for the accelerator, Start-Up Chile decided that a bootcamp for less experienced entrepreneurs would have a bigger impact on changing this ratio. Ideally, graduates of The S Factory will be qualified for acceptance into Start-Up Chile at the end of the three months.
The pilot program, which kicks off in September, will accept 10 to 15 female-founded startups that are in the very early stages of development, and generally less than six months old.
“The S Factory has a different goal than Start-Up Chile, where we take a risk and accept 100 startups to make an impact on the ecosystem,” says Patricia Hansen, director of the pre-accelerator.
“This program is a lot more boutique and hands-on, and the measurement of success will be making these startups scalable; creating startups led by women that get further funding after the program ends,” Hansen says.