Getting more women into startups is a hot topic, but in practice, it remains a hard task to achieve.

Despite various efforts to reduce gender gaps in the startup scene, they remain highly visible: although numbers are on the up, only 18% of startups are founded by women. Research by the Vodafone Institute reveals that the main obstacle in the startup process for women is difficult access to male dominated networks and to investors.

F-Lane – the first accelerator developed specifically to empower women – was launched to overcome very such obstacles. The accelerator, launched by the Vodafone Institute think-tank, will take on five social ventures that utilise technology to empower women across the globe.

The program is looking specifically for ventures that can challenge the status quo with businesses that ‘provide a more-than-profit model,’ amongst other key attributes.

The next program will run from the 6th October to the 17th November. Entries for this round of applicants is currently open and will close July 24th.

Motivated entrepreneurs from all over the world can apply for the competition with the top five finalists flying in to Berlin for the accelerator. The programme will last six weeks and will help young founders boost their businesses by teaching them how to avoid the most prominent obstacles within the startup process by working, learning and living together in the heart of Berlin’s startup hub.

The program is partnered with the Impact Hub Berlin, a leading co-working space, and the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie, an innovative competence centre in the field of education for societal change. With various individuals well-versed in the startup scene leading the course, participants will be coached, mentored and introduced to leading industry connections.