What’s an accelerator program?
An accelerator program is a program that gives early stage ventures access to the skills, knowledge, connections, funding, community and other types of support they require to become sustainable and scalable. They often are fixed in duration and cohort-based.
What is the difference between yher and ygap?
ygap is our parent organisation. yher Africa is a program by ygap to support female-led social enterprises that are improving the lives of people living in poverty across the African continent.
What is a social enterprise?
A social enterprise is a business that exists to achieve positive social, cultural and/or environmental impact. Social enterprises can create impact through their processes (e.g. training and hiring marginalised women and youth to create products or deliver services) or through reinvesting their profits (e.g. reinvesting profits into social programs within the community).
Who is ygap?
ygap is an international independent development non-for-profit with offices in Australia, Africa, South Asia and the Pacific Islands. To date, our local teams have run over 47 accelerator programs and supported over 541 ventures that have gone on to provide opportunities for more than 1,295,411 people affected by disadvantage in these regions to break the poverty cycle. yher is ygap’s female focused program, which adapts ygap’s proven model to back the most promising female impact entrepreneurs in the regions we operate in.
Do I have to pay to be part of your program?
No. The program is free of charge to take part in. That being said, we do require successful applicants to fund their own travel (flights) to South Africa for the one week live-in accelerator program, from their home location. All accommodation and food costs whilst in South Africa, during the program, will be covered by ygap.
Do I have to be based in a specific country?
Although the accelerator part of the program takes place in South Africa, you do not have to be based there. You can be based in any of the 54 African Countries. That being said, to get the most value out of the program (including the support and growth phases) we require our entrepreneurs to have access to the internet.
I don’t have a team, can I still apply?
Yes, you can! The team is just one of the components of your business we look at when making our selection decision, so if you have surrounded yourself with great people, this will work in your favour. However, if you haven’t yet found the perfect teammates, that’s okay too as we look for entrepreneurs who see value in having a team. Remember, it’s impossible to build a large, successful business all on your own.
Does my venture need to support women and girls?
Your venture must have an impact on people living in poverty and align with at least one of the Global Sustainable Development Goals.
English is not my first language, can I still apply?
Of course! Please note that the program will be taught in English, so we do require a level of English proficiency.
I’m having technical difficulties submitting the application
Please ensure you have a strong internet connection, try loading from another computer or device and if you are still having problems, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can send through a soft copy of the application via email.
I applied to one of the past programs and did not get in, can I apply again?
Yes! We cannot wait to see what you’ve been able to achieve since you last applied. Just note that if you weren’t successful in the past because your venture didn’t meet one or more of our eligibility criteria, please ensure that it does meet them now.
What if I can’t afford to cover my travel expenses?
We encourage you to use your networks or crowd funding sites to raise the necessary funds to cover your travel. If you have made attempts to raise funds yourself and are still unable to afford to attend, we do have some travel scholarships available.
I’m working on my venture part-time, can I still apply?
Yes, you can. We understand that getting a new venture off the ground can take time, and that you may not yet be making enough money to support yourself and your loved ones to work on it full time. That being said, we do expect our successful applicants to be working on problems they are passionate about and and are aiming to work on their venture full time as soon as is feasible. Our program can help you get there sooner.
I don’t have revenue yet, can I still apply?
Having revenue shows us that people are willing to pay for the product or service that you have created or are providing. If you don’t have revenue yet, it is up to you to get creative as to how you can show us that your venture is selling or building something that fulfills a need.
If I have a male co-founder, can I still apply?
Yes, you can, however only one female founder from your team can take part in the program.
If I am of African descent but my business doesn’t operate in Africa, can I still apply?
Unfortunately, no. We strongly believe in the power of local leaders with solutions to local problems, so we are looking to support ideas by locals for locals.
I run a for-profit business, with no deliberate social impact, can I still apply?
Unfortunately, no. We are looking for ventures (they can be non-profit, social enterprise or for-profit) with a clear social impact that is core to your business model, and not just an accidental by-product. We generally want to see evidence of this in the way you have structured your venture or your communications (website/social media etc.). It must be evident there is a clear value and priority placed on the social impact the venture generates.
What are the dates for your next program?
Pending updates to travel restrictions, the program will run in February 2021. Exact dates to be announced soon.
Are your programs family-friendly?
As a program that aims to foster an equal platform for women to launch and grow their businesses, we want our programs to be as accessible and inclusive as possible. If you have any family-related requirements, please let us know at the interview stage.
When you provide funding, do you take equity in the ventures?
No, not as a requirement of the program. However the funding that is awarded during the program may be distributed as either a grant or an investment. This will depend on the state of the venture and a due diligence process.
Do I need to attend the program in person?
Yes, you will need to attend the one week accelerator program in person in South Africa. The reason we deliver part of our program in person is that we want you to be able to immerse yourselves into the program, and take the time to reflect on your business, along with other trailblazing female entrepreneurs.
If I have a co-founder, can they join the program as well?
Unfortunately, we can only accommodate one founder per venture. You’ll need to decide which of you is best placed to attend.
What happens when the program finishes?
Your yher journey doesn't end at the end of the program. You become part of our alumni and continue to benefit from our network of mentors, investors and other alumni. We also love to hear from our entrepreneurs and share the impact that their ventures are creating!