Women founders receive just a portion of the funding that male founders get. Some of the highest estimates indicate that just 18% of venture capital funding goes to startups with women and men on their founding teams, with only 2.8% and dropping to teams of only women founders. Even when women-led startups are funded, their battle is uphill compared to male founders, as they face challenges including a lack of available mentors and sponsors, biased sampling from early adopters, and the constant toll of microaggressions in a white, male-dominated space.
That’s not just bad news for women who want to build a startup—it’s bad news for everybody. Women are the driving force behind a thriving economy. AWS recognizes the immense need for an increase in inclusivity in the startup ecosystem. That’s why we are excited to be accepting applications for the second cohort of our AWS Impact Accelerator. The first cohort, launched in April, focused on Black founders, and the current cohort focuses exclusively on women-led businesses.
What is the Impact Accelerator?
The AWS Impact Accelerator is a $30 million fund that provides Black, Latino, women, and LGBTQIA+ founders with equitable access to training, mentorship, tools, and resources. Over the course of eight weeks, 25 startups accelerate growth by developing their ventures alongside AWS technology experts, investors, and partners. From customer discovery and retention to architectural deep dives and Amazon learnings, such as Working Backwards, founders participate in workshops, roundtable discussions, individual mentoring, peer learning, and inspirational leadership chats from executive leaders. To further their growth, startups receive a $125,000 cash grant and $100,000 in AWS service credits—all at zero cost and for zero equity.
Focus on women founders
Throughout the program, women founders will learn from well-established experts from across the startup and technical spectrum. Speakers and special guests for the Impact Accelerator for Women Founders will speak from their own experiences as overlooked and underestimated founders. Participants in the Women Founders program will learn from partners like Advancing Women in Tech, Visible Hands, and AWS Partners like Dropbox DocSend, HubSpot, Carta, and Brex. They’ll also have access to sessions and modules curated specifically to address the challenges of women-led startups, which will be facilitated by experts who have been through similar struggles and can help the founders accomplish their goals.
“The amount of tangible, measurable support that this Impact Accelerator has provided to my startup has far exceeded my expectations. My technical advisor helped me and my tech lead solve a problem that we had been toiling away on for weeks. My business advisor introduced me to marketing experts, people in my target market who I could conduct user interviews with, and others who have provided immense value. The entire accelerator has been a phenomenal experience.” – Alyse Nicole Dunn, CareCopilot, cohort member of Impact Accelerator for Black Founders
How to apply—Key requirements
Are you interested in applying to the AWS Impact Accelerator for Women Founders? Applications are open August 8–26, with space limited to 25 women-led startups. Submit your application, and remember to review the FAQ and terms and conditions for the full list of qualifying criteria.
Want tips to make your application stand out? Join this webinar from the Impact Accelerator Program team to learn more about the application process, understand timelines and expectations for the interview process, and gain key insights. Plus, you can submit your questions in the chat—the team will answer them live.
Top five criteria reminders
- Women-led—You must have one or more CEO co-founder(s) who, alone or in the aggregate, own a majority (over 51%) of the company and identify as a woman.
- Chief technology officer (CTO) in place—You should have your CTO or technical lead in place, and be sure to include all founders in your video submission.
- Based in the U.S.—Your founder(s) and company must be U.S. based—international startups will not be considered at this time.
- Early funding stage—Your company hasn’t raised more than $500,000 in institutional funds and is no more than five years old.
- Launched or fully developed product—To get the most from the program, founders need to be beyond the ideation stage—that means having a fully developed minimum viable product or launched product.
The AWS Impact Accelerator gives high-potential, pre-seed startups the tools and knowledge founders need to reach key milestones—such as raising funds or gaining acceptance into a seed-stage accelerator program—while creating powerful solutions in the cloud.
Applications are now open for women founders seeking to accelerate their startup’s growth from zero to 60 in eight weeks. Apply online today.