What is an innovation accelerator?

Accelerators match entrepreneurs with top industry experts who, through mentorship, help them develop the core skills needed to develop innovative ideas into successful ventures. The entrepreneurs are given seed funding to support the development of prototypes.

When the mentorship period is up, the entrepreneurs do a public pitch on ‘demo day’. They present their prototypes to an audience of investors and other key partners who can facilitate scale up.

Accelerators match entrepreneurs with top industry experts who, through mentorship, help them develop the core skills needed to develop innovative ideas into successful ventures. The entrepreneurs are given seed funding to support the development of prototypes.

When the mentorship period is up, the entrepreneurs do a public pitch on ‘demo day’. They present their prototypes to an audience of investors and other key partners who can facilitate scale up.

Accelerators are open to all, yet they are highly competitive. They focus on small teams, not individual founders. For a limited amount of time they provide support via programmed events and intensive mentoring.

Why an innovation accelerator for UNFPA?

East and Southern Africa faces diverse and emerging development challenges. We know that if we invest in young people – in their empowerment, education and employment – we can harness their potential to reap a demographic dividend for Africa.

Young people face particular challenges when it comes to their sexual and reproductive health. It makes sense to empower young people to find solutions to their own problems. Solutions by young people, for young people. By doing this, we are also creating job opportunities for young people, therefore directly working towards the demographic dividend.

The UNFPA Innovation Accelerator is an initiative designed by UNFPA and funded by DFID, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.

How does the innovation accelerator work?
Kenya iAccelerator: the I.AM campaign