Female Founder Accelerator
Powered by Barclays Eagle Labs and funded by UK Government
Applications now closed
Barclays Eagle Labs and AccelerateHER are committed to bringing more women into entrepreneurship and levelling the playing field.
The Female Founder Accelerator powered by Barclays Eagle Labs and funded by UK Government has been designed to support 100 innovative, female-led technology businesses. The programme, delivered by AccelerateHER, will run for nine weeks and see founders work with experts from across the entrepreneurial landscape in a series of masterclasses, with the focus on developing their business propositions further. The programme will also include opportunities for one-to-one mentoring, exclusive accountability groups, a Barclays champion, in-person community networking, and a showcase event.
30 October 2023
24 November 2023
Successful applicant(s) notified
15 December 2023
12 January 2024
Every Friday from 10am to 11.30am, until 8 March
Tuesday 12 and 19 March 2024
Female Founder Showcase (Manchester)
Tuesday 26 March 2024
Who is the programme for?
The nine-week accelerator has been specifically designed for female-led ventures that have gone beyond the ‘idea’ stage. This means:
- You have – or are close to creating - your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
- You’re ready to bring it to market, or have already done so
- You have ambitions to scale and raise investment in the next 12 to 18 months
- You operate within key technology and innovation sectors
Your business must be:
- Registered in the UK
- Using digital technology or innovation to operate or deliver its value proposition
- Ready to scale beyond the idea stage, have launched or be close to launching your MVP
- Ready to bring your product to market, or already have done so
- Starting to think about future investment.
As a founder you must be:
- A female c-suite executive or founder
- Based in the UK
- Able to commit to attending all the masterclasses over the 9-week period (see dates below) and dedicate an estimated two and a half hours to the programme each week.
- Stage 1: Written Application
If you meet our criteria, complete the application form.
- Stage 2: Selection Panel
We’ll score and rank shortlisted applications based on what you say in the application form.
- Stage 3: Interview
Selected shortlisted applicants will have a 30-minute online interview with Barclays and AccelerateHER.
- Stage 4: Final selection
Shortlisted applicants from stage 2 & 3 review panel will be sent an invitation to join the accelerator by 15 December.
- Week 1 – introduction and getting started, 12 January 2024
- Week 2 – sales and negotiation, 19 January 2024
- Week 3 – pitching for success/introduction to procurement, 26 January 2024
- Week 4 – pitching for success/introduction to procurement, 2 February 2024
- Week 5 – finance, 9 February 2024
- Week 6 – showcase information session and mid-term Q&A, 16 February 2024
- Week 7 – marketing, 23 February 2024
- Week 8 – growing a team, 1 March 2024
- Week 9 – how to scale your business, 8 March 2024
- Female Founder Showcase, 26 March.
All dates subject to change.
What is AccelerateHER?
AccelerateHER is a supportive network dedicated to accelerating the growth, visibility, backing and advancement of female business founders in the UK, through networking, mentoring, learning, events, and financial guidance.
What does the programme include?
The programme consists of nine online sessions. This includes:
- An introductory session, a midpoint Q&A session
- Seven masterclasses led by experts
- Subjects such as sales and negotiation, getting on top of your finances, procurement, marketing, pitching for success, growing a team, and scaling your business.
- One-to-one mentoring from a business angel
- Peer-to-peer support groups
- Access to the Barclays Eagle Labs and AccelerateHER ecosystem
- A dedicated Barclays champion to support you through the programme
- Community networking events
- The opportunity to be selected to showcase your business to an audience made up of potential investors, clients and industry professionals at the end of the programme
What topics are covered by the Masterclasses?
Please note that the order of Masterclasses may be subject to change.
Week 1 – introduction and getting started, 12 January 2024
This interactive session is an opportunity to get to know everyone. AccelerateHER and Barclays Eagle Labs will lead introductions and use breakout rooms to encourage founders to get to know each other.
Week 2 – sales and negotiation, 19 January 2024
Learn how to sell your product or service and negotiate those all-important contracts.
Week 3 – pitching for success/introduction to procurement, 26 January 2024
We’ll break the cohort up into groups of 50. One half will go through the ‘Pitching for success’ masterclass and the other half will attend the ‘Introduction to procurement’ session. Each group will attend other session in week 3.
Expert angels from Investing Women Angels will support the pitching session. Founders will get the chance to deliver their pitch to an angel, at least once, and get feedback.
The Barclays procurement team procurement session covers how to contract with large corporates and how to prepare to do business and compete, as well as running through diversity supplier management.
Week 4 – pitching for success/introduction to procurement, 2 February 2024
See details under week 3.
Week 5 – finance, 9 February 2024
This session will provide a summary of financial management. It’ll give advice on best practice and how to keep on top of your finances.
Week 6 – showcase information session and mid-term Q&A, 16 February 2024
You’ll be able to put questions to the team and have an open discussion about everything covered in the programme so far. You’ll also hear more about the upcoming showcase.
Week 7 – marketing, 23 February 2024
This masterclass will give a step-by-step guide on how to build a successful, data-driven marketing plan.
Week 8 – growing a team, 1 March 2024
The team you surround yourself with plays a vital part in the growth of your business. This session will cover the most important factors to consider when choosing who to work with.
Week 9 – how to scale your business, 8 March 2024
What happens after you launch your business, in those early days of generating revenue? What are the strategies for growing your business, and how do you fund that growth? This masterclass will give you some answers.
Female Founder Showcase, 26 March
This takes place in Manchester. It’ll bring together participants, mentors, angels, and important individuals from the entrepreneurial sector for a day of networking.
What kind of mentoring will I get on the programme?
Each female founder and c-suite executive will have access to mentoring from both AccelerateHER and Barclays Eagle Labs during the programme.
What’s your definition of female?
Our definition is the broadest possible and includes any female-identifying, non-binary, and genderqueer founders.
Is this programme open to businesses outside the UK?
No. It’s only open to businesses registered in the UK.
Are the classes delivered online or in person?
The masterclasses will be delivered online, and the Female Founder Showcase will be held in person in Manchester on Tuesday, 26 March 2024. We’ll also host some optional, in-person networking sessions in Glasgow and London.
What is the showcase?
It’s an opportunity for selected founders to showcase their business to an audience of industry professionals, including potential clients and investors. It takes place at the end of the programme. All founders can attend.
I’ve applied to the Female Founder Accelerator before. Can I apply again?
Yes. Repeat applications are always encouraged.
Do the organisations involved support the cohort after the programme is over?
You’ll get ongoing support and advice are through Barclays Eagle Labs and AccelerateHER.
Terms and conditions
AccelerateHER and Barclays Eagle Labs are working together to deliver the Female Founder Accelerator. For this purpose, we’re acting as a joint data controller to assess the startups that would benefit most from our support, and to deliver the programme.
For more detailed information on how and why AccelerateHER or Barclays Eagle Labs use your information, including your rights in relation to your personal data, and the legal grounds for using it, please go to:
To participate in the programme, you must:
(i) Be over 18 years old
(ii) Be based in the UK
(iii) Self-identify as a female founder
(iv) Have founded (either alone or with another) or be a c-suite executive within, a UK-registered technology business. One or two people from your business can participate in the programme
(v) Have been informed, in writing by Barclays, that you’ve been accepted to the programme.