What is SPRING?

SPRING is a pioneering business accelerator that supports ventures whose products and services improve the lives of adolescent girls. A five-year programme, SPRING is funded by DFID, the Nike Foundation, and USAID and focuses on 8 countries in East Africa and South Asia.

Where is SPRING located?

SPRING is a consortium of companies that work in country with global support. During the cohort and for several months before and after, there are local leaders and partners who are the ‘in country’ face of SPRING and lead our selection process. During the cohort, the local teams are supported by global specialists and experts as well as holding events together such as boot camps (e.g. our first boot camp for cohort 1 for all South Asia participants and SPRING team is in Nepal). There is a core SPRING team who are based in London.

What do you mean by “economic assets”?

Assets are the building blocks of economic empowerment. An asset can generate income, enhance productivity, facilitate access to capital and credit, and store wealth. It strengthens the owner’s capacity to cope with and respond to shocks by enabling them to diversify income and ease consumption. Assets can also contribute directly to girls’ economic empowerment by saving their time and labour, and enabling them to stay in school. We use “economic assets” and “life-enhancing products and services” in our materials interchangeably.

What is the Girl Effect?

Created by the Nike Foundation, in collaboration with the NoVo Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and Coalition for Adolescent Girls, the Girl Effect is driven by hundreds of thousands of supporters who believe in the potential of 250 million adolescent girls living in poverty. This 2-minute video sums it up.

For more information, visit Girleffect.org

Here you’ll find plenty of data you need to support the case for investing in adolescent girls. You’ll discover case studies to show the Girl Effect in action, toolkits, images, videos, and insights to download and use in your own programmes.


Is SPRING focused on any specific industries?

SPRING is sector-agnostic, meaning we draw from all industries. SPRING is focussed on products and services that will help girls keep safe, learn, earn, and save without harm — so those are the first sectors to have an obvious connection. However, sectors such as transport, nutrition, energy, and even flooring technology (eg. EarthEnable in cohort 1) can all have significant benefits for girls and contribute to these goals. We look forward to learning about the breadth of potential for girl impact across all of our sectors and geographies.

What if my business doesn’t currently have a mission to empower girls and women, but we’re interested in shifting?

We would be thrilled to see companies with successful models targeted at other audiences shift their focus or introduce a new offering focused on adolescent girls. Some businesses will already be focused on adolescent girls, but others can innovate with their current products by discovering a previously unrecognised relevancy for girls.

Take a close look at your product or service, and think about its use. If there’s a potential opportunity to benefit girls, we want to understand your rationale and approach to pursuing this. Make your explanation compelling and rooted in logic and specifics, and make a case to be part of SPRING!

Does SPRING accept businesses that employ girls?

We work only with businesses that abide by local labour laws with further guidance from United Nation’s International Labour Organization conventions on child labour.

Can I be working on my venture part-time and be part of the accelerator?

No, we’re seeking entrepreneurs who will be 100% committed to their ventures during the accelerator.

How many businesses will be chosen?

Up to 20 companies will be selected.

The Accelerator

Is there a programme fee?

There is no programme fee for SPRING.

Do you pay for travel or housing expenses in the selection process or accelerator programme?

We cover in-country or international costs associated with traveling to Boot Camps and provide accommodation for Boot Camps.

How does the mentorship process work?

It is important for us to understand what our participants really need from a mentor and to select their mentor carefully. Mentors may be local or global, long term or short term. The mentors will be selected after consideration by our country leads. As our mentors are senior professionals offering their time at no cost, we will also set out expectations of prompt and clear engagement. Mentor relationships can extend beyond the life of the programme if agreed by mentee and mentor.

How does the investment work, and what are the funding terms?

A core capability of SPRING is to provide investment readiness assessments and improve investor-readiness. The markets in which we operate and the businesses we support vary greatly in their investability and their stages and needs, therefore we will select several businesses for this support during the cohort. We hold an event bringing together investment-ready businesses with investors who are interested in our target geographies during the accelerator. SPRING does not take any equity or provide any growth capital directly: the only funds available are for prototype development.


Who’s an ideal SPRING investor? What type of investments do you support?

SPRING investors espouse a long-term, patient-capital point of view with equal concern for social impact and financial sustainability. Ideal investors run the gamut from impact venture funds to angels to corporate investors who see opportunities for innovation in our purposeful businesses.

Does SPRING take equity in its businesses?

No, we don’t take equity stakes in any of the ventures in the accelerator programme.

Why are most of your businesses early- to mid-stage ventures?

Companies with successful products and services in hard-to-reach populations can take many years to develop the right offering at the right price with the right approach. Ventures now up and running with some learning are more likely to help us reach our goal of impacting 200,000 girls by 2019. Ventures with have a strong foundation, but that are still open to new opportunities and can be flexible and move fast, benefit greatly from prototyping new products and new business approaches.

Get Involved

How do I support SPRING in contributing money or time?

We have a commitment to attract additional funding and value-added support for the benefit of the programme and its goals. If you want to make a contribution, please be aware that SPRING is not a registered charity. If you want to donate services in-kind, please contact our partnerships lead alina@springaccelerator.org.

I still have questions, who should I talk to?

We’re happy to answer any of your questions! Please contact info@springaccelerator.org