StepFWD, program for startups with diverse teams - open applications for 2022

StepFWD, program for startups with diverse teams - open applications for 2022

We're happy to continue our support for StepFWD - program dedicated to startups with diverse teams. Applications are open on the program website until October 2nd, 2022.

Aligned with Orange's mission to support innovation and digital inclusion, StepFwd aims to increase the number of diverse startups by teaching them how to build a startup properly, facilitating connections with experienced mentors, and helping them become investable.

Startup founders will participate in workshops and mentoring sessions and will have access to a mentorship network formed by entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals from the local ecosystem.

Who can apply?

The StepFWD pre-Accelerator contributes to the diversity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, advocating for inclusivity and balance in team composition.

The program is aimed at early-stage tech startups looking to grow their business. Applications are open to both teams that have already developed a prototype/validated product idea to those that have reached their first paying customers.

The selection of the 10 startups is made by the StepFWD team together with the lead mentors involved in the program followed by an interview with the team.

The criteria that are taken into account in the evaluation consist of the experience and track record of the founders, the added value the business brings to the industry it operates in, the traction of the product, the size of the market, and the diversity of the team.

Program development

Between October 24th, 2022, and January 16th, 2023, selected StepFWD pre-accelerator teams will participate in hands-on workshops, mentoring sessions led by entrepreneurs and industry professionals, and have access to both networking opportunities and discussions with local and international investors.

The 2022 edition of the Pre-Accelerator returns with a longer timeframe and brings separation of targeted content across activities. The first part of the program covers a learning area with topics relevant to early-stage entrepreneurs, including monetization strategy, discovering customer needs, product development, sales, marketing, negotiating an investment, pitch preparation, or legal issues to consider.

In the second part, teams will receive feedback on their challenges through mentoring sessions and refine their pitch for the final presentation. For the third part, the founders will have facilitated discussion sessions with investors from Romania and the CEE area.

At the end of StepFWD, the 10 finalist teams will present their business and progress at Demo Day, a celebratory event that will bring together key players in the local and regional technology ecosystem, along with angel investors and investment funds.

Learn more about the program from this blogpost. If you have a startup with a diverse team and you want to participate, apply online on the program website until October 2nd 2022!

StepFwd is run in partnership with Orange Romania, Google for Startups and Algolia. The vision of the StepFWD programs is to support a sustainable way of doing entrepreneurship, by encouraging founders to take care of themselves and to be guided by principles and values all along the way.