WaiACCELERATE: A global ethical leadership and AI acceleration program for women
WaiACCELERATE is the first ethical leadership and AI business acceleration program aimed at women innovators who were ready to start a business in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and Data Science. Initiated by Eve Logunova-Parker, the former Ambassador of Women in AI in the Netherlands and the Founder of Evenness, this program was executed by Women in AI in the year 2020. This initiative was the first milestone in the Research of Evenness analyzing and assessing the learning needs and people's response to learning in the virtual, immersive environment. Based on the results of this program and the user experience, Evenness laid the foundation for its coming up hybrid solution for communities' learning and events.
WaiACCELERATE was designed as a combination of various online modules and educational initiatives aimed to increase the number of female-led innovative startups that use AI-related technology and are committed to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. These initiatives helped educate female entrepreneurs on important topics, removing the blockers that kept them from reaching their potential. With a focus on social impact, participants in this program developed, nurtured, and grew their entrepreneurial goals into competitive and profitable business ventures in nine months. Among the graduates of the program that year, were:
Like most events, WaiACCELERATE was among the first initiatives to go completely virtual in the first wave of the pandemic (2020). It was held in the Extended Reality (XR) environment of Virbela, a downloadable virtual world platform. The program consisted of many resources offering access to in-depth tech workshops and consultations, as well as high-class mentorship with a highly experienced and engaged cohort of mentors, and perks and benefits. The pitch event was the most crucial part of the series.
WaiDATATHON, a global datathon competition organized by Women in AI within the WaiACCELLERATE program, was another innovative initiative in support of the enrolled female founders. Likewise to the whole program of WaiACCELERATE, WaiDATATHON was also organized in Virbela, a browser based Extended Reality platform. Its goal was to solve real-world problems with the power of data and generate the needed data-solutions for the WaiACCELERATE startups, and use that data to build prototypes. One weekend, 8 partner organizations, 10 data challenges, 10 women-led impact startups, 40 participants from across the globe, 2 runners up, and 1 winning team.
The program also featured Investor Tours that had in-person experience due to the XR capabilities. During those tours, the WaiACCELERATE founders could present their startup solutions and answer to investors' questions in the "Direct-to-Avatar" mode.
As the final part of the WaiACCELERATE program, the pitch event paved the way for over 20 impact and AI-powered women to build the startup of their dreams, enable it with Data Science and Machine Learning, and create a positive impact through Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Watch the graduates' pitches here:
“We want to provide the backing and access to quality education no matter the location or background, so people can take action.” - said Eve Logunova-Parker, resonating with Women in AI. " By supporting women entrepreneurs, Women in AI and Evenness both hope to make the industries of AI, Machine Learning, and Data Science as well as Extended Reality less biased and more inclusive."
WaiACCELERATE took its accelerator program one step further by securing partnerships with key stakeholders in the public and private sector. In 2021, the program scaled to USA & Australia, and became a flagship program for female entrepreneurs willing to add AI stack to their startup solutions.
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