SINGAPORE - Denstu Aegis Network has unveiled a new programme, together with Dentsu Ventures and iProspect, to provide funding, development and mentoring for women-led startups across South and Southeast Asia.
The three-part programme—which is being handled by DAN’s diversity and innovation arm [email protected]—has been developed in partnership with several female-led groups including Female Founder, Women Unlimited and She Means Business.
Dentsu will launch the venture in August. The agency said it is committed to the empowerment and promotion of female leadership in startups across Asia.
Successful entrants into the programme will be given the opportunity to pitch for secondary funding, a stage which many find difficult to get to, through Dentsu Ventures.
Ruth Stubbs, CEO of iProspect Asia-Pacific, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that this is the first programme of its kind “that closes the loop from recruitment to mentorship to funding”.
“Firstly this initiative is responding to the growing number of female-founded start-ups, as evidenced through our research," she said. "While we’ve uncovered the growing presence of this trend, we’ve also been able to understand challenges these entrepreneurs face, so secondly, this initiative is designed to help them accelerate and scale their businesses.”
“We are motivated by the value this will bring to their communities, not to mention the inspiration and confidence it will bring to other women.”
Stubbs said initially the fund is focusing its efforts on Southeast Asia, where research the group has carried out suggests there is a particular rise in female startups. India and Bangladesh are also targets.
“This initiative will facilitate a working partnership with our clients, the investment community and our industry at large," said Nick Waters, Dentsu Aegis Network Asia-Pacific CEO. "It will support female founders of startups by providing access to tools and connections, skills to develop commercial infrastructure, training to scale platforms and mentorship to hone softer skills—allowing them to thrive as businesses and continue innovate.”