Applications are now open for Zinc, a program that builds new commercial tech companies that tackle the biggest social challenges in the developed world. This is done through a 9-month full-time programme for 50 creative entrepreneurial individuals from all walks of life, who come together to learn, come up with ideas and find their Co-Founders to build new businesses from scratch.

Excited by technology, the founders are driven by the desire to use their skills, experience and energy to have a meaningful impact on the social issues that really matter to them. With Zinc’s help, the Founders create scalable products and services that target millions of users, based on the best social science research, exponential technologies and creative design.

Each programme has a single mission. The first mission, which started in October 2017 in London, was to improve the mental and emotional health of 650m women and girls in the developed world. From the that mission, 55 entrepreneurs and 18 startups emerged and having been part of some workshops (at the idea inception stage) and mentored some of the founders myself, I have been very optimistic the value of the program has had, how much the founders have learnt/developed, and I am very optimistic that most of these startups have huge potential. To read more about them click here to see my write up on them.

Zinc’s second programme starts in London on 1st October 2018. Its mission is to unlock new opportunities for people in places hard-hit by globalisation and automation.

The reason this mission has been chosen is because of the impact of automation and globalisation on jobs and communities has had already and there is the widespread fear that the next waves of automation and globalisation could leave behind a whole range of other people and places. If one needs an example of what that could mean you only have to look at places which have suffered from a dramatic demise of previously thriving industries such as Coal mining in places like south Wales, ship building in Belfast and the textile industry in the North West of England for the economic and social devastation in many communities.

I would encourage people of all backgrounds, be it technology, design, startups, public services, corporates, specialist professions, NGOs etc or anyone with a passion to co-found commercial businesses from scratch to solve giant social problems. I would love to see those from communities who are likely to be affected by automation or globalisation or have already been affected by declines in jobs and social problems, I feel nobody will understand the issues better than people from communities like those and I would imagine they would have a strong sense of mission and passion about solutions. I would also say don’t worry if you have no experience of building a startup as you will be around and get guidance, advice and mentorship from the best people in Europe who have the lightyears of experience.

To apply for Zinc click here

Zinc was cofounded by Operator/Entrepreneur and Investor Saul Klein, former aerosapce engineer/ startup consultant and Strategy Director Ella Goldner and Paul Kirby former KPMG partner and Non exec at the Cabinet Office.

They recently announced they had closed a £3m investment round led by VC funds Atomico and LocalGlobe with participation from Angel investors including former IRIS Software Group CEO Martin Leuw, Harvard Business School Professor Michael Norton and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) who will also work alongside universities such as Oxford, Manchester, Sussex and Sheffield to support the Zinc programme with research insight.

Matt Hancock, UK Secretary of State for Digital commented on the investment in Zinc: “I am delighted to see that the missions are inspiring great talent to come together to build social businesses with global ambition. The second mission is close to my heart and I will do everything I can to help it succeed.”

If you would like more details click here

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