Plexal has announced the cohort for its first-ever Plexiglass accelerator programme in partnership with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and Barclays Eagle Labs.

The scheme from the East London Innovation Centre will support and enable 12 female-led tech start-ups to grow their businesses.

The selected start-ups are all women-founded/run businesses focused on innovative technology including AI, VR, fashtech (fashion tech), FinTech, healthtech & agtech (agricultural tech).

Start-ups joining the programme include Dual Good Health, founded by Anna Stoilova, which uses virtual reality to train more people on how to save lives; Safe and the City, founded by Jillian Kowalchuk, a mobile app that uses AI, data analytics, and a smart city approach to build a navigation system that allows users to rate and alert which paths are the safest to take; and travel platform w0ndary founded by Claire Trachet.

Plexiglass was conceived as a way of arming women in business with the connections and support they need to succeed, as well as celebrating diversity in the tech industry.

Latest figures from Chartered Institute of IT found that only 17 per cent of UK IT specialists are female, eight per cent are disabled and 21 per cent are over 50.

Each of the 12 companies selected for Plexiglass is London-based, with 42 per cent situated in East London.

Around half of the start-ups joining the programme are currently pre-revenue and have launched within the past two years.

During the eight-week programme, each start-up will receive free workspace at Plexal, which was designed as a mini-city with its own high street, town hall, indoor park and Makers' Yard.

Plexal was founded by Claire Cockerton and clients of specialist real estate investment advisory company Delancey.

It is carefully curating a community of start-ups working in areas like FinTech, healthtech, cyber security, the Internet of Things, AR, VR, AI and more.

Start-ups on the programme will also receive mentoring from the likes of Barclays, who is supporting the programme through its Eagle Labs initiative.

They will also gain access to the Plexal and wider Here East community, which includes academic institutions such as UCL and London College of Fashion.

The programme includes pitch training, founder fundamentals, go-to-market strategy, financing options, legal services and exit valuation.

The eight-week programme will culminate with a pitch event to be attended by large corporations and prospective investors.

"We are very excited to be able to help these amazing women pursue their entrepreneurial visions,” said Plexal founder & CEO Claire Cockerton

“When we launched Plexiglass, we were originally going to offer ten places, however the high quality of the entries meant the judges decided to award 12, which is a reflection of the incredible female talent out there.

“As we enter the 4th industrial revolution we need a diverse technology sector to make the most of the massive opportunities in front of us, which is why programmes like Plexiglass are so important."

Lyn Garner, chief executive of London Legacy Development Corporation added: "Plexiglass is a fantastic example of the opportunities for local people in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - a result of the exciting innovation and collaboration taking place here.

“This part of the city is fast becoming a hotbed for London's emerging industries, and this scheme is a great way to develop pathways into tech for local female entrepreneurs."