Plexal has opened applications for its Plexiglass accelerator programme, which will be based on the former Olympic park site and support 10 female-led tech start-ups to grow their businesses.

The selected cohort will receive work space at Plexal, London’s largest innovation centre, mentoring from the likes of Barclays and access to the Plexal and wider Here East community, which includes academic institutions such as UCL and London College of Fashion.

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

Its purpose is to empower organisations of all sizes to build technology solutions for commercial and societal values whilst creating strategic business value.

The innovation centre has a particular focus on deep technology and Plexal is looking to find women-founded/run businesses focused on AI, VR, IoT, data analytics, cyber security, sporttech, fashiontech, FinTech, welltech, hardware or other cutting-edge technology.

They must be funded for the duration of the programme and be London-based.

Whilst there is no shortage of ambition amongst women in technology and progress has been made in raising awareness of some of the challenges women face when pursuing entrepreneurial careers.

In 2017 just 17 per cent of start-up founders were women who took just nine per cent of available start-up funding in the UK.

Plexiglass was conceived as a way of arming women with the connections and support to succeed.

The cohort will also have access to Plexal’s on-site professional services support which encompasses everything from marketing to legal services and finance.

The will be able to meet fellow founders and clients from the big businesses which visit Plexal regularly and the eight-week programme will culminate with a pitch event to be attended by large corporations and prospective investors.

“We deliberately designed Plexal to resemble a mini-city because cities are centres of innovation due to their diversity,” said Plexal CEO Claire Cockerton.

“It is from that diversity and the collision of different views that innovation emerges. So, 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.”

Lyn Garner, chief executive of London Legacy Development Corporation added: “Initiatives like Plexiglass help to shine a light on the fantastic 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.”

Applications close on the 8th April, with the start-ups moving in on the 23rd April for a programme which includes pitch training, founder fundamentals, go-to-market strategy, financing options and exit valuation.

Startups looking to apply for the Plexiglass programme can do so on www.plexal.com/plexiglass.