Introducing the Cannes Startup Academy for Female Founders!

Today marks the official start of our Inclusive Innovation series, where we’ll share the ways in which we’re working towards a more diverse tech ecosystem through the support of female founders. For the next few months, we’ll be focused on the lead up to the Cannes Startup Academy for Female Founders, which we’re hosting in France from June 17th to the 22nd.

If you’ve been following R/GA Ventures on Twitter, hopefully you’ve heard that we’ll be returning to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the fourth time this June. (You can check out the official announcement here.)

For the past three years, we’ve partnered with the festival to run the Startup Academy: a five-day program that connects founders with corporate mentors from global brands and agencies, and gives them the opportunity to pitch their companies on the Innovation Stage. This summer, as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting a more inclusive tech ecosystem, we’ll exclusively be selecting female founders as participants.

“The Academy promises to be beneficial to both corporates and founders: providing industry leaders with access to emerging technologies, business models, and market opportunities, and helping startups accelerate their development and growth,” says Stephen Plumlee, Global Chief Operating Officer of R/GA and Managing Partner of R/GA Ventures. “Female entrepreneurs represent a significant and often untapped opportunity for brands looking to push their businesses forward.”

To that point: throughout the week-long Academy, founders will be paired with industry leaders whose experience and expertise aligns with their product or service. So far, these mentors hail from some of the world’s leading agencies, consultancies, and influential brands, including R/GA and some of our clients. Our hope is that these corporates get as much value out of these sessions as the founders: a relationship that we’ve dubbed the “innovation exchange.”

Since announcing the festival in March, we’ve received applications from entrepreneurs all over the world. We’re looking for technology-enabled companies with the potential to impact the marketing, media, communications, and advertising industries, and have seen some amazing companies so far. We’ll be finalizing our application review over the next week, and hope to announce the cohort by early May.

We’ve extended our application deadline to this Friday, April 27th, so if you’re a founder who’s interested or know someone who might be, please visit our F6S page here. We’ll be sharing updates leading up to the festival and throughout the week in France, so make sure to follow @rgaventures and #inclusiveinnovation on Twitter and stay tuned here.

R/GA Ventures is on a mission to level the playing field for women in tech: and the Cannes Startup Academy is just one of the ways we’re supporting female founders across the global startup ecosystem. Stay tuned as we continue to announce new initiatives with the goal of making innovation more inclusive.