Empowering organisations to use chat to empower women economically.
Applications are now closed

What to expect from
the Accelerator

An 18-month programme providing training, mentorship and support to 6 social enterprises working to empower women in low-income countries economically. 

Organisations that increase business skills, provide education, access to digital markets and payment tools, as well as those that provide essential mental health or healthcare support among working women and micro-entrepreneurs, are invited to apply. 
Support in prototyping and launching your use case
A comprehensive three-month onboarding and training process that equips the organisation with a fully operational minimum viable chat (MVP) ready to go live.
Extensive Training & Support 
Ongoing monthly enterprise support tailored to help organisations achieve their strategic chat service objectives for 18 months.
Mentorship from leading experts and practitioners
Expert advice from Solutions Engineers, Conversational Designers and a team of Turn.io AI/Data Engineers.
Access to world-class Technology
A Turn.io Enterprise licence, which includes all platform features, as well as a subsidised WhatsApp Business Account for 18 months.
Increase in knowledge using chat-based technologies
A collaborative learning environment with quarterly cohort sessions fostering a strong community of practice among the six participating enterprises.

Who should apply?

    Social Enterprises who want to accelerate their chat service growth and impact with guidance, mentorship, and hands-on implementation support.

    We are looking for Social Enterprises working in Kenya, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Uganda, Senegal, and Nigeria and other low-income regions that have a clear business case or Theory of Change on how they could use a chat solution on WhatsApp to improve the economic agency of women.

    The organisations must be able to commit to the building and continued development of their chat service and have the time, resources or team to accomplish this goal.

    What is the selection criteria?

    The selection process emphasises a strong business case/ theory of change for using chat to benefit low-income women entrepreneurs or women in the workforce
    We are particularly interested in those working to reduce gender disparities.
    Ideal applicants are social enterprises dedicated to developing and expanding a WhatsApp-based chat service, with the resources to build, manage and sustain the chat service after the Accelerator program.
    Applicants should have a clear measurement and evaluation plan on how their new chat-based system can deliver baseline (before accelerator) and endline data (after accelerator) on women's economic empowerment through indicators such as increased turnover, higher income, better market access, upskilling and/or financial services integration.

    Key dates

    Application deadline:
    31 January
    Accelerator programme:
    February '24 - July '25
    “The Chat for Women's Livelihoods Accelerator is about empowering organizations to leverage conversational technology, opening up new avenues for women's economic advancement. We believe that when women thrive, communities flourish and we're excited to see how these six organizations will use WhatsApp chat services to break barriers, create opportunities, and drive meaningful change."
    Pippa Yeats, CO-founder,

    Programme Mentors

    Pippa Yeats
    Chief Strategy Officer
    - Turn.io
    Behavioural change, service design and gender expert.
    Lieze Langford
    Head of Accelerators
    - Turn.io
    Accelerator Programme lead and Go to market expert.
    Nathan Begbie
    AI & Solutions Engineer
    - Turn.io
    Expert on Large language machine learning model integrations and data.
    Vitor Cairoli
    Enterprise support
    - Turn.io
    Dedicated Support on Turn.io product.
    Indrani Vedula
    Impact Partnership lead
    - Turn.io
    APAC and EMEA partnership lead.
    Manish Manohar
    Solutions Engineer
    - Turn.io
    Solutions engineering and technical integrations for chat services.
    Titania Veda
    Conversational designer
    - Turn.io
    Communications and Content Design expert.
    We look forward to scaling the impact of change together – for those who need it most.

    Thank you! Your submission has been received!

    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
    "Despite progress towards gender equality, women still encounter formidable obstacles to economic participation. Our strategy to generate opportunities for 80 million women in low-income communities by 2030 aligns with the belief that when women thrive economically, societies progress globally, leading to positive transformation in education, health, and overall well-being. Our support for the Chat for Women’s Livelihoods Accelerator in 2024 will assist 6 social enterprises that promote entrepreneurship and empower women in the workforce through chat services on WhatsApp to amplify their efforts expanding women’s work, agency and incomes, establishing a strong framework for delivering impactful chat services at a larger scale.
    Leesa Shrader, Deputy Director Women’s Economic Empowerment,
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    Chat for Impact Accelerator Alumni

    Who should apply?

    The initiative seeks to support six social enterprises working to enhance women's livelihoods in low-income countries to develop an impactful chat service on WhatsApp to strengthen and scale their work.

    • Organisations working in Kenya, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Uganda, Senegal, and Nigeria are invited to apply.
    • The selection process emphasises a strong business case/theory of change for using chat to benefit low-income women entrepreneurs or women in the workforce.
    • Organisations that increase business skills provide education, access to digital markets and payment tools, as well as those that provide essential mental health or healthcare support among working women and micro-entrepreneurs, are invited to apply.
    • We are particularly interested in those working to reduce gender disparities.
    • Ideal applicants are social enterprises dedicated to developing and expanding a WhatsApp-based chat service with the resources to sustain it after the Accelerator program.
    • Applicants should have a plan for monitoring and evaluating the impact of their chat service on women's economic empowerment, including increased turnover, higher income, better market access, upskilling and financial services integration.

    Do we need to be using WhatsApp or have a messaging service/bot already?

    Yes. It is a pre-requirement that you have a Live WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) on the WhatsApp Business Platform (API) before the commencement of the Accelerator. Turn.io can assist with onboarding if needed.

    Does our program need to be at a specific scale?

    We prefer organisations with a live WhatsApp Business Account and are ready to scale via WhatsApp.

    Do we need to have it all figured out yet?

    Certainly not, but we need to be confident that you have a committed and agile team with a suitable starting point and the tenacity and ability to iterate and learn. You will receive input during the 18-month accelerator to help you grow and achieve your goals. Right now, we are interested in why you are the right team to support and invest in.

    Do we need to be operating in specific countries?

    Organisations working in Kenya, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Uganda, Senegal, and Nigeria are invited to apply.

    Do we need to have multilingual or single-language programs?

    It does not matter how many languages you operate, but it matters that your program has a clear roadmap on who it is serving and why you are doing it in specific languages.

    Do we need to be tech-savvy to be considered?

    No, both small and big, tech-savvy or new-to-digital organisations can use WhatsApp successfully.

    However you must have the capacity i.e team and time to commit to building and scaling your WhatsApp service.

    You must have a strong business case/theory of change for using digital messaging such as Chat to benefit low-income women entrepreneurs or women in the workforce.

    What are we committing to?
    The 18-month Accelerator Program consists of 3 main elements.
    MVP Kick Start

    Month 1: Work closely with the Turn.io team to create a ready-to-go-live Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

    • 1 x 2 hr Service Design Strategy Session
    • 2 x 1 hr Go to market Strategy sessions

    Month 2: Attend training and prepare for handover to take ownership of your chat service.

    • 2 x Team Training Sessions
    • Unlimited attendance to public Turn training sessions (Basic, Advanced, Technical)

    Month 3: Receive Growth and Iteration guidance from Turn.io to grow your chat service.

    • 1 x 1 hr How to Grow your service session
    • 1 x 1 hr Service Insights & Iteration session
    Ongoing Support & iteration

    Month 4 - Month 18:

    • Monthly Impact check-in focused on strategy and how we can help you reach your goals
    Co hort Learning sessions

    Quarterly learning sessions:

    • Four quarterly cohort learning sessions will cover topics, such as best practices in using chat for human support, best practices using AI and large language models (LLMS) for chat services, launching, marketing and growing a chat service and turning a chat service into a sustainable business.
    • The sessions will feature a topic expert keynote and partner use case analysis, serving as group sessions hosted online on predetermined dates. All six social enterprises are invited to participate, enabling them to learn from experts and each other.
    Team Participation
    • You must have a dedicated team to attend all sessions (60-90 mins per session).
    • These sessions will be hosted online on dates made available in advance.
    • One Cohort session will be held in person; details will be shared in advance.
    • Complete all pre-work assignments before each session.
    • Complete all homework assignments during the Accelerator period.
    • The end goal of the Accelerator is to demo your WhatsApp use case to a selected audience and complete a case study to share learnings.
    • Preparing for this will require time outside of the Accelerator hours. Therefore, plan to design and build your demo at least 1-2 hours daily.

    Who in our team should attend?

    The ideal combination is a business lead (i.e. a team member with a strategic focus and decision-making ability) and a technical lead (i.e. an operational, hands-on team member responsible for implementing your service).

    Can more than two team members attend?

    Organisations will receive the Accelerator agenda beforehand and be allowed to invite additional team members to specific sessions as needed.

    What are the attendance requirements?

    Apart from the time commitment explained above, you will require a computer with internet access and sufficient data to attend all virtual sessions on a conference tool such as Zoom. Ideally, your connection and data will allow you to attend the sessions with your video.

    Is signing up for a WhatsApp Business API account compulsory after the Accelerator?

    It is a selection criteria to have a live WABA account. So please note that your application will only be selected if you have an existing WABA. If a WhatsApp service is not a strategic objective for your organisation for 2024, then there will be other times for you to apply for the Accelerator.

    Can we apply if we are using or planning to use the WhatsApp Business App (not the API)?

    Yes, but the Chat for Impact Accelerator will be focused on building services for the WhatsApp Business Platform (API) only. Therefore, if you plan on scaling your service to use the API, there are better times to apply.

    Do we need to use Turn.io as a BSP?

    Turn.io is hosting the Accelerator, and you will receive a Turn License for the duration of the Accelerator. All hands-on sessions will be on the Turn.io platform. You are not obligated to use them as your Business Solution Provider (BSP) after the Accelerator.

    What is the WhatsApp Business API, and why select it as the means of communication?

    The WhatsApp Business API powers communication with users worldwide so that you can connect with them on WhatsApp in a simple, secure, and reliable way.

    The WhatsApp Business API is a paid product. However, as part of the Accelerator, you will be granted a subsidised license for up to 18 months; further use of the API may result in monthly fees and/or messaging fees.

    What type of messaging is allowed on the WhatsApp Business API?

    WhatsApp is designed for simple, secure and reliable messaging. This includes one-on-one communication and chatbots with a clear escalation path to a human. Please refer to the WhatsApp Commerce Policy and WhatsApp Business Policy to familiarise yourself with the types of messages that are and are not allowed on the WhatsApp Business API.

    What is a Business Service Provider (BSP)?

    Business Service Providers (BSPs) are third-party solution providers with expertise in the WhatsApp Business API. These BSPs can help you communicate with your customers on WhatsApp for the approved use cases of customer support and time-sensitive, personalised notifications.

    Will another Chat for Impact Accelerators be hosted?

    We may or may not do this in the future again.

    We were part of last year’s Accelerator cohort. Can we apply?

    No. If you were part of last year's Accelerator cohort, your application will not be considered.

    We are already a Turn.io client; can we apply?

    Yes, you may apply, but remember, government entities, agencies and institutions will not be considered.

    What are the key factors that will be considered for selection?

    The Chat for Women’s Livelihood Accelerator seeks to support organisations harnessing the power of cutting-edge chat technology, AI, and Large Language Models (LLMs) to build a service that will economically empower women entrepreneurs or women in the workforce. The chat services, enriched with features like payments and learning modules, will aim to enhance women's income opportunities and skills, contributing to bridging the digital divide experienced by women.

    Focus Area
    Economic Empowerment: Enhancing skills, education, healthcare, and market access for women.

    Digital Inclusion: Increasing access to digital marketing, payments, and other essential tools.

    Addressing Gender Barriers: Accelerating social enterprises working towards reducing gender gaps.

    Why was our application not successful?

    There is no straightforward answer to this question as there are various factors, and the program is highly competitive e.g. if you didn’t answer all the questions or did not follow the application guidelines.

    We were unsuccessful, can we still get started on WhatsApp?

    Nothing stops you from applying for a WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) through any Business Service Provider (BSP) or to start using the WhatsApp Business App. Furthermore, if we ever host another Chat for Impact Accelerator and Summit,  you are more than welcome to apply again.

    Do you give feedback on application results?

    You will receive email communication from us on whether you were successful or not. However, we will not provide detailed feedback on why your application was successful or unsuccessful.

    When do applications close?

    All applications received by midnight on 31 January 2024 GMT will be considered.