Nike Foundation and The Unreasonable Group Announce World’s First Accelerator Program to Benefit Girls in Poverty

The Girl Effect Accelerator will bring 10 ventures to Bay Area this month

PORTLAND, Ore.--()--The Nike Foundation and The Unreasonable Group today announced the launch of The Girl Effect Accelerator. The new accelerator program is the first in the world dedicated to supporting high-impact entrepreneurs to positively benefit millions of girls living in poverty.

The two-week program will commence on October 31 in the San Francisco Bay Area, where ten participating ventures will work with world-class mentors to identify opportunities to scale and grow their businesses - with the ultimate aim of benefiting adolescent girls living on less than $2 a day. The ventures will also gain access to a global support network through the Unreasonable Group and have an opportunity to attract additional funding at the program’s concluding investor day event.

The ten participating ventures include: the world’s largest and fastest growing chain of schools (Bridge International Academies, Kenya); one of the fastest-growing mobile banking companies in the world (Paga, Nigeria); and a company preventing school dropout by making a radically affordable sanitary pad for girls (Jayashree Industries, India). Participating companies generated an average of more than $2 million revenue in 2013, and they all share the belief that supporting the needs of adolescent girls in poverty is the best investment we can make in our shared future.

“Today there are over 250 million girls living in poverty. The realities they confront are inconceivable to most of us, but when we have talked to them about their hopes, dreams and goals, we have learned that they are not simply victims of poverty. Instead, we, like them, believe that when empowered to reach their potential, they can play a crucial role in solving the toughest problems facing the world,” said Shaifali Puri, Executive Director of Global Innovation at The Nike Foundation. “But while every year more than $120 billion is spent in international development assistance, the system has yet to produce the game-changing results we all desire for girls. The Girl Effect Accelerator is designed to bring new problem solvers to the table and support ventures that are locally driven, aid-independent, financially sustainable, and can help adolescent girls to reach their potential.”

“At Unreasonable, we believe that entrepreneurship can be leveraged as a tool to put a dent on global poverty. But if we are going to have a chance at delivering on this promise, we need to align with entrepreneurs who are positioned to unleash the potential of girls living in poverty,” said Daniel Epstein, the founder and CEO of Unreasonable Group. “If you are an investor in Silicon Valley and you have questioned why entrepreneurs aren’t solving harder and more meaningful problems, I invite you to join us for the investor gathering on November 12. The 10 companies we invited to join us represent some of the fastest growing and most impactful startups in the world. They are the true 'black swans' of our time. Our goal is to help scale up their efforts and, in turn, their impact on girls in poverty.”

The ten participating ventures in the Girl Effect Accelerator are: Bridge International Academies, Eco-Fuel Africa, Embrace, Eneza, Greenlight Planet, Jayashree Industries, My Paga, Off-Grid Electric, Soko, and Zoona.

Mentors for the Girl Effect Accelerator include: Jessica Jackley, co-founder of; George Kembel, co-founder of Stanford’s; Seth Godin, author and founder of; Paul Polak, author and founder of International Development Enterprises, among many other companies; and Fadi Ghandour, founder of Aramex.

For more information about The Girl Effect Accelerator, and to sign up for the culminating event on November 11th or the private investor gathering on November 12th please visit:

About The Girl Effect:

The Girl Effect is a movement focused on the unique potential of adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves, their families, their communities, their countries and the world. Created by the Nike Foundation in collaboration with the NoVo Foundation, United Nations Foundation and Coalition for Adolescent Girls, The Girl Effect is fueled by hundreds of thousands of girl champions who recognize the untapped potential of adolescent girls living in poverty.

About The Unreasonable Group:

The vision behind Unreasonable Group found its roots at the Unreasonable Institute, an international accelerator for early stage entrepreneurs who leveraged business to tackle major social and environmental challenges that Daniel Epstein founded in the summer of 2010. Epstein later founded The Unreasonable Group with the goal of launching a portfolio of companies that will together support the next generation of entrepreneurs aimed at leveraging profit to tackle seemingly intractable social and environmental problems.


Nike Foundation
Nell Frabotta, 415-655-3015


Nike Foundation
Nell Frabotta, 415-655-3015