Facebook launches accelerator for EMEA e-commerce players

Facebook is now taking applications for a new accelerator that aims to provide mentorship and supports to start-ups focusing on e-commerce tech.

Facebook has launched two new start-up accelerator programmes focusing on the themes of commerce and connectivity. The two 12-week programmes will be held online, with the aim of helping early-stage start-ups explore collaborative partnerships that can support their businesses.

In a statement published by Facebook’s global head of start-up programmes, Michael B Huang, the company outlined how its programmes will help start-ups to scale through immersive and locally tailored training.

This will include one-to-one mentorship from Facebook employees, training on Facebook’s approach to products and businesses, and access to a global network of start-up peers, founders and industry experts.

E-commerce accelerator

The company launched Facebook Accelerator: Commerce to support businesses of all sizes as they adapt their business models to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and pivot to online sales.

“Our goal is to make shopping seamless and empower anyone from an entrepreneur to the largest brand to use our apps to connect with customers,” Huang wrote.

The accelerator is open to start-ups in Latin America and EMEA that are building on commerce platforms, innovating solutions around catalogue functionality and are enhancing the overall commerce experience through conversational tools and immersive shopping experiences. Applications for the accelerator opened on 3 August.

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Huang highlighted some of the alumni from Facebook’s previous commerce-focused accelerators, which includes conversational commerce platform Jumper.ai. The start-up focuses on helping businesses manage conversing with, selling to, and supporting customers on their preferred channels.

The Facebook accelerator programme paired the Jumper.ai team with Facebook experts that helped the start-up define product roadmaps, solve UX issues, refine sales and marketing strategies and rework price models.

Improving connectivity

In addition to the online accelerator targeting Latin American and EMEA-based e-commerce start-ups, the company also launched a new connectivity accelerator calling for applicants in the Americas.

Huang noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed some “hard truths” about the digital divide and the need for reliable, affordable internet connectivity, and so launched Facebook Accelerator: Connectivity.

This programme aims to strengthen emerging start-ups focused on the goal of bringing more people online to a faster internet. It focuses on improving connectivity through technologies, solutions and new models that address the availability and affordability of internet access.

At a previous accelerator focusing on connectivity, Facebook worked with social media start-up Gaius Networks to provide connectivity and access to hyper-localised content in emerging markets, eventually bringing connectivity to more than 100,000 people. More information on this programme and where to apply can be found here.