SPRING Accelerator

Girls mat weaving club from the Huye District in Rwanda having fun
Girls mat weaving club from the Huye District in Rwanda having fun
Melody McDaniel

SPRING is a pioneering accelerator that supports businesses whose products and services could transform the lives of adolescent girls.

Girls bring tremendous potential that every country needs for a prosperous future. Investing in girls leads to lower maternal and infant deaths, lower rates of HIV and AIDS, and better child nutrition. Empowering adolescent girls is critical to eliminating extreme poverty, driving economic growth, and fostering vibrant societies.

Yet, approximately 250 million adolescent girls are living in poverty worldwide, unable to own assets, complete secondary education or safely earn an income to build a healthy and productive life. Adolescent girls are massively underserved. Products and services are rarely designed, marketed or distributed to the majority of the world’s adolescent girls, inhibiting growth and progress.

The Partnership

SPRING Accelerator is a partnership between the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Nike Foundation, and USAID designed to accelerate economic empowerment for girls in parts of Africa and Asia by delivering technical and financial support to early stage enterprises developing life-enhancing products and services that enable girls to safely learn, earn and save.

SPRING is designed to harness the power of markets for the benefit of girls. Working with entrepreneurs with a track record of success, the initiative provides capital, technical assistance, mentoring, and networking to reach girls aged 13-19. This five-year program is now underway in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, with planned expansion to other countries in South Asia and East Africa over the next two years.

Young girl from the Rulindo District in Rwanda fetching water.
Young girl from the Rulindo District in Rwanda fetching water.
Melody McDaniel

Partnership Goals

By 2019, SPRING aims to reach 200,000 girls in 8 countries. In order to achieve this, we’re supporting early-stage ventures with technical and financial support, helping deliver products to market, and disseminating lessons learned to help stimulate investment in girls, and scale up products. Through direct business acceleration and secondary stimulation of investment beyond SPRING enterprises, we hope to reach 50 million adolescent girls by 2030. Entrepreneurs must focus their product efforts on goods and services that help adolescent girls to safely stay in school, earn a living, save money, or accumulate economic assets. The product possibilities are vast. SPRING will pilot a range of options:

  • Time and labor-saving products that help girls stay in or return to school, improving their employment opportunities. Examples include: low-cost solar lamps, foot-powered washing machines, and low-cost bicycles.
  • Income-generating products that can help them pay school fees or, after finishing school, support themselves and their families. Examples include: solar powered mobile charging power blocks, solar powered cooler bags for beverage sales & distribution, micro-franchising products.
  • Financial products that enable girls to save and accumulate economic assets safely. Examples include mobile savings, micro-leasing, and micro-insurance.

Partnership in Action

The first 18 participants were selected in May 2015. Since then, they have been through a “boot camp” to develop ideas, strategise, prototype their products, and begin marketing and development using design principles focused on adolescent girls. Local and global mentors are being paired with participants during August 2015 to ensure that each member has assistance in achieving the accelerator’s objectives. You can follow progress and new developments at https://www.springaccelerator.org/type/participants/.


SPRING is a public-private partnership between USAID, the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), and the Nike Foundation.

Learn More

The Spring Initiative

Spring Booklet [PDF, 4.7MB]

Boosting Women’s Economic Empowerment