ICEX Spain Trade and Investment (ICEX), and the Economic and Commercial Office of Spain (OFECOMES) in Los Angeles just launched the first edition of its immersion programme of DESAFÍA San Francisco exclusively dedicated to Spanish technology startups led by women.

The programme aims to introduce entrepreneurs to the Silicon Valley ecosystem with a special focus on supporting women in entrepreneurship, in order to acquire the necessary experience and knowledge to successfully scale their business model globally; provide a soft-landing for selected startups in the U.S. market; promote synergies between companies at similar stages of maturity, benefiting from the experience of the founders, and foster a collaborative community of women in entrepreneurship; attract the attention of stakeholders in the ecosystem with an interest in promoting and supporting women’s technology entrepreneurship.

Run by the local partner Mind the Bridge (MTB), the Fall batch will take place from October 30th to November 10th and will be hosted in the MTB Innovation Center in San Francisco. 

The session will be limited to a maximum of 10 startups that meet the eligibility criteria: 

  • Be a woman top executive (or part of the founding/core team) entrepreneur of a technological startup (product or service) 

  • Be based in Spain

  • Not having participated in the Desafía San Francisco Programme previously

  • Have a product or service in the commercialisation phase that contributes to the achievement of one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 

  • Be in a growth phase: annual turnover increases 20%+ year on year (YoY)

For the selected startups, the Desafia program will consist of a preparation period, followed by an immersive program in Silicon Valley to scale faster and globally:

  • Bootcamp (October 10th, 2023). A one-day workshop in Madrid to learn about the content of the programme, meet the teams, define objectives and expectations, and participate in practical workshops that are preparatory to the subsequent immersion phase.
  • Immersion programme (from October 30th to November 10th, 2023). An intensive two-week programme, structured in two blocks:

First week: training sessions, practical workshops led by founders who have successfully gone global, networking events and visits to ecosystem players. Getting to know the US technology ecosystem in depth, especially Silicon Valley, connecting with ecosystem actors (corporations, mentors and relevant actors with a focus on women in entrepreneurship) and interacting with successful entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley.

Second week: Seminars, mentoring and workshops on leadership and strategic issues related to the areas of marketing, finance, investment, business strategies, legal advice, talent recruitment and views on large technology corporations in the Silicon Valley, among others.

Moreover, participants will benefit from accessing both the Desafia Alumni Programme Network, with 9+ years of experience with Spanish entrepreneurs, and Mind the Bridge’s Alumni Network, with 15+ years of experience with entrepreneurs from around the world. This community is designed to give continuity to the relationships initiated during the immersion programme: it will reinforce the sense of community and encourage the creation of networks of contacts, with the aim of promoting the generation of business and collaboration opportunities.

The call for applications is now open: interested startups can apply here until September 20th, 2023.