Wayra – a Telefónica backed accelerator network – is launching a new startup accelerator programme ‘Fair By Design’ to solve Britain’s so-called ‘poverty premium’.
Wayra Fair By Design aims to support seven tech startups yearly to find solutions to prevent low-income families paying more for services such as energy, insurance, borrowing and transport.
The three year accelerator programme is backed by the Fair Design Fund and it’s ready to invest £8m to support startups that are helping people avoid been charged more to borrow loans due to bad credit history.
It also has interest in raising a further £20m fund to help companies fight the poverty premium, both within the accelerator and the rest of UK.
Wayra Fair By Design is looking to invest in and accelerate start-ups tackling the poverty premium in the UK within these four areas:
Startups qualifying for the programme will receive – £70,000 in cash and services; support from investors, mentors and coaches; opportunities to work with Telefónica and its partners, and access to working space at Open Future_ North.
The Fair Design Fund is a partnership between Big Society Capital, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Finance Birmingham and Ascension Ventures.
According to a report last year by University of Bristol, research found that the poverty premium paid by low-income families is, on average, £490 per year – which is more than those on higher income.
Gary Stewart, Director of Wayra UK, said: “It should not cost more to be poor. An entrepreneur’s central task is to offer a compelling, sustainable solution to big problems, and we can think of fewer problems bigger or more worthy of a solution than this one.
“We are eager to work with start-ups to make real progress in the battle against inequality.”