What does the Zinc Programme look like?

Zinc builds new companies that tackle the biggest social challenges in the developed world. We do this through a 9-month full-time programme for 50 creative entrepreneurial individuals (we call them ‘Founders’), who come together at Zinc to find their co-Founders and build new businesses from scratch. 

Excited by technology, they are driven by the desire to use their skills, experience and energy to have a personal impact on the social issues that really matter to them. With Zinc’s help, the Founders create scalable products and services that target millions of customers, based on the best social science research, exponential technologies and creative design. 

Each programme has a single mission.

Mission 1: “To improve the mental and emotional health of 650m women and girls in the developed world” started in October 2017. We are very proud of the calibre of Founders on the first mission, with an equal balance of men and women, who came together from 19 different countries and combined their tech, business, creative and specialist skills to set-up 17 new businesses. You can see their businesses on the Mission 1 page. 

Mission 2: “To unlock new opportunities for people in places that have been hard-hit by globalisation and automation" started in London on 1st October 2018. We are excited to share that we have 18 companies in our Mission 2 Portfolio, all of which represent a very diverse group of Founders: more than half of the companies have a female founder; 70% of the Founders are not British-born; and the average age of the Founders is 35 (ranging from 25 to 56). You can find their companies on the Mission 2 page.

Mission 3: “To add 5 more high-quality years to later life” will begin in September 2019. Find out more on the Mission 3 page.

People often ask us what success would look like for a Zinc business. Well, 50 years ago, a group of social scientists, creative artists and business people focused on the mission of “mastering the addictive power of TV to do some good in the world”. The result was Sesame Street, the most-watched kids’ TV show ever across 140 countries, It had more educational impact on poor minority children than expensive and scarce pre-schools, and generated the $1billion Muppet franchise which is still going strong. That’s the scale and longevity of social and commercial impact that we aspire for in the businesses that come out of Zinc. 

How to get Involved

Are you creative, entrepreneurial, mission-driven and wanting to start a company?

We are looking for 50 bright minds to become ‘Founders’ and develop innovative solutions that can increase the quality of later life for millions of people across the developed world. Click here to learn more about Mission 3.

During our nine-month full-time London-based programme, you will have the opportunity to meet a co-founder and utilise domain expertise and insights from social sciences to build a highly scalable, mission-led company from scratch.

Throughout the programme you will have support from an extensive community of Fellows (expert advisors) from academia, entrepreneurship, creative industries, technology, corporates, public services and investment to maximise your company’s success.



Application Timeline:

15 April 2019 - Round 1 application deadline

15 May 2019 - Round 2 application deadline

23 June 2019 - Round 3 application deadline

Programme Timeline:

30 September 2019 - Programme commences

The programme is split into 3 three-month phases - Match Hatch and Accelerate:

  1. Match: meet potential co-founders, explore problems and opportunities, test assumptions and outline a business idea.

  2. Hatch: gain traction with users, test and improve your product or service, identify a clear business model and market opportunity.

  3. Accelerate: successfully pitch an idea to join this phase, build a ‘runway’ and secure the resources needed to achieve your ambitions.

  4. Post-programme: continue to be part of the extensive and valuable Zinc community.

Why Zinc? - Benefits of our proven programme

  • Intensive and structured programme: be guided through the creation of the right product, team and business.

  • Network of experts and advisors: gain access to leading experts from academia, business, design and technology.

  • Stipend: £12,000 paid over nine months.

  • Opportunity to find a co-founder: connect with people who share your passion and compliment your skills.

  • Mission-led: harness the power of the mission to mobilise talent, ideas and capital.

  • Co-working space: access our centrally-located office space.

  • Credits: for cloud computing services.

  • Cohort: be part of a brilliant, diverse and supportive cohort of Founders.

  • Founding Shareholder: Zinc as a Founding Shareholder in your new company, based on a 8% equity stake.

Application process:

Who are we looking for?

The Company Builder Programme works by bringing together the right mix of creativity, entrepreneurship, science, technology and empathy.

We look for creators and innovators from a variety of backgrounds, including clinicians, engineers, financial services experts, creative designers, researchers, serial entrepreneurs, product managers, NGO innovators, life scientists, care managers, and more.

Founders will be diverse in terms of gender, age, ethnicity and nationality but will share a passion to co-found a commercial business from scratch within one or more of the 10 opportunity areas outlined.

They will also demonstrate:

  • Ambition and Drive

  • Commitment to social impact

  • Commercial mindset

  • Fresh insight

  • Creativity

  • Comfort with uncertainty

  • Obsession with meeting user needs

  • Power to mobilise supporters

  • Ability to get things done

Submitting an application:

Applications are now open and Founders will be chosen on a rolling basis, so please apply as soon as possible to increase your chances of securing a place on the programme.


15 May 2019 - Round 2 application deadline

23 June 2019 - Round 3 application deadline

To apply you will need to upload your CV, express your motivation to join the programme, and select from the 10 opportunity areas that best match your passions, skills, experience and/or imagination.

Next steps:

Your application will be acknowledged within two working days of submission. If shortlisted, you will be invited to a ‘Pre-Founders Day’ (PFD), which will include series of one-to-one interviews with the Zinc Team and a group ideation exercise.

A decision will be made within 3 weeks of the PFD. The decision will be:

1. Offer – The exceptional merits of your application and your PFD performance mean Zinc would like to offer you a place on the programme.

2. Waitlist – Zinc is unable to make an offer at this stage, but remain open given the strengths of your application.

3. Decline – Your application will come to an end but the option to apply to a subsequent mission is available.