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“What can you build in a year?”

Zinc will support an exceptional female tech Founder on the next Zinc Venture Builder, starting in October 2022, to celebrate our former colleague, Rose Acton. Sadly, Rose passed away in December 2020, age 28, after being diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma.

About Rose

Rose was a Founder on Zinc’s first ever Venture Builder programme, who later stepped down from her role as a co-founder at Parla and joined Zinc’s team. Zinc’s Venture Builder offers brilliant individuals the opportunity to co-found and build their own mission-driven commercial business from scratch.

Rose was a polymath, who deeply cared about financial inclusion, the empowerment of women through technology and solving some of the hardest societal problems. Some of Rose’s greatest attributes were grit, ambition, courage, passion, diligence and curiosity. You can read more about her 18-month journey here.

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About the Rose Acton Award

We launched the Rose Acton Award in 2021, to keep Rose’s legacy alive and to cherish her memory.

The award will be granted to one exceptionally ambitious technical female Founder on each of our Venture Builders. Each Founder in the cohort receives a £12,000 stipend across the first six months of Zinc’s Venture Builder programme, to assist with living costs as they find their co-founder and establish their business. The recipient of The Rose Acton Award will receive an additional six-month personal stipend, providing a full year of individual support.

Eligible candidates must:

  • Be a woman with a background in software development/engineering/data sciences/tech
  • Demonstrate Rose’s values
  • Have submitted an application for Zinc’s next Venture Builder programme (in October 2022, this is to reduce environmental harms)

Our first recipient

Ntombikayise Banda is the very first Rose Acton Award recipient. She moved from South Africa to London to join Zinc’s 4th mission cohort to ensure the mental & emotional health of children and young people.

Prior to joining Zinc, Ntombi founded an education technology company that develops low-cost robotics platforms with the aim of nurturing young innovators to master Maths, Science, and 4IR skills in South Africa, including townships and rural communities.

An accomplished computer scientist and engineer, Ntombi is a graduate of the University of Pretoria, the University of Cape Town and Cambridge University.

“I am truly grateful and honoured to receive the Rose Acton Women in Technology Award. I’m still in awe at Rose’s outlook on life and how she fought her battles with so much inspiration, wit, and humour.  I commit to ensuring her legacy lives on and to ignite others with the same fire she lit in me.

I will wear my advocacy for women in tech with pride and will work towards the upliftment of tech women.”

Ntombikayise Banda, the first Rose Acton Award recipient

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How to apply

If you wish to apply or nominate someone please follow one or more of the steps below:

    • Apply to the Zinc Venture Builder programme as a Founder.
    • Apply to be considered for the Rose Acton Award. You will be required to submit three short personal statements, of up to 150 words each, highlighting how in your professional and/or personal life you’ve demonstrated courage, how you’ve followed your passion and how you’ve shown grit.
    • Fill out this form to nominate someone. Know someone exceptional? We’d like to meet her! Please take 5 minutes to recommend her to us.

When is the deadline?

You must both apply and be accepted to the Zinc Venture Builder by 15th October, 2022. You can apply for the Venture Builder and the Rose Acton Award at the same time.

What is the criteria for selection?

The Zinc team and Rose’s family assess candidates based on demonstration of Rose’s value of courage, passion and grit in their professional and personal lives.

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