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Seed grant and pre-accelerator programme for ambitious female founders

At Soda we are passionate about supporting women in business, particularly those tenacious enough to start their own business.

We created RISE UP in 2021 to encourage more women to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career, to lift the capability of female founders and champion female entrepreneurship in Aotearoa.

RISE UP 2023

RISE UP is a seed grant and pre-accelerator programme for globally ambitious female founders. We will select five ambitious female founders to go through a series of founder-focussed workshops, culminating in a pitch night where the winner will take away $10,000 cash! Please note that applications for 2023 open on 1 June.

Who should apply

We're looking for globally ambitious female founders or female led businesses who meet the following criteria:

  • business is pre or early revenue
  • business is scaleable or has some unique IP
  • registered New Zealand business
  • business is less than three years old
Application Process
  • Fill in the online application form below
  • Submit a 90-second video introducing yourself and an elevator pitch of your business
  • Shortlisted applicants will complete a 20-minute interview before Soda selects five finalists

Important Dates

1 June 2023        Applications open

23 June 2023     Applications close

3 July 2023         Finalists confirmed

17 July 2023        Pre-accelerator programme starts

29 August 2023  Pitch night


Our six finalists pitched their business to a public audience and panel of high-profile judges at Wintec House in Hamilton on 17 August 2022.

The winner of RISE UP 2022 was Finery. Read more.

Check out all the event photos.

Watch our 2-minute highlights video.

Watch the recorded livestream of the event.

Apply for RISE UP


What our clients say

What our RISE UP 2022 winner said

Winning RISE UP was affirmation that we were on the right track. The RISE UP programme enabled us to deep dive into our business and, in a short space of time, we made a huge amount of progress. From the day we became a finalist it has felt like an inclusive, professional and nurturing journey.

- Jane Allan, Finery


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