information for transformational people

zinc 246Quality of later life start-up programme

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

Excited by technology, the Founders 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.

They are now asking for applications for their 3rd Company Builder Programme - Mission 3: “To add 5 more high-quality years to later life”.

This programme will begin in September 2019 but applications need to be sent now.

People often ask Zinc 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 they aspire for in the businesses that come out of Zinc.

Are you creative, entrepreneurial, mission-driven and wanting to start a company? They 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. During their 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.

The timeline is as follows:

Application Timeline:

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

Programme Timeline:

30 September 2019 - Programme commences

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

  • Match: meet potential co-founders, explore problems and opportunities, test assumptions and outline a business idea.
  • Hatch: gain traction with users, test and improve your product or service, identify a clear business model and market opportunity.
  • Accelerate: successfully pitch an idea to join this phase, build a ‘runway’ and secure the resources needed to achieve your ambitions.


Continue to be part of the extensive and valuable Zinc community.

Benefits of Zinc 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.

Who are Zinc looking for?

The Company Builder Programme works by bringing together the right mix of creativity, entrepreneurship, science, technology and empathy. They 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 10 opportunity areas.

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

More details and how to apply are here.

Retweet about this article:



Geoff Knott, 08/05/2019

To submit a story or to publicise an event please contact us. Sign up for email here.