The HEMA Foundation believes that design has tremendous potential to provide solutions for social challenges. That is why we are launching the HEMA Foundation Accelerator. A training and coaching program for up-and-coming designers who want to make a positive impact on the world. If you are an enterprising designer with no more than five years of work experience or still studying, now’s your chance!

The Accelerator will help you to create high-impact concepts that contribute to the overall mission of the HEMA Foundation. Which is: to tackle language gaps in children up to 4 years old and their families. You can propose your own (existing) concept for the Accelerator or come up with a completely new idea during the program. You don’t need experience in the field of language development!

Of course, we will also help you to transform your concept into a successful business. You will enjoy access to a broad network of investors and support in setting up crowdfunding campaigns. Not only that, but the best three concepts will be awarded €5,000 in start-up capital. The concepts remain fully owned by the design teams. It is up to you to determine what you want to do with the concept at the end of the Accelerator.

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of Dutch four-year-olds has a language gap
design teams work on innovative concepts with an impact
months of coaching and training
in start-up capital for the best concepts

why apply?

During the free training and coaching program, you will work with a team on:

  • Vision development: You will learn how you can use your design skills to develop concepts for a more inclusive society.
  • From idea to concept: You will learn to set feasible, scalable goals with an impact and how to turn a good idea into a successful concept.
  • Entrepreneurship: You will learn new business skills that help you to convert your concept into a  successful business with social impact.

We will help you to convert your concept into a business by giving access to a broad network of investors, support in setting up crowdfunding campaigns and award the best concepts €5,000 in start-up capital.

who can apply?

You can apply if you are a design student or if you have no more than five years of work experience as a designer. You don’t need experience in the field of language development. At the start of the Accelerator you have to form a team of at least 2 and no more than 4 people. You can also register immediately as a team (up to 4 people). Then at least one of the team members must be a design student or designer with no more than five years of work experience. This is also the main applicant. The other team members may have a different background / education, for a more diverse and multidisciplinairy team.

Do you want to develop your skills under the guidance of a wide range of experts and together with other designers. And equally as important, use your creativity and skills to make a social impact? If so, you’ve come to the right place! The criteria and our application procedure are described below.


For nine months you will work on your personal skills and a better world. Every two to three weeks you receive individual guidance and coaching or you participate in masterclasses together with the other designers in the field of amongst others (re)framing, concept creation and validation, developing a business case, marketing, personal profiling and communication.

why language skills?

Around 170,000 children are born each year in the Netherlands. Nearly 25% of these children start school with a language gap. Functional illiteracy is often passed down from generation to generation. Growing up in a linguistically deprived family with little conversation or (bedtime) story reading increases the risk of a language gap considerably. The HEMA Foundation wants to change that and help to ensure that no more four-year-olds begin school with a language gap.

our partners

The HEMA Foundation works together with Reframing Studio and Aimforthemoon. Together with Reframing Studio, you will create a vision for the future of the  Netherlands and the role played by language proficiency in that future. Under the motto ‘Ideas are cheap, execution is everything’, Aimforthemoon helps translate ideas into the
testing and development of a strong value proposition and services, concepts or products. For the recruitment and execution of the programme, we also work together with BNO (Association of Dutch Designers) and a number of academic institutions.