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.

  • Design student (accelerator is open for all specializations) or up to five years of work experience as a designer
  • Available for 9 months to attend 13 master classes and meetings in the Netherlands and to work on your own concept (the accelerator requires an average of 8 hours of time investment per week and every 2 to 3 weeks there is a workshop.) In August there is a summer break. )
  • Wants to invest in themselves and at the same time work on creating and implementing concepts with social impact
  • Fluent in Dutch or English
  • Has affinity with social themes and inclusive design
  • Would like to actively participate in and learn from the program
  • Is open to feedback and needs training & coaching
  • Wants to work together in a multidisciplinary group and is willing to form a team with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 team members at the start of the Accelerator
  • Can motivate why (s)he wants to participate in the Accelerator
  • Has an enterpreneurial mindset and the ambition to make a business model for the concept or pitch for funding.

There is room for a limited number of participants. That is why a selection takes place after registration. In week 15 we first check whether your registration meets the preconditions. And we test your registration on the basis of the content and your motivation. You can add a personal (video)pitch (optional, not compulsary). We then make a shortlist with the best candidates and invite these candidates to a personal (motivation) interview in week 16. Selection will be done by Matthijs van Dijk (Reframing Studio), Patrick Aarts (BNO), Adriana Hoppenbrouwer (HEMA Foundation), Princess Laurentien van Oranje (HEMA Foundation) and Leonard Bukenya (Aimforthemoon).

Important data

  • Deadline registration: 15 April 2019
  • First selection round: 16-17 April
  • Selection Day (personal interviews): 23 April in the afternoon
  • Final selection candidates: 24 April
  • Kick-off Accelerator: 30 april (full day)
  • End of Accelerator: December 2019

When registering, we ask you for the following information:

  • Personal data and – if applicable – data for team members
  • Education background and / or work experience
  • Optional: portfolio (does not have to be related to the theme language skills)
  • Personal motivation:
    • What drives you to participate?
    • What do you want to learn from the Accelerator for your personal development
    • How do you see the future of language skills among young children? Please note: you do not have to have experience with the language proficiency theme! We just want to hear your vision and thoughts about this theme.
    • What is your dream in 1 year after the Accelerator
    • Optional: personal pitch video (max. 3 minutes) or presentation


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.