In 2021 the second edition of the UNLOCK Accelerator will take place. Below, you can find a range of frequently asked questions regarding the program. In case you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us at email@example.com. We are continuously updating our list of FAQ.
How does the UNLOCK Accelerator program relate to Wikimedia?
The UNLOCK Accelerator is designed, financed and carried out by Wikimedia Deutschland e. V., a non-profit organization located in Berlin, Germany.
What is meant by Free Knowledge?
Wikimedia’s vision is a world in which everyone can share, use and multiply all of humanity’s knowledge. By Free Knowledge we mean knowledge that is available, changeable and reusable free of charge for everyone at any time. The best known source of Free Knowledge is the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
Where will the program take place and what’s the program language?
Originally, we planned on hosting the program in Berlin. Because of Covid-19 and the ensuing restrictions, however, the program will take place online. All events are organized from Berlin in Central European Summer Time (CEST). The program will be held in the English language.
How many teams are accepted into the program?
For the 2021 edition, we will accept up to seven teams into the accelerator program.
What is the duration of the program?
The duration of the program is three months, structured through three sprints and additional kick-off and concluding events. The program will start on July 1 and close in early October. All event dates and milestones can be viewed here.
What are the desired outcomes of the program?
The program’s goals are outlined here. In a nutshell, the UNLOCK Accelerator pursues two main objectives:
- By the end of the program each team is able to present a functional prototype of their initial project idea or has further developed their prototype to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The project results will be made publicly available under a free license in the meaning of Open Source Licenses and the Open Definition on www.wikimedia.de. This allows the project results to be freely shared on the web and for others to build upon them. We recommend: The licenses GPL2, GPL3, MIT or Apache for source code, for all other content like text, images, graphics, videos, music either CC BY 4.0 international or CC BY-SA 4.0 international.
- All teams will profit from the collaborative nature of the program and the network of Wikimedia Deutschland. Participants are challenged to validate and refine their ideas and impact. We hope to build relationships that will last beyond its duration and nurture a bigger movement that promotes Free Knowledge globally.
What is expected from the team during the program?
UNLOCK is a hands-on working program. We will combine highly individualized coaching with input from experts to advance your ideas. This means we will cater to the specific needs of your project. In return we expect that you attend all of the scheduled events as well as put in the time required to work on your idea individually. Your team is also asked to write an interim report in the form of a blog entry by the deadline on August 31, 2021. The report will provide a glimpse into the progression of your project. You must also agree to the publication of your interim report on the UNLOCK blog.
What will the project support look like?
At the start of the program we will assign a coach to each project team. He/she will be at your side throughout the entire three months to guide you through your individual product development process. Our coaches will meet you where you are at, challenge your ideas, share their expertise and will offer methodologies and insights into a variety of topics. On top of that, additional experts will offer their specialized expertise in fields ranging from community engagement, business modelling for social businesses to impact measurement of your project. The UNLOCK team will also assist you throughout the program, organize the events and share their professional and creative knowledge.
What happens to our project after the program?
Following the three months, we will invite all teams to our Demo Day. Here, the teams will have the opportunity to present their project results and talk about their successes, challenges and issues. The Demo Day will be a public event to which we will also invite other guests. Here, you have the opportunity to publicly promote your product and to get in touch with other stakeholders.
Following the Demo Day, we envision three possible scenarios: a) You would rather continue on your own; b) You will develop your idea further in collaboration with Wikimedia Deutschland and c) You will develop your idea further with one of Wikimedia Deutschland’s networking partners. We will jointly discuss on how to best continue with your project once the accelerator has been completed. We also strive to maintain close contact with all UNLOCK participants going forward and to connect you with previous participants as well.
Does my team retain the rights to their concept?
Yes. While we want to openly share what happens during the UNLOCK Accelerator, the idea itself remains yours.
How exactly does the financial support work?
If required, we can support your participation in the program with a scholarship of up to EUR 1,000 per month and team member. The grants are meant to help finance your living expenses and make your participation possible in the first place if you intend to work on your project full-time.
The scholarship money will be paid to individuals who are of legal age with a registered bank account in Europe. The scholarship will be paid in Euros. The recipient bears all transaction and conversion fees.
If you want to apply for the scholarship, please be sure to state in the application form which of your team members might be in need of financial support in order to be able to participate in the program.
*Although we will try our best to approve all applications, please note that the receipt of a scholarship is not guaranteed. Eligibility to receive a scholarship must be assessed on a case-by-case basis as the transaction into certain countries is not possible as a Germany-based non-profit organization for varying legal and political reasons depending on the recipient’s home country. We will assess this together.
Once the scholarship is approved and you have received a written confirmation, the scholarship will be paid out in two equal instalments. The first instalment will be paid out at the beginning of the program following the Kick-Off event. The payment of the second instalment will be made in the latter part of the program.
Are any conditions attached to the scholarship?
Yes, once eligibility for the scholarship has been confirmed, it is attached to the following conditions:
- You are required to participate in all scheduled events (Kick-Off, Sprints 1-2, Rehearsals and Demo Day);.
- You will make your project results publicly available under a free licence in the meaning of Open Source Licenses and the Open Definition on www.wikimedia.de. This allows the project results to be freely shared on the web and for others to build upon them. We recommend: The licenses GPL2, GPL3, MIT or Apache for source code, for all other content like text, images, graphics, videos, music either CC BY 4.0 international or CC BY-SA 4.0 international.
Do we need to pay taxes on the scholarship support?
According to paragraph 3, section 44 of the German income tax code (EstG) scholarships are tax free under certain conditions. It is solely the responsibility of the recipient of the scholarship to ensure that any tax payments are made in accordance with regulations of their home country. It is solely the responsibility of the recipient to ensure any continued insurance payments and, where applicable, to obtain any approvals of third parties with a view to their eligibility for the scholarship. Wikimedia Deutschland does not guarantee that the scholarships are tax free. In the case that the scholarship money is subject to taxation, the above-mentioned amount is the gross amount.
Requirements for participation
What kind of projects are eligible for application?
In terms of content, your project should offer a solution to the set challenge on (re)building trust in a digital age outlined here. Also, we believe that concepts that are made freely accessible offer opportunities for further development and generate new ideas and collaborations. We want to ensure that projects supported in the program can continue to be developed in the future. Therefore, all project results should be made publicly available under a free license following the program.
What stage should our project be in when applying?
UNLOCK is designed to boost early stage project teams with a ready / almost ready prototype. You should be prepared to either start validating and testing your idea with first pilot users, or to further develop your prototype to a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and expand your existing user base.
Do you accept teams from all over Europe?
Yes, we believe that great ideas are not limited by geographic borders. And since our program is easily adaptable to a wider European area in design and setup, for the first time, we are seeking participants from across all European countries to join our accelerator program.
Why do we have to apply as a team?
You never walk alone – the accelerator is conceived as a program for teams because we believe that the best ideas and concepts are developed in groups. Each team should be made up of a minimum of two and no more than five members. Also, your team setup should cover the core expertise required to implement your idea.
How much time should we allocate for participating in the UNLOCK Accelerator?
During the three-month program you will be asked to attend a number of events that bring together all teams and include the core working sessions of the program. Attendance at these sessions is mandatory. You can find all dates here. In between events your team decides on how much time you want to spend on your project. Experience has shown that you should allocate approximately 20 hours per week each during that time to properly advance your project and make the most of the program. The scholarship is intended to help those of you normally working elsewhere to earn a livelihood while working on the project full-time.
What technical equipment do I need to participate in the program?
To be able to participate in the program events, each team member needs to have a stable internet connection and a personal computer, laptop or tablet with built-in camera and microphone. We will provide several digital tools such as video conferencing and online whiteboard tools for virtual collaborations.
What level of English is required to participate in the program?
The program will be held in the English language. Therefore, a good command of the English language is required both verbally and written.
Is participation in the program free of charge?
Participation in the UNLOCK Accelerator program is offered free of charge. We do, however, expect commitment and engagement from each participant in order to create a valuable experience for everyone.
What does the application process look like?
A maximum of seven teams will be admitted to participate in the UNLOCK Accelerator. The application process includes the following steps:
- Written application: Simply answer the questions listed in the application form and send it to us before the application deadline on May 16, 2021.
- Preselection: The UNLOCK jury will review all submissions and agree on a shortlist of ten teams selected from the applications received. The members of the jury are a combination of Wikimedia staff members, external Free Knowledge experts and coaches mentoring the program. During the selection process, the jury will pay special attention to the following three aspects of your application: How well is your idea suited to the problem? Is your team well staffed and equipped? And to what extent can the UNLOCK Accelerator be of meaningful assistance to your project at this point in the process?
- Video call: Prior to the final selection we want to get to know your team personally. To this end, we will invite the shortlisted teams to a virtual get-to-know-you-call. The calls will take place between June 1-10 and will last about 60 minutes each.
- Decision: Following the calls, we will send acceptance letters via email to the final seven teams. In case one of the final seven teams is unable to confirm their seat in the UNLOCK Accelerator, a replacement team will be chosen and contacted as soon as possible. Once all the teams are confirmed, we will send a message to that effect to all applicants.
The application form states that I must agree to an evaluation – what exactly does that mean?
This year’s program will be the second edition of the UNLOCK Accelerator. We already learned so much from round one that we are implementing in this edition and we want to continue improving the program going forward as well. This is why we are planning on regularly asking for your feedback and suggestions. Don’t worry, we will not flood you with questionnaires (okay, it looks like there will be two). What we are most interested in is listening to your evaluations in talks held in small groups throughout the program. And we will of course share the results with you.