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About the She Breaks Barriers program

What is the She Breaks Barriers program?

She Breaks Barriers is adidas’ commitment to removing the barriers standing between girls and sport. To enable this change, adidas and Impact Hub have teamed up to create a three-month program designed to support early-stage social start-ups, non-profits, ‘Vereine’ or initiatives that are operating in Germany and addressing the barriers of access, gender stereotypes and visibility faced by girls and women in sports. The sought-after changemakers can address any relevant barriers, from safety concerns to a lack of opportunity and access to sport or limited visibility of female sports in the news and in the local sports club.

What do we mean with inspire and enable girls? What is female empowerment in sports to us?

We focus on initiatives that are addressing the barriers of access, gender stereotypes and visibility for girls and women (preferably under the age of 25 but it is not mandatory) in sport. These barriers can be anything from a lack of opportunity and access to sport to gender stereotypes and a lack of visibility of female sport in the news — or even in the local sports club.

Who can enter the She Breaks Barriers program?

Within the program, we are looking for early-stage start-ups, non-profits organizations, ‘Vereine’ and initiatives that are entirely dedicated to inspiring and enabling girls and women in sports or run one specific project that does.

Note that your early-stage start-ups, non-profits organizations, ‘Vereine’ and initiatives can be in any sector or industry.  The program is not just about addressing challenges that girls and women encounter on the sports pitch but also about breaking the societal barriers that prevent them from taking part. These could be anything from initiatives that work to eliminate stereotypes to mobile applications helping girls and women feel safe on their way to training. We only look at the impact that the specific project has on girls and women in sport.

We are looking for applicants that:
– Offer a unique approach to removing barriers for girls and women in sport and in the wider world.
– Engage in, promote or create access to sports for girls and women.
– Make use of innovative and creative ideas.
– Have a proof of concept.
– Have a sustainable financial, funding or business model.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older. If they are younger than 18, written consent from their parent or a legal guardian is required.

Applicants must operate in Germany.

What is the timeline of the competition?

This was the timeline for the 2019 edition of the program, which is finished now:

3 June – 7 July: Application period

19 July: Announcement of 12 selected ventures

4 September – 6 November: 12 ventures will get mentorship and attend business clinics in Berlin and Munich with adidas industry leaders, please find the dates below:

– Business clinic 1: in the week of 2–6 September 
– Business clinic 2: in the week of 23–27 September 
– Business clinic 3: in the week of 14–18 October 
(Exact dates to be confirmed soon.)

7 November: 12 ventures will do a final presentation & pitch to a panel at adidas in Herzogenaurach HQ. Three winning teams will receive € 15.000 each.

Do I have to attend all dates if I get accepted into the program?

If you are selected you will be asked to appoint 1-2 representatives of your team to attend the program. It will be required to attend all business clinics and the final pitch event outlined in the timeline.

What are the criteria of the competition?

The jury, consisted of industry leaders from adidas and Impact Hub, will select the winning ventures based on the following criteria:

– Impact: The proposed solution has a positive impact on girls and/or women and has metrics to measure this.
– Feasibility: The proposed solution is technically and economically feasible.
– Uniqueness: The proposed solution is fresh, creative and pioneering a new approach.

Who is behind the She Breaks Barriers competition?

This She Breaks Barriers program has been developed by adidas and Impact Hub.

About adidas:

adidas has its roots in Germany but it is a truly global company. Around the world, the company employs over 57,000 people. Employees from about 100 nations are working at the global HQ in Herzogenaurach, Germany – the ‘World of Sports’. Every year, adidas produces over 900 million sports and sports lifestyle products with independent manufacturing partners worldwide.

About Impact Hub:

Impact Hub is a global network focused on building communities for impact at scale. With 100+ communities of 16,000+ change-driven entrepreneurs in more than 50 countries across five continents, Impact Hub is one of the world’s largest community and accelerator for positive change.
In Germany
Impact Hub Berlin is the local implementation partner and facilitator of the program.

Entering the competition

Is there a fee for entering the competition?

No, there isn’t.

What support will I get if I enter?

If your solution makes it through to the final round of the top 12 ventures, you will get the exclusive opportunity to attend three exclusive business clinics, pitch your solution to an expert panel at adidas HQ in Herzogenaurach, receive support from various coaches and professionals from adidas and have the opportunity to co-create with adidas. On top of that, the 3 winning teams that make it to the end of the program will get access to € 15.000 funding each to scale their project. Important to take into consideration:

– The winner is responsible for any tax due on the prize.

– It is prohibited to transfer the rights to the prize to a third party.

– The prize should be spent exclusively for the development of the solution as presented in the application.

– In order to receive the prize, it is required to sign the prize receipt protocol.

– In case the Winner does not collect the Prize or fails to comply with all the conditions of its receipt, the prize will remain at the exclusive disposal of the Organizer.

Please also read the Terms & Conditions for all of the details for participating in the program.

Are there any terms and conditions I should know about?

Yes, you can find the complete list of Terms and Conditions here. Please read them carefully. In order to submit your application, you need to agree to the Terms and Conditions.

What happens to the documents submitted and the related rights?

The applicant retains all rights to the documents submitted and all content.

How do I participate in the competition?

Potential participants should fill in an online form (available when applications are open) and accept the Terms and Conditions. The organizers will evaluate the applications against the entry criteria and if your solution meets these criteria it will be published online and you will officially be part of the She Breaks Barriers program. The organizers will send you an automatic email informing you if your solution has made it through into the competition or not. A panel of industry leaders will then evaluate all the submissions and choose the top 12 that will be matched to mentors and coaches from the adidas network, get invited to three exclusive business clinics at Impact Hub and our Final Pitch event at Adidas HQ.

Can I enter on my own or do I need to be part of a team?

Only start-ups, non-profit organizations, ‘Vereine’ and initiatives can apply as a team. In any doubts on your application, please don’t hesitate to contact us:

Is there a restriction on the number of team members my team can have?

No, the size of the team doesn’t matter.

In what languages can I submit my application?

Your application can be submitted in English or German. Please note: we are addressing an intercultural target audience on both project maker side and adidas mentor side; therefore all communication will be in English.

Can I submit more than one project?

Yes you can, as long as the project fits the entry criteria. Please note that only one project per applicant can move to the next stage if the judges will select it.

Can I change and update my entry after submitting it?

No. Once you submit your application you will not be able to edit any the sections of your application. Make sure you have all the information content in before you submit.


Who will see my application? Will everything I submit be made public?

adidas and Impact Hub will only share a general description of the winners through their communication. All other information will only be seen by the organizers and our judges. Also have a look at our Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy to read more about how we protect your information. We would like to stress that any information you provide in this application form must be non-confidential. Please note that your personal information will be used by the organizers as a means of contacting you.


I'm running out of time and might miss the deadline. What are my options?

Focus on the key messages and meeting the basic entry requirements in as few words as possible.

What if the website goes down and I can't submit my solution?

We would hope this would never happen. But if you run into problems then contact us at and we will work with you to find a satisfactory solution.

My solution was on the website, but has now disappeared. Why is that?

Something may have gone wrong technically or we may have additional questions about your submission. Please contact us at as soon as possible and we will get back to you.

Why has my solution entry been rejected?

If you are not sure why your entry has been rejected, please take a look at the programs entry criteria. If you have a specific question about your project’s eligibility to be part of the program, please get in touch with us at

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Who is selecting the final 12 solutions that will go to the business clinics and final event?

A panel of industry leaders will evaluate all submissions and select the 12 ventures that will go through the adidas and Impact Hub program and have the opportunity to pitch their idea in the final event of the competition.

How will I know if I'm one of the finalists?

The applicants of the 2019 edition of the program received an email letting them know they were selected or not in the week of July 15–19.  

What if I received an email saying that I am part of the finalists, what is next?

In the 2019 edition of the program, if selected as a finalist, the venture was invited to take part in a three-month program consisting of three business clinics where professional mentors and coaches from adidas worked closely with Impact Hub and the chosen ventures to guide, inspire and accelerate their work — and prepare them for the final pitch event.

In 2019, the final event happened on November 7th. During the final event at adidas HQ ventures had the opportunity to present their solution.

Promoting my solution online

We encourage all the finalists to promote their solution and participation in this competition online, using any social media channel they feel is suitable for your target group. The organizers will ask for the social media accounts so we can follow you and amplify your posts, giving you a platform to make yourself known and gather potential support. In order to track any online activity connected to this campaign, we will ask you to use the #changemakersunite hashtag when you post on social media.

Will my costs for travel and accomodation be reimbursed?

No, unfortunately, the organizers can only cover the costs of the curriculum and attached events. Travel and accommodation costs need to be covered by the teams themselves. If this is a reason for you to not participate in the program, please send an email to and we will try to find a solution.


What's the judging process for the final event?

In choosing the overall winner, our judges will apply the same criteria they used to select the finalists. They will also take into account how persuasive you are in your pitch. In addition, they will be considering which of the final solutions they believe to have the greatest potential for scaling.

Still have questions?

If you cannot see your question here, do not hesitate to get in touch at The adidas She Breaks Barriers team will be happy to help.


Who were the selected ventures that joined the program?

We were glad to see that a multitude of diverse organizations are working on reducing the barriers for girls and women in sport. This made the selection process even harder but together with the support of industry leaders, we were able to come to a decision and were very excited about the 11 ventures that joined the program:


-Bike Bridge e.V. 

Boxgirls Berlin e.V.  


Frauen im Sport 

Girls Inc.

JUNO – eine Stimme für Flüchtlingsfrauen  

Kein Abseits!

Kicking Girls

Parkour e.V. – Wonderwomen  


How did the program progress?

After the application period (June-July 2019), the 11 selected ventures joined the She Breaks Barriers Program which happened between August-November 2019. They received mentoring and coaching from experienced adidas experts and attended three tailored business clinics in Berlin and Munich, in Germany. 

During the Welcome Day the focus was on ‘getting to know each other’ through icebreaker games, as the mentors and ventures met for the first time. The ventures pitched their project to their mentors and together they participated in workshops on Impact Logic and Roadmapping (setting goals for the program!). Both ventures and their mentors shared that the matches worked out incredibly well for them and they wanted to have more time with each other. 

The next day, the first Business Clinic took place and all selected ventures and their mentors took part in a Business Model session together with Adidas experts. 

During the second Business Clinic the main topic was Financial Planning, as most of the ventures are non-profit businesses and are looking for sustainable income streams in order to increase their impact.  

In the third Business Clinic, all ventures worked on the topic of Digital Marketing together with their mentors and developed a strategy on how to effectively use their social media channels. 

How was the pitching event?

The final event took place at the adidas Herzogenaurach headquarters. All teams had 5 minutes to pitch their venture on-stage, followed by a 3 minute Q&A from the panel and audience. Selecting the winners was a jury of 5 judges. The event wrapped up with networking opportunities and a chance to wind down and celebrate the successes. 

Who are the winners?

The recipients of the financial prize are Bike Bridge, Boxgirls Berlin and Parkour Creation who each won €15,000 and a 3 months part-time membership at any Impact Hub in Germany. Ballsie and JUNO were selected as the audience award winners and won an extra 3-months Impact Hub membership. This will enable them to stay connected with the Impact Hub ecosystem and keep developing their projects.

What was the criteria that determined the winners?

The winners were chosen based on 7 categories:

-Feasibility – The proposed solution is technically and economically feasible.

-Uniqueness – The proposed solution is fresh, creative and pioneering a new approach.

-Scalability – The concept has the potential to be scaled to other markets.

-Team – The team capable of pursuing their venture.

-Motivation & Presentation Skills – The founders have a strong personal motivation in driving their venture and pitch this convincingly. 

-Progress & Prize money fit – The level of progress achieved by the team throughout the program and the benefit the team would gain from the €15,000 prize money.

Who were the judges?

Jury members

1.Fadumo Olow, Co-founder of the ‘She Is Off Side’ podcast and former Football professional

2.Gabriela Gandel, Executive Director of Impact Hub 

3.Luc van Hoeckel, Director of Social Impact at adidas

4.Sascha Stremming, Head of Acceleration at Impact Hub Berlin 

5.Sophia Amanzi-Oyugah, Director of adidas Originals Women