Offering digital entrepreneurs up to €75,000 for a ten per cent stake.
O2 parent Telefónica launched the initiative today in London’s Tottenham Court Road, where the UK hub with be located.
It will also take Wayra to its other European territories of Germany, Czech Republic and Ireland.
Wayra, which means ‘wind’ in Quechua, a language of the central Andes, is part of Telefónica’s new Digital unit and has already launched in Latin America and Spain.
It has been around for ten months and attracted 6,000 applications across Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. 80 start-ups have been supported to date.
Telefonica says the scheme was conceived to address the lack of support for tech innovators in Europe and LatAm and prevent further migration of the two continents' top talent to California.
So, Wayra will finance up to 20 projects in each hub, selecting them during a Wayra Week in May will at which they will also receive mentoring and access to technology expertise within Telefónica and O2.
Ultimately, they will receive funding and the use a Wayra Academy. The London office will officially open in May.
Technology entrepreneurs can submit today to April 22 at www.wayra.org/en/wayra-uk-call-2012.
Gonzalo Martín-Villa, global director for Wayra, said: “Launching in Europe is a natural move for Wayra. We have proven that the model works and we now want to create a global Entrepreneurship Network, with Europe being a fundamental part of this network.
“If you are selected to be in the London Academy you are entering much more than that; you are becoming part of the Wayra global network, which can open doors and markets in Latin America for your start-up”.
The launch of Wayra is part of a widower project called Telefonica Think Big.
This is a collection of inter-linked programmes that promote a more entrepreneurial spirit in Europe.
It will give young people an average £300, skills training, mentoring from Telefonica people, and support to promote their project. The best projects get 2nd rounds of funding (average £2,500), Telefonica expects 250,000 young people to participate by 2015.