Since launching in 2015, Project Entrepreneur — a media partner of Mashable — has trained more than 1,200 aspiring entrepreneurs representing 131 U.S. cities. Its annual venture competition has yielded an alumnae community of nearly 400 women entrepreneurs, with the 2016 finalists reporting $10+ million raised in seed and pre-seed funding.Now entering its third year, Project Entrepreneur (PE) — an initiative from the Rent the Runway Foundation and UBS Elevating Entrepreneurs — is expanding the number of winning companies in the accelerator from three to five.
“We are so excited to continue working with UBS in providing women with the tools they need to create high-growth companies, and see their visions through,” said Jennifer Hyman, CEO and Co-Founder of Rent the Runway. “Past participants in our accelerator continue to inspire us with their incredible progress, including closing rounds of funding. We are eager to provide the next class of talented female founders with the tools and support they need to scale, and to see the disruption their companies bring to various different industries.”
PE's annual venture competition is open to female founders who are in the prototype or beta stages, have their first paying customers, or are generating revenue. The top 200 applicants will be invited to attend the PE Intensive in New York City on April 13-14, 2018, a free two-day event comprised of in-depth workshops, expert speakers and a pitch competition. The five winning founders will each receive a $10,000 grant, a spot in the five-week accelerator program at Rent the Runway’s New York office and mentorship and engagement with UBS executives, entrepreneurs, and investors. Founders interested can apply online; but don’t wait, as the deadline is December 1st!
Last year’s winning companies included: New York-based LOLI Beauty, the first BIY (Blend It Yourself) clean and green beauty brand; Scottsdale-based The Touchpoint Solution, a neuroscience wearable that alleviates stress by altering the body’s stress response in as little as 30 seconds; and San Francisco-based Lace & Liberty, merging direct-to-consumer convenience with luxury bespoke bridalwear. Two additional New York-based companies were hosted by The Knot/XO Group Co-Founder Carley Roney and designer Rebecca Minkoff: Repeat Roses, a sustainable floral waste removal business that gives back to people and planet, and Reboundwear, athleisure wear with a purpose, respectively.
“The caliber of companies we're seeing through Project Entrepreneur further validates what we've always believed — that there is an incredible population of talented female founders in cities and towns across the country,” said Lori Feinsilver, UBS Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas. “Being able to reach these women and provide them with access to resources and support that will help fuel their growth gives us confidence that we can indeed level the playing field.”