New York, February 21, 2020 – Today UBS and the Female Founder Collective announced the launch of Project Entrepreneur's Investment Readiness Program to help address the startling gap in capital awarded to women. Women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, transforming communities through the 1,800 businesses they start every day and the $1.8 trillion they generate in revenue1. However, far too many female founders are cut off from the capital and support networks they need to take their companies to the next level.
Project Entrepreneur aims to change the status quo for female founders. As the world's largest global wealth manager2, UBS is activating the transformational power of women entrepreneurs to expand and deepen impact beyond philanthropy, building generational wealth that can drive lasting and sustainable change . Through this new partnership between UBS and the Female Founder Collective, Project Entrepreneur will host multi-city cohorts, capital access summits for early and growth stage founders, and community-building events that will provide female founders with the knowledge and networks needed for growth.
"UBS first launched Project Entrepreneur in 2015 and has trained over 1,600 female founders by creating a new onramp to entrepreneurship for women across the US," said Jamie Sears, UBS Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas and Co-Founder of Project Entrepreneur. "Ultimately, having a pipeline isn’t the issue – it's about access. Our program is working to create a world where women have equitable access to capital, deep connections within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the power to pursue their dreams on their own terms.”
“As founders, we understand the urgency of the fundraising process and the combination of skills, resources and relationships needed to navigate it. Women have the power to transform our culture and communities, and giving them the tools to succeed through Project Entrepreneur couldn't be a better investment in our future,” said Rebecca Minkoff, Fashion Designer & Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of the Female Founder Collective. “The Female Founder Collective was formed to provide women-led businesses with vetted resources around capital, growing their business, and operating more efficiently, so when we had the chance to partner with UBS, a bank that has long supported business owners and has a proven track record of helping women-led businesses with Project Entrepreneur, we jumped at the chance.”
In April 2020 in New York City, two cohorts of 25 early-stage female founders will be selected to participate in the three-month Investment Readiness Program taught by leading investors and entrepreneurs. Lessons will include fundraising fundamentals, creating a defensible financial model, and identifying the right investors at every stage. The curriculum for these sessions is results-driven; participants will complete the program with the knowledge and networks they need to be ready to pitch investors and successfully raise capital. What’s more, the program will offer founders a tight-knit community and access to seasoned operators and executives to help them as they navigate their journeys.
“Women are among the most prolific entrepreneurs of our time, but only a small percentage are raising the kind of funding needed to successfully scale their businesses and, quite frankly, survive. Our hope is that Project Entrepreneur puts more women on the path toward success and also inspires others to critically rethink their investing practices,” said Alison Wyatt, Co-Founder and CEO of the Female Founder Collective.
In addition to the New York cohorts, Project Entrepreneur will bring its Investment Readiness Program to Los Angeles this summer. It will also offer Capital Access Summits for early-stage entrepreneurs in select cities across the country this year, as well as a Trailblazers Summit in New York for mid-growth stage entrepreneurs in June 2020. The program will work with partners including WIE Network, The Riveter, All Raise, Social Innovation Summit, and other entrepreneur networks to ensure that access to capital and networks are more equitable for female founders.
Applications for Project Entrepreneur's New York City Investment Readiness Program are now open through March 20, 2020. To qualify, companies must have at least one female founder, be at least 50% female -owned, have a viable product, service or prototype, and be able to demonstrate traction in the form of revenue, partnerships, or customers.
For more information, please visit projectentrepreneur.org or follow us on Instagram @pjtentrepreneur.
Notes to Editors
UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. UBS's strategy is centered on our leading global wealth management business and our premier bank in Switzerland, enhanced by Asset Management and the Investment Bank. The bank focuses on businesses that have a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital efficient, and have an attractive long-term structural growth or profitability outlook.
About the Female Founder Collective
The Female Founder Collective is a network of businesses led by women, supporting women. Our mission is to empower the 12 million female-owned companies in the United States to uplift our communities, socially and economically.