NEW YORK, April 22, 2020 – Today, UBS and the Female Founder Collective welcome nearly 50 female founders to Project Entrepreneur's Investment Readiness Program. From now until the end of June, the founders, who are leading early-stage companies, will go through a rigorous program to accelerate the knowledge and skills they need to raise venture capital and grow their companies. The program was initially designed to be an in-person experience, but in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the three month program will now be held virtually.
The inaugural 2020 cohort is an ambitious and innovative group of women with diverse backgrounds, race and ethnicity – nearly 50% of the founders are women of color and almost two-thirds of them have a market-ready product that has already been sold to customers. Together, they are solving problems based on their personal experiences, with products and technology platforms that span across sectors including healthcare, retail and the food and beverage industry.
As part of the Investment Readiness Program, the cohort will be taken through an in-depth, results-driven curriculum taught by leading investors and seasoned entrepreneurs and operators, including: Nisha Dua, General Partner, BBG Ventures; Lindsay Bressler, COO, HATCH; Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin, Co-Founder and Chief Digital Brand Officer, Summersalt; Katia Beauchamp, Co-Founder & CEO, Birchbox; Divya Gugnani, CEO & Co-Founder, Wander Beauty; and Jeeho Lee, Partner, O'Melveny.
The cohort will receive lessons on accounting and financial literacy, fundraising vehicles and terms for negotiations, creating a defensible financial model and identifying the right investors to serve as partners at every stage.
In addition to building a community among fellow entrepreneurs, the founders will also have access to a curated network of advisors to help them further refine and shape their business models so they are on a path to success. Confirmed senior advisors from UBS include Jolyne Caruso-Fitzgerald, Divisional Vice Chairman, UBS Global Wealth Management; Marsha Askins, Managing Director & Chief of Staff to UBS Americas Regional President; Susan Elolampi, Managing Director, Financial Sponsors Group, UBS Investment Bank; and Jennifer Gabrielli, Deputy Head of Ultra-High Net Worth at UBS Global Wealth Management as the executive sponsor for Project Entrepreneur. Additional advisors include: Anna Placks, Chief Creative Officer, Group Nine; Lexie Komisar, Director, Global Head of Startup Ecosystems, IBM; Karen Moon, Venture Partner, Elizabeth Street Ventures; Nicole Lapin, American News Anchor; and Tovah Haim, Founder & CEO, Bodily.
"Supporting women entrepreneurs is more important than ever," said Jamie Sears, UBS Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas and Co-Founder of Project Entrepreneur. "UBS founded Project Entrepreneur because we know that investing in the success of female founders has exponential benefits for society. We hope our Investment Readiness Program will help female founders build the financial resilience they need to help them thrive, and ultimately be better positioned to access capital in the future. We are thrilled to welcome this incredible group of innovators to our Project Entrepreneur community and prepare them for success.”
“Women-led companies are fundamental to our communities, our economy and to shaping our future. However, female entrepreneurs face an uphill – and unequal – battle. Against the backdrop of an unprecedented pandemic, we need to do even more to support them,” said Alison Wyatt, Co-Founder and CEO of the Female Founder Collective. “With UBS, we designed the next phase of Project Entrepreneur to meet these challenges and provide women with the tools, access and ecosystems needed to raise capital. We can’t wait to welcome these founders to the program and help them with their fundraising goals.”
First launched by UBS in 2015, Project Entrepreneur previously trained over 1,600 female founders and created new on-ramps to entrepreneurship for women across the country, with alumni going on to raise nearly $50 million in funding.
In addition to the Investment Readiness Program, UBS and the Female Founder Collective will also offer a series of Capital Access Summits for early stage entrepreneurs in select cities across the country, as well as a Trailblazers Summit for mid-growth stage founders. A second cohort program, tailored to the Los Angeles area, is slated to take place in July.
For more information please visit projectentrepreneur.org or follow along 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 universal 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. You can connect with the Female Founder Collective on social media.