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Project Entrepreneur to expand with additional 2 million dollar grant

Business

Project Entrepreneur to expand with additional 2 million dollar grant

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

3 Apr 2018

Project Entrepreneur, the collaborative project from the Rent the Runway Foundation and investment bank UBS, which seeks to support female entrepreneurs with the objective of levelling the playing field for female founders, has received an additional 2 million dollar two-year grant from UBS.

The additional funding has been committed to help build on the programme’s early success and brings the firm's total commitment to 5 million dollars.

“Startups led by all-male teams are four times more likely to receive funding than companies with one woman leader. This needs to change,” said Jennifer Hyman, chief executive and co-founder of Rent the Runway. “We are thrilled to continue to partner with UBS in breaking down the barriers for female founders by democratising the knowledge, resources and networks necessary to build impactful companies.”

The announcement came as Project Entrepreneur named the finalists taking part in the 2018 pitch competition in New York, alongside 200 female-founded startups that have been selected to participate in the third annual Project Entrepreneur Intensive from April 13-14.

The 10 finalists, which cover a range of industries including a MIT start-up looking to transform women's health with advanced fabrics technology and a long-term rental service for premium baby items, will participate in the event's live pitch competition for a chance to receive grant funding and a spot in a five-week accelerator program hosted at Rent the Runway’s headquarters.

Judges will include female investors from First Round Capital, BBG Ventures, 1000 Angels, Greycroft, Advance Venture Partners and Female Founders Fund.

Winners will receive a 10,000 dollar grant and participate in the five-week accelerator programme at Rent the Runway, which includes on-site training, introductions to investors and coaching and mentorship from Rent the Runway, UBS and other top entrepreneurs and executives.

"Project Entrepreneur illustrates that companies who share a common commitment to changing the narrative for women can be a catalyst for sustainable change," said Jamie Sears, UBS Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas. "We've seen firsthand what our UBS Investor Watch research finds – that female founders are the disruptors of our time, more often tapping into a new customer base and looking to make a social impact; we need to ensure they have the resources they need to continue innovating and improving the world around them.”