She Matters: NYU Rewards Female Founders with New Fellowship

New fellowship further strengthens the Institute’s reputation as a launchpad for female founders, providing training, mentorship, and up to $1.5 million in grants

To further its already strong commitment to supporting gender equality among budding entrepreneurs, the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute today announced a new Female Founders Fellowship. Open to all NYU student entrepreneurs, the Fellowship provides training, mentorship, networking opportunities, and grants of up to $50,000 each.

(Image Credit: NYU)

The Female Founders Fellowship was officially announced by Stacie Bloom, NYU’s Vice Provost for Research, at the NYU Entrepreneurs Festival, an annual event showcasing entrepreneurship on campus.

“In spite of the pandemic, entrepreneurship at NYU is stronger than ever, with participation in our Institute programs having increased more than 100% this year. Our startup and licensing activity have never been higher. And as we can see by this year’s fellows, some of the brightest among us are trailblazing women,” said Dr. Bloom. “Collectively, these women are providing community support for postpartum Black mothers, building technology to help CPG companies identify their US Hispanic markets, offering ecologically sustainable furniture designs, educating high-school girls on leadership and life skills, and connecting urban indigenous populations with culturally-competent mental health services.”

This year’s inaugural Female Founder Fellows include the following NYU alumnae:

  • Jade Kearney (Steinhardt ‘20) – Co-Founder and CEO of She Matters
  • Laura Rocha (Wagner ‘20) – Co-Founder and CEO of Dathic
  • Phantila Phataraprasit (Law ‘20) – Co-Founder and COO of Sabai Design
  • Rina Patel (Gallatin ‘20) – Founder and CEO of The Thinkers
  • Sutton King (College of Global Public Health ‘20) – Co-Founder and COO of ShockTalk

Startup culture in the United States continues to be male dominated, with only 2.7% of venture funding going to women-led startups in 2019. At NYU, studies have shown that new entrepreneurs are more likely to be women than at any other top tier US university, and that they’re having significant success:

  • Of the 175 startups who participated in NYU entrepreneurship programming last year, 62% included a female founder. 
  • 53% of the students visiting the Leslie eLab, NYU’s on campus gathering space for entrepreneurs, are women.
  • Collectively, these teams raised over $3M in grants and $55M in venture capital during the 2019-2020 academic year.

The Female Founders Fellowship program supports entrepreneurs by plugging them into NYU’s ecosystem of resources, and, upon graduation, invites them to apply for grants of up to $50,000 each to help alleviate the financial burden of early-career startup costs. The grants are made possible through the generous support of the program’s lead donor, entrepreneur and NYU alumnus Mark Leslie (WSC ‘66, Trustee) and his wife, Debra.

“Debra and I are honored to support the Female Founders Fellowship and inspire the next generation of leaders at NYU. We have always been at the forefront of supporting the student entrepreneur community at the University, founding the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab—a central place on campus for students to collaborate and bring their ideas to fruition. We believe that supporting the Female Founders Fellowship is an important step in closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship,” Mark Leslie said.

“Our goal is to better support and remove financial barriers for founders pursuing startups and set a new standard for gender equality in entrepreneurship at universities,” said Emily Baum, the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute’s Inclusive Entrepreneurship Lead.

Rebecca Silver, Associate Director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, said, “We seek to build a diverse, inclusive cohort of fellows, and we welcome applications from any student with a demonstrated commitment to women’s issues in the entrepreneurial space, regardless of sex or gender identification.”

The program will equip 15-25 fellows each year, with the following support:

  • Training: Fellows will have access to comprehensive startup training and mentorship through The NYU Entrepreneurial Isntitute’s programs. 
  • Coaching: Fellows will receive dedicated support from expert startup coaches.
  • Network of Female Founders: Fellows will be invited to participate in monthly community events, an annual full-day Female Founders Forum, and have access to a network of 120+ external mentors and funders.
  • Financial Awards (between $5-$50k per grantee): Fellows will have the opportunity to apply for grants to help alleviate the financial burden of building a startup, enabling more fellows to pursue their ventures after graduation.

NYU students may apply for the Female Founders Fellowship in November and in March. For more information about the fellowship and other entrepreneurship programs at NYU, visit the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute website.


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Author: Gender Equality Funding News

Philanthropy Women aggregates the most important gender equality funding news.

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