She Runs It and Digitalundivided team up on startup accelerator program

The accelerator will help diverse female founders in media, marketing and technology bring their business plans to life.

She Runs It and Digitalundivided team up on startup accelerator program

Ad industry nonprofit She Runs It has teamed up with nonprofit Digitalundivided to launch an early-stage startup accelerator program for underrepresented women in marketing, media and technology. 

START Program, revealed on Tuesday, aims to give women entrepreneurs of color access to tools and opportunities they may not otherwise have had. 

“We are focusing on women of color because our industry is profoundly under-indexing on these workforce populations,” said Lynn Branigan, president and CEO of She Runs It. 

A cohort of ten to 15 female founders will be selected by a jury of industry leaders to participate in the 10-week program, where they will receive access to tools and one-on-one mentoring by a member of the She Runs It Foundation board or another industry executive.

“This mentorship piece is important not just for access or leadership examples, but also for that ongoing connectivity,” Lauren Maillian, CEO of Digitalundivided said. “Mentorship is transformative, regardless of where women are in their startup journey.”

In addition to mentoring, participants will be given tools and strategies to bring their business ideas to life, such as learning how to write a business plan and understanding how funding works. Participants will also hear from guest speakers on topics that relate to the businesses they’re trying to launch. 

The program will conclude in December with a “demo day” in which the participants will pitch their business ideas to industry leaders and potential investors.  

“Less than half of 1% of VC dollars go to women of color-founded businesses,” Maillian said. “Demo day is a wonderful opportunity for increased visibility and a path to funding, as well as exposure to investors who are primed and interested in what the women will have built.”

In addition to underrepresentation in the industry, the program seeks to address the detrimental economic impacts the pandemic has had on women, and particularly women of color.

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