Kendra Scott is making use of her new free time after having stepped down as chief executive officer of her namesake company by launching a new program to empower self-identifying female entrepreneurs.
The Female Founder Pitch Competition is a challenge for female founders that is currently accepting applicants. Undergraduate, graduate and post-doc students, faculty members and alumni of the University of Texas at Austin campus, where Scott opened a Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute in September 2019, are eligible. There is also a category for community start-up applicants. Winners will be awarded a total of $25,000 in prizes, a value that the company says is expected to increase in the coming months. In addition to prizes and funding, the top 25 finalists will be connected with mentors.
Applicants must be in the early seed or angel investor funding stage with less than a $3 million company valuation and be 51 percent female-owned. Finalists will be expected to present live at the University of Texas at Austin this fall, and will also be eligible for a crowd-favorite award. The deadline for applications is May 31.
When Scott stepped down as CEO in February, while remaining majority shareholder and chairwoman, she said that she would pivot her focus toward brand building, product development and philanthropic pursuits — with supporting female entrepreneurialism at the forefront of her efforts. In October, she guest-starred as an investor on the hit TV show “Shark Tank.”
Kendra Scott chief marketing officer Mindy Perry said that, “Kendra is making sure she’s leaning in and speaking to the brand pillar of philanthropy to help create the next generation of female leaders. She’s learned so many lessons over her lifetime and wants to give back to encourage women to lead.”
Speaking about the decision to expand her involvement with the University of Texas at Austin, Scott said: “It has been over a year since we opened the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute, and already I am so proud of the impact we have made to empower the next generation of courageous, creative female leaders. In all the work I do as an entrepreneur and philanthropist, my mission is to give other women the confidence to chase their passion, and the tools they need to bring a vision to life. With the launch of this Female Founder Pitch Competition, I am honored to expand our impact beyond the walls of UT Austin, and welcome entrepreneurs from across the country the opportunity to take their dream to the next level.”