The Tory Burch Foundation hosted 50 early-stage female entrepreneurs from across the country June 3 to 6 for the fourth annual Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program.
Last week, the Fellows began their yearlong Fellowship at the Tory Burch office in New York, participating in four days of workshops and networking with business leaders and received $5,000 for business education.
Fellows also had the opportunity to visit Google, Spotify, Hearst, Whole Foods and other companies for site visits and mentorship.
A dozen entrepreneurs were selected based on their business plans to pitch before expert investors and influencers including Tory Burch; Pierre-Yves Roussel, chief executive officer of Tory Burch; Jesse Draper, founding partner of Halogen Ventures; Carolyn Fikke, managing director of Golden Seeds; Adam Glassman, creative director of O The Oprah Magazine; Julia Pimsleur, founder of Million Dollar Women, and Tony Tjan, ceo and managing partner of Cue Ball.
The flagship program expanded this year to reach even more female business owners, with a significant increase from the previous cohort size of 10 women entrepreneurs. Since launching the Fellows Program in 2015, the Tory Burch Foundation has provided more than $600,000 in grants to early-stage women entrepreneurs.
To apply as a Fellow, the applicant had to own a majority stake in a qualifying business and manage it on a day-to-day business. The business has to be for-profit from any industry and in business one to five years. It also had to be generating revenues of at least $75,000. The women also needed to be 21 years or older, proficient in English and a legal resident of the U.S.
“In the United States, nearly a fifth of all start-ups will fail in their first year and almost half by year five,” said Laurie Fabiano, president of the Tory Burch Foundation. “The Fellows program provides the resources and network women-owned businesses need during this critical growth period.”
The 12 women who pitched were Rechelle Balanzat, Juliette Inc.; Arielle Cassidy, The Juice House; Christina Fagan, Sh*T That I Knit; Ira Green, Freedom Deodorant; Kathrin Hamm, Bearaby; Tamara Keefe, Clementine’s Ice Cream; Rosa Li, Tea Crush; Arion Long, Femly; Deirdre Mathis, Wanderstay Hotels; Caitlin Murphy, Global Gateway Logistics; Caitlin Ritt, The Lotus Method, and Heather Stratford, Stronger International.
The Tory Burch Foundation supports women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship in the U.S. by providing access to capital, education and digital resources. The Tory Burch Capital Program, supported by Bank of America, has distributed more than $46 million in loans to more than 2,500 female entrepreneurs. Each month, the Foundation provides online tools and digital education to more than 300,000 women, and more than 10,000 women have created their business plans on toryburchfoundation.org.