Applications are now open for the third annual Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program.
The year-long Fellowship initiative invites women entrepreneurs to apply for the opportunity, which includes the chance to participate in a pitch competition for a $100,000 grant investment in their business. All Fellows receive a trip to Tory Burch headquarters in New York, access to networking and $10,000 for business education. Applications are available at toryburchfoundation.org/fellows through Nov. 9.
Tory Burch, founder of the Tory Burch Foundation, said, “We are excited to open applications for our annual Fellows Program. Our goal is to help women grow their businesses and get beyond the million-dollar threshold, because when women succeed their success impacts families and communities.”
Interestingly, only 2 percent of all women-owned businesses reach $1 million in annual revenues while businesses owned by men are 3.5 times more likely to reach that threshold mark. With the Fellows program, the Foundation’s goal is to change this equation by providing women entrepreneurs with the support they need to grow their businesses. The program has seen some tangible results. Two Fellows from the inaugural program have already surpassed $1 million in annual revenues.
“As a Tory Burch Fellow, through monthly coaching sessions and introductions to influential business leaders, I gained tremendous knowledge on how to grow Diversity Lab from a solo start-up to an emerging company with over $1 million in revenues,” said Caren Ulrich Stacy, founder and chief executive officer of Diversity Lab, which experiments with new ways to close the gender gap and boost diversity in law firms and legal departments. “I also learned about the value of reinvesting that revenue to continue building on our early success.”
Kate McAleer of the Rockland, Me.-based Bixby & Co., and the winner of the 2016 Fellows pitch competition, used the $100,000 grant investment to expand her line of healthier candy bars and increase distribution. She has also doubled the number of her employees since winning.
“Women entrepreneurs need a community of support to take their businesses to the next level,” said Laurie Fabiano, president of the Tory Burch Foundation.
Since launching the program in 2015, the Fellows have represented women from diverse industries, such as an architectural designer who launched her own construction business focused on preserving historical trade and architecture in Detroit to a former Army officer working with Afghan farmers to produce high quality saffron.
The winner of the 2017 Pitch Competition’s $100,000 grant was surgical oncologist Paris Sabo who started the Irvine, Calif.-based company Dr. Brite, which manufactures natural and organic personal-care products.
Last year, the Foundation chose 30 finalists from an initial pool of more than 800 entrepreneurs, and subsequently conducted a public online vote on torybuchfoundation.org to help determine which women would become Tory Burch Foundation Fellows. About 50,000 votes were cast and those who were selected for the one-year Fellowship program were then invited to attend and participate in the three-day workshop and pitch competition at the Tory Burch offices.
After the applications process closes Nov. 9, 30 finalists will be revealed in March and voting begins. Ten Tory Burch fellows are selected in April and the trip to Tory Burch headquarters takes place May 15 to 17 in New York.
The Tory Burch Foundation provides women entrepreneurs with access to capital, education and digital resources. The Tory Burch Capital Program, in partnership with Bank of America, has distributed $25 million in loans to 1,000 women entrepreneurs. More than 140 women have completed an in-depth business education course through the Tory Burch Foundation cohort of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program.
In the past year, the Foundation has provided online tools and digital education to more than 200,000 women entrepreneurs and more than 10,000 women have created their business plans on toryburchfoundation.org.