Dentsu Aegis Network Launches Female Foundry to Accelerate Growth of Female Founded Businesses
Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) today announced the launch of its global accelerator program, Female Foundry, into the United States. The first city to launch will be Chicago, kicking off with a three-day boot camp event on May 18th-20th. Created by iProspect and powered by DAN, the program aims to connect, mentor and develop female entrepreneurs. The application process is open to female-owned businesses in the Chicago metro area. Deadline for entries is Monday, April 6th and the 15th entrepreneurs will be selected later in April.
Female entrepreneurs interested in joining the business growth program are required to meet the following criteria for consideration:
- The female entrepreneur should own some share of the business, and they should also hold the main leadership position in the company.
- The business should be leveraging technology in some capacity or be willing to adopt new technologies to scale and grow.
This program is for licensed / registered businesses that have been selling products or services for at least one year and are generating revenue, whether they are profitable or not.
The business venture must be based within Metro Chicago, US. Entries are being accepted here. iProspect’s proprietary research, Hear Her Voice, was the catalyst for the program’s inception.
“When we conducted our original Hear Her Voice research across Asia Pacific, it gave us insight into a new segment of women who have been empowered by technology to participate in the economy in ways unseen before,” said iProspect US CEO Jeremy Cornfeldt. “Since then, through Female Foundry we have upskilled 71 businesses around the world. Our aim from the new US research is to uncover meaningful data to help us better understand the barriers and opportunities for female entrepreneurs in the US”
The new research, conducted this year by Dentsu Aegis Network and soon to be released, has found women launching their own businesses in the US are seeking self-fulfillment, flexible working conditions and greater independence. However, they face the challenge of feeling isolated and do not have access to the same support networks as their male counterparts. The research also identifies women from ethnic minorities have a greater appetite to invest in self-development. Female Foundry will create a sense of community and enhance the skills of the entrepreneurs, supporting them to thrive in the digital economy.
“One of the most powerful elements of this program is the opportunity for female entrepreneurs to come together and just open up — to become vulnerable,” said Deb Boyda, Isobar CEO. “This program allows women to discuss their greatest business challenges and collaborate on solutions together, connecting on a deeper level. You're surrounded by people who have been through it or are experiencing it with you. That’s priceless.”
Female Foundry holds innovation, diversity, social sustainability and technology leadership at its core. It continues to build on the success of past business growth programs from Singapore, Mexico, Chile, South Africa and India. Chicago was chosen as the first U.S. site because of its diversity and opportunity for female-led businesses. Fifteen participants will have access to global resources and will take part in a three-day bootcamp to map their strategies for growth. Courses will include:
- Going from Founder to CEO
- Analysing your Business Model
- Building Extraordinary Value for your customers
- Knowing Your Customers
- Understanding the Marketplace
All participants will be matched with a senior leader within Dentsu Aegis Network for long-term mentoring. Mentors will coach the entrepreneurs and help them work towards the business growth goals that they formulate during the bootcamp.
“Female Foundry is an integral part of our global network’s commitment to create a diverse and inclusive digital economy for all,” said Anna Lungley, global head of social impact at Dentsu Aegis Network. “We believe that as we empower women-owned businesses, we not only create stronger communities and more innovative economies, but we also contribute to bridging the gender gap and driving economic growth."