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Women in Entrepreneurship Institute

Women in Entrepreneurship Institute

Support for Women Founders

The Women in Entrepreneurship Institute is the nation’s first comprehensive Institute for women founders that integrates academic learning, research, incubation, funding and public policy. Launched in July 2018, the Institute supports women entrepreneurs through academic research and programs as well as initiatives that invest in the success and sustainability of women-owned businesses. 

Phase One

  • Entrepreneurial Education
    Academic courses that are part of DePaul’s highly ranked entrepreneurship program, beginning with the proposed new course, Women Entrepreneurs, under development by Alyssa Westring, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship.
  • Business Pitch Competition
    This annual pitch competition will award merit-based funding to student businesses involved in the institute.
  • Startup Incubator Workspace
    The incubator will serve DePaul students through a cohort-driven shared co-working space within the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center.
  • Fellow in Women and Entrepreneurship
    The annual fellowship will support research in entrepreneurship and gender at DePaul.

Phase Two

  • Endowed Chair in Women and Entrepreneurship
    The chair will offer research leadership, student engagement and curricular support for entrepreneurship and gender at DePaul.

Business Acceler8Her Program

Designed and delivered by successful women entrepreneurs, the institute's Acceler8Her program aims to prepare you to bring your business to market, or help you scale your existing business and enter new markets.

Learn more

"The support I received from the DePaul community while developing EarlyVention was, and continues to be, invaluable. The center connected me to different networks of entrepreneurs and experts that helped boost my confidence to keep going. Today, I still feel that DePaul has my back. The Purpose Pitch Competition is one of many examples of the support and encouragement I continue to receive on this entrepreneurial journey, and it has made all the difference."

Elizabeth (MBA '15)
Co-Founder and CEO, EarlyVention

Russ, DePaul Entrepreneurship MBA alum  

Close the Gender Gap

In recent years, an increasing number of women have started businesses. These women founders face obstacles such as securing financing, gender bias, lack of confidence, limited mentorship opportunities and lack of training to see their ideas to fruition.


only 2% of venture capital funding was awarded to women-led companies, despite women owning 38% of businesses in the country.


Growth rate for women-owned businesses nationally, compared to 44% for all businesses 1997-2017.


Share of startups founded by women students and faculty members at Illinois universities, compared to 17% nationally.


Illinois is in the lowest 20% of U.S. states when it comes to the economic clout of women-owned businesses in the state.

Data pulled from Harvard Business Review, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition and 2017 State of Women Owned Businesses Report.