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Women in Entrepreneurship Institute

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Women in Entrepreneurship Institute
Women in Entrepreneurship Institute
The Women in Entrepreneurship Institute (WEI) is housed within the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center and focuses specifically on supporting aspiring and current women founders through all stages of their entrepreneurial journeys.

​Launched in 2018, the Women in Entrepreneurship Institute is one of the nation’s first academic institutes to advance opportunities and support for women entrepreneurs through research, courses, certificates, mentoring, networking, and other programs. The WEI advances gender equity in the entrepreneurial ecosystem through our support of women students, alumni and community members.

The landscape for women founders is the reason why we exist:

  • Women founders face obstacles such as securing financing, gender bias, lack of confidence, limited mentorship, 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.
  • 114% is the growth rate for women-owned businesses nationally, compared to 44% for all businesses 1997-2017.
  • Less than .00006% of venture capital funded women of color.
  • Latinx women received 0.4% of $400 billion in venture capital funding between 2009 and 2017, and only 58 Latinx women have ever raised over $1 million in venture funding.​
  • Illinois is in the lowest 20% of U.S. states when it comes to the economic clout of women-owned businesses​.
  • Less than 2% of women owned businesses reach $1M in revenue​​.

Learn more about the Women in Entrepreneurship Institute