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Women Founders Sought for Business Accelerator

DePaul Women in Entrepreneurship Institute Accelerator Helps Entrepreneurs Scale Businesses

By Robin Florzak | Photos by Kathy Hillegonds  /  10/8/2019  / Twitter / Facebook

​​Are you a woman business owner with at least $50,000 in revenue seeking to scale your business? The Women in Entrepreneurship Institute (WEI) at DePaul University is looking for you.

Soumaya Yacoub with cohort members and EarlyVention cofounders Melissa Ames and Elizabeth Ames-Wollek (MBA ’15)
Soumaya Yacoub with cohort members and EarlyVention co-founders Melissa Ames (right) and Elizabeth Ames-Wollek (MBA ’15) (middle).

WEI is accepting applications through Oct. 20 for women entrepreneurs to its nine-week business accelerator program that begins in January. Offered free of charge, the second cohort of the program is open to founders of businesses that are 51% women owned and have revenues of between $50,000 and $1 million. Up to a dozen women will be selected by WEI’s founding committee of women business owners and executives to enter cohort two, which will be taught by committee members and DePaul entrepreneurship program faculty.

The accelerator’s weekly half-day workshop classes offer practical guidance for growing a business, from business models, market research and brand strategies to legal and financial management, capitalization and fundraising. The program also provides tools for start-up founders to enhance their leadership, executive presence and team-building capabilities. To supplement this learning, each participant is linked with one or more women entrepreneurs on WEI’s committee who provide one-on-one advice and resource connections.

“Our accelerator program develops entrepreneurs alongside their businesses,” explains Abigail Ingram, director of WEI at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business. “We help founders build confidence as well as business and financial skills to succeed.”

WEI’s first cohort of nine entrepreneurs, who completed the accelerator program in June, is already seeing positive outcomes from their participation. Collectively, the group created six new jobs during the program and they are on track to make 64 percent more in domestic revenues by the end of this year. The cohort also reported a 31% increase in the level of self-confidence they feel about managing financial decisions after they finished the program.

WEI was launched in 2018 with a vision to create the nation’s most comprehensive array of programming for women entrepreneurs. The institute supports academic programs and workshops, faculty-led research, startup incubation and funding, and public policy advocacy to support the success and sustainability of women-owned businesses.

Learn more about the Accelerator Program