Entrepreneur Tory Burch has gained fame and fortune for her line of eponymous clothing and accessories, founded from her kitchen table in 2004. Now, Burch is a multi-millionaire, and her Tory Burch Foundation has a new program to help other women attain success by offering grants for women business owners.
The Tory Burch Fellowship Program, which focuses on helping existing women-owned businesses grow, is offering grants for women entrepreneurs of up to $100,000 for qualified applicants.
Applications will be accepted through Jan. 12, 2016. Thirty semi-finalists will be chosen; partly by a panel of experts and partly by public voting, these will be narrowed down to 10 Fellows. Each of these 10 chosen businesses will receive:
- A $10,000 education grant
- An assigned mentor and one year of mentoring, networking and business guidance from the Tory Burch Foundation
- A three-day workshop at Tory Burch’s New York City headquarters, which includes mentorship, keynote speakers and the chance to meet Burch
- Participation in a pitch competition before a panel of judges
Based on the pitch competition, one winner will be chosen to receive an additional $100,000 in “grant investment.” The investment will be comprised of a $50,000 grant and a $50,000 recoverable grant to be paid back interest-free within a timeline to be determined. This money will be reinvested to help another woman entrepreneur.
To qualify, companies must be
- at least 51 percent female owned
- five years old or younger
- a for-profit business with annual revenues of no more than $500,000 per year
Companies must be beyond the idea stage — scalability is important. So is social responsibility, which will make up 20 percent of the evaluation criteria. Burch believes it’s important for businesses to demonstrate social responsibility from the get-go. In fact, giving back to other women business owners was the motivation behind the launch of the Tory Burch foundation. “As our company has grown, I’ve learned about the obstacles that women in business face, from balancing work and family ... to securing financing,” Burch has said of the Foundation. “Many also lack the confidence, business networks and training they need to see their ideas through.” The Tory Burch Foundation aims to change that by empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs, and has helped more than 600 women-owned businesses since its launch in 2009.
Voting for the top 30 finalists will take place in March and April 2016; after that, the final 10 fellows will be selected in May 2016. All 30 finalists will be considered and, if accepted, awarded admission to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Education program.
There’s not much time left—the deadline is January 12, 2016. Apply here.
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