Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS focused on increasing the success of female founders, in partnership with Hello Alice, a multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow, recently announced a program designed to help level the playing field for female founders of color and close the gap in obtaining equal access to capital. The program is titled “Democratizing the Friends & Family Round,”. It will award $25,000 grants to 30 participants and reinforce UBS’s commitment to addressing wealth inequality.
Levelling the playing field
Black and Latinx female founders receive less than 1 percent of venture capital. The funding gap that entrepreneurs of color experience happens well before they prepare to raise their first venture round. Nearly 40 percent of early-stage entrepreneurs raise initial funding through friends and family rather than through credited investors. Most entrepreneurs of color do not have access to a network that can provide them with the necessary funding. This is because of the racial wealth gap, which is the disparity in median wealth between people of different races. This gap prevents them from testing their innovations, hiring key talent and having the runway to grow and raise future investment.
“Funding disparities that founders of color experience represent a failure of the system, not of the founders,” said Jamie Sears, Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas at UBS. “Our mission at Project Entrepreneur, is to support and help level the playing field for female founders with the tools, resources and supportive ecosystem they need to succeed. This program plays an important role in closing the equity gap for female founders of color and accelerating the growth of their companies.”
“As a Latina-owned company, we know firsthand how difficult it can be to raise venture funds,” said Elizabeth Gore, Co-Founder and President of Hello Alice. “We started Hello Alice to provide access to capital for New Majority owners, and we are excited to work with UBS on this grant program to help female founders of color get a head start with their businesses.”
How Hello Alice and UBS will empower founders
Each founder will receive $25,000 in grant funding. They will also have access to virtual coaching and other skill-building opportunities with UBS and Hello Alice. All applicants, regardless of whether they’re shortlisted to the final 30, will receive free access to thousands of curated resources. They will also have access to a community of 450,000+ business owners through Hello Alice.
To be eligible for the program, applicants must be leading a high-growth company registered in the U.S. The company must have at least one founder who identifies as a woman of color. The deadline to apply is November 10, 2021 and winners will be announced in late January 2022. Full application details can be found at: https://ubs.helloalice.com.
About Project Entrepreneur
Project Entrepreneur is a flagship program by UBS. Above all, the program is on a mission to change the status quo female founders by increasing their investment readiness, connecting them to the networks and resources they need to grow and scale their companies and expand the ecosystem of support that advance women entrepreneurs. Since 2015, Project Entrepreneur has trained and supported more than 1,800 female founders. Alumni have gone on to raise more than $60M in capital.
UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. UBS is the largest truly global wealth manager. It is a leading personal and corporate bank in Switzerland. It has a large-scale and diversified global asset manager and a focused investment bank. The bank focuses on businesses that have a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital efficient and have an attractive long-term structural growth or profitability outlook.
UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in more than 50 regions and locations, with about 30 percent of its employees working in the Americas, 30 percent in Switzerland, 19 percent in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 21 percent in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs more than 72,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
About Hello Alice
Hello Alice is a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. Hello Alice has a community of nearly 500,000 business owners in all 50 states and across the globe. It is building the largest network of owners in the country while tracking data and trends to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs. Our partners include enterprise business services, government agencies and institutions looking to serve small- and medium-business owners to ensure increased revenues and promote scale. Hello Alice is a Latina owned company founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore. Above all, we believe in business for all by providing access to all owners including women, people of color, veterans and everyone with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Read about why women are largely absent from mega-round funding—and how we can fix it.