HOUSTON, Feb. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Circular Board announced its upcoming Pitch with Purpose, a pitch competition for women entrepreneurs leading high-growth, scalable businesses that support the resolution of the world's most pressing problems, presented in partnership with United Nations Foundation, Dell and Guggenheim Partners. Pitch with Purpose makes history as the first-ever purpose-based pitch competition for women-led businesses in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Applicants submit entries online (www.thecircularboard.com/pitch-with-purpose), and three finalists will be invited to present a live pitch in front of esteemed judges, funders and media at Circular Summit, to be held April 14-15, 2016, in Houston. Applications are open to any business with at least one female founder. The winning pitch will receive a comprehensive awards package designed to accelerate scalability and social impact:
- $10,000 from Guggenheim Partners
- Dell technology suite
- Admission into the Circular Board accelerator for women entrepreneurs
- Mentorship from Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, Elizabeth Gore, Dell entrepreneur-in-residence and emeritus chair of the United Nations Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council, and Zaw Thet, managing partner of Signia Venture Partners
- Feature on MORE Magazine digital platform
Five semi-finalists will also win entry into Circular Summit with a VIP Experience to be attended by investors and featured speakers, including Rachel Roy, Alli Webb and Jane Wurwand.
"Texas claims the worst record of supporting women seeking venture capital. Last year, 42 Texas startups got Series A rounds. Zero of them had female founders, and it's not for a lack of women in business. In fact, several Texas cities, like San Antonio and Houston, are considered the fastest growing for female founder-driven economic clout," cited Carolyn Rodz, CEO and founder of Circular Board and co-chair of Circular Summit. "The goal of Circular Summit and Pitch with Purpose is to initiate action around the data surrounding the global impact of women-owned businesses, and we're doing it in Texas because this is an area where the gender gap is widest."
The number of women-led businesses in the United States increased by 74 percent between 2007 and 2015, a rate 1-1/2 times the national increase of other businesses, according to the OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses report.
"When you consider that women reinvest 90 percent of their income back into their communities, children and health, you begin to see that if these entrepreneurs succeed, they will help solve the world's problems," said Gore, co-chair of Circular Summit. "Forty-eight percent of female founders cite a lack of available mentors or advisers as a barrier to growth, which is why we've incorporated top-tier mentor support and introductions into highly localized networks into the Pitch with Purpose."
Lack of access to capital also continues to challenge women-owned businesses. On average, women start their business with half as much capital as men ($75,000 vs. $135,000), according to the National Women's Business Council.
"Guggenheim Partners recognizes entrepreneurial innovation as a key ingredient to impacting global change, and we are proud to support these women leaders through Pitch with Purpose by infusing capital to advance their goals and enable rapid growth," said Penny Zuckerwise, head of corporate social responsibility, Guggenheim Partners.
"The UN Global Goals will be achieved in part by innovative leaders with bold ideas. Pitch with Purpose will bring those concepts to light, and we can in turn establish partnerships with agencies to scale those ideas," said Aaron Sherinian, chief communications and marketing officer, United Nations Foundation.
Prospective Pitch with Purpose contenders can learn more about the application process at www.thecircularboard.com/pitch-with-purpose. The deadline to apply is March 14, 2016.
About Circular Board:
Circular Board is a collaborative accelerator for growth-oriented female entrepreneurs who lead, or aspire to build, businesses with multi-million dollar revenues. We support women in business around the world through mentorship, content, community and capital, and connect founders to the resources they need to fuel growth. For more information, visit www.thecircularboard.com.
About the Co-Chairs:
Circular Board was founded by three-time entrepreneur Carolyn Rodz. She has helped raise billions of dollars of capital for innovative organizations, created a luxury retail line that sold in over 400 stores worldwide, and later launched an interactive marketing firm serving Fortune 500 enterprises and startups positioning themselves for industry leadership. Carolyn now serves as an advocate for women entrepreneurs, connecting them to sources of capital, strategic partners, and mentors to create businesses that scale. She is recognized among Entrepreneur Magazine's 2016 "Women to Watch", as a Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur, and Micro to Millions awardee in partnership with American Express. Carolyn is a delegate to the United Nations Foundation Global Accelerator, a member of the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network, TEDx speaker, former student board member for the Texas A&M Mays College of Business and contributor to Fortune, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur and Time.
Elizabeth Gore is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell, where she drives initiatives that support Dell's goals around helping small and medium businesses scale and prosper to drive the world economy. Elizabeth personally advises the growth of companies such as the women's accelerator Circular Board, ride share commuting company Scoop, online and mobile fundraising platform Classy and innovative water company SOMA. She is the Emeritus Chair of the United Nations Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council, and previously served as the first ever Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the UN Foundation, as well as Vice President of Global Partnerships, founding strategic grassroots efforts, such as Nothing But Nets, Girl Up and Shot@Life. Elizabeth was named by People as one of the top 100 Extraordinary Women and is one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business, and has been featured on multiple media outlets, including: ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX Business, Fast Company, Fortune, Glamour, Entrepreneur, People, and Time.
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SOURCE Circular Board