Rent the Runway and UBS Announce Venture Competition and Educational Program 'Project Entrepreneur'

Multi-Year Initiative Aims to Help Women Entrepreneurs Create High-Growth, High-Impact Businesses

Sep 29, 2015, 09:17 ET from Rent the Runway from ,UBS

NEW YORK, Sept. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Rent the Runway and UBS today announced the launch of Project Entrepreneur, a venture competition and educational program designed to provide women entrepreneurs nationwide with the tools to build high-growth, high-impact businesses. Project Entrepreneur is the first initiative from the newly established Rent the Runway Foundation; it is also a part of UBS Elevating Entrepreneurs, the firm's flagship philanthropic initiative in this space. Online submissions for Project Entrepreneur open today at projectentrepreneur.org and close on January 8, 2016.

"There are so many passionate, entrepreneurial women founding businesses today, but only four percent of these women-owned businesses are generating $500K or more in annual revenue. [1]," said Jennifer Hyman, CEO, Rent the Runway. "Project Entrepreneur offers the experience, training and networks needed to ignite bold ideas and help women build economically impactful companies."

Project Entrepreneur's venture competition is open to women entrepreneurs who are beyond the ideation stage and intend to build a high-growth company using an existing prototype or beta technology. The top 200 finalists in the competition will be invited to attend a two-day Entrepreneurship Workshop weekend in New York City in April 2016 where they will receive targeted support for their companies. The workshop will culminate in a live pitch where three winning teams will be selected by a panel of highly successful entrepreneurs and investors to receive a cash prize of $10,000 each and a spot in a five-week accelerator program hosted at Rent the Runway.

"We are thrilled to partner with the Rent the Runway Foundation to bring women entrepreneurs the tangible tools they need to build high-growth businesses," said Bob McCann, President Americas, UBS. "UBS has a proud history of supporting women-owned ventures, and we look forward to building on this legacy with Project Entrepreneur."

As part of Project Entrepreneur's commitment to developing high-growth, women-led companies, the program also features a digital resource hub on projectentrepreneur.org that includes education modules focused on topics such as building and testing a minimum viable product and creating a growth strategy. The hub also includes feature articles, blog posts and inspirational stories from established entrepreneurs.

Project Entrepreneur will also offer a series of free educational summits at which attendees will be able to workshop their business ideas with smart, entrepreneurial women and hear keynote remarks by Rent the Runway co-founders, Jennifer Hyman or Jenny Fleiss, and Lori Feinsilver, Head of Community Affairs & Executive Communications, Americas at UBS, among many other leaders and experts. Summits will take place as follows:

  • Saturday, October 17, New York City
    1-5pm, Apella NYC, 450 E 29th St., New York, NY 10016
  • Thursday, November 5, Austin
    3-7pm, Hotel Van Zandt, 605 Davis St., Austin, TX 78701
  • Saturday, November 14, Washington, DC
    1-5pm, Halcyon House, 3400 Prospect St. NW, Washington, DC 20007

Interested applicants can register for these summits at projectentrepreneur.org.

Additional support for Project Entrepreneur is provided by Microsoft Office. Mashable is the Official Media Partner for Project Entrepreneur.

Project Entrepreneur is informed by its Community Advisors: Latino Start-Up Alliance; HBCU Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship initiative; Venture for America; and Black Founders. It is also supported by an Advisory Council that includes Katia Beauchamp, founder Birchbox; Kirsten Green, Founder, Forerunner Ventures; Scott Friend, Managing Director, Boston at Bain Capital Ventures; Caroline Ghosn, founder Levo League; Linda Honan, Chief Creative Officer, Rent the Runway; Fran Hauser, Partner at Rothenberg Ventures; Aileen Lee, founder and Managing Director, Cowboy Ventures; Angela Lee, co-founder of 37 Angels and Associate Professor at Columbia Business School; Eileen Lee, Chief Operating Officer at Venture for America; Susan Lyne, President BBG Ventures at AOL; Ramona Orteaga, VP of Strategic Partnerships, Latino Startup Alliance; Cynthia Rubio, founder and CEO, Radiant RFID, Chad Womack, National Director, STEM Initiatives, United Negro College Fund; Monique Woodard, cofounder Black Founders; Nnena Ukuku, Partner at Venture Gained Legal and cofounder Black Founders.

Project Entrepreneur is being led by Beth Janson, Founding Director of the Rent the Runway Foundation, and former executive director of the Tribeca Film Institute.

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and its philanthropic arm The CAA Foundation, worked closely with its client Rent the Runway and UBS to help bring Project Entrepreneur to life, and forged the partnerships with UBS, Microsoft Office, and Mashable.

ABOUT RENT THE RUNWAY:

Rent the Runway is revolutionizing fashion by allowing millions of women to rent designer apparel and accessories. The company focuses on convenience and a top-notch customer experience on all of its platforms, including online, mobile and retail locations in Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas. With styles from hundreds of top designers, RTR serves as a powerful marketing channel for the fashion industry, introducing a new generation of women to brands that they had limited access to before. Co-founded in 2009 by Harvard Business School graduates, Rent the Runway has raised over $100 million in venture capital and has more than 5 million members across the U.S. In 2015, Rent the Runway officially launched the Rent the Runway Foundation to inspire and ignite the next generation of female entrepreneurs. Women interested in the Project Entrepreneur program can visit projectentrepreneur.org to learn more.

ABOUT UBS:

UBS is committed to providing private, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland, with superior financial advice and solutions while generating attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders. Its strategy centers on its Wealth Management and Wealth Management Americas businesses and its leading universal bank in Switzerland, complemented by its Global Asset Management business and its Investment Bank. These businesses share three key characteristics: they benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital-efficient, and offer a superior structural growth and profitability outlook. UBS's strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates. Capital strength is the foundation of its success.

[1] 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report

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SOURCE Rent the Runway; UBS