Grants, Programs to Boost Women Entrepreneurs

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The Startup Ladies launched in 2014. The Startup Ladies launched in 2014.

An Indianapolis-based company focused on connecting entrepreneurial women with resources and investors is launching a new source of funding and two new programs. In the coming months, The Startup Ladies, a membership organization which also has a chapter in Terre Haute, will begin Startup Investing 101 to educate investors, She-Suite to address mental health issues in entrepreneurship and a twice-a-year seed grant through The Startup Ladies Fund.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Kristen Cooper says the company, the programs and the fund all target a "pattern of problems" she says is keeping many women entrepreneurs on the side lines. Cooper told Inside INdiana Business there are several issues she feels The Startup Ladies can address:

  • Create greater awareness about the gender disparity in the startup space.
  • Smart, educated women have solutions for problems, but don't know how to build the businesses.
  • Raise awareness among people who can write $5,000+ checks, pull them into the community and start educating them.

"Over the last three years," Cooper says, "we've hosted more than 80 educational events, filled more than 1,500 seats and are supporting more than 50 entrepreneurs. We needed to grow our infrastructure to support more first-time entrepreneurs and investors so they have the skills, connections and funding necessary to startup sustainable, scalable companies."

Startup Study Hall, which began as a small group meetup led by Cooper and has grown to draw hundreds, is the company's signature event and helps entrepreneurs build on basics including selecting a business model, product validation, prototyping, minimum viable product development, financial forecasting, pitching, fundraising, marketing, sales and scaling.

The company is also considering options for launching outside of its current central Indiana and Wabash Valley footprint next year. You can connect to more about The Startup Ladies will celebrate its third anniversary and officially debut the new programming and funding Tuesday at a sold-out luncheon in Indianapolis.

Chief Executive Officer Kristen Cooper told Inside INdiana Business there are several issues she feels The Startup Ladies can address.
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