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Female Founders Initiative

Georgia Tech Startup Coaches Sara Henderson and Melissa Heffner launched the inaugural Female Founders program in the fall of 2020 with a virtual introductory program. We developed this initiative to provide a space for female-led entrepreneurial teams to explore a first business model, engage with an all-female coaching team, interact with successful female entrepreneurs, and receive non-dilutive funding. Georgia Tech has done an excellent job of recruiting both male and female students equally, but those efforts had yet to be reflected well in the entrepreneurship ecosystem on campus. The Female Founders Initiative is our response to that gap, and the need - both on campus and nationwide - for more equitable opportunities for women entrepreneurs.

The Female Founders program has opened applications for the summer and fall sessions. Navigate the world of entrepreneurship with a vibrant community of women and non-binary individuals who are building startups with support.

The 5-week fall program and 7-week summer program aim to jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey through education, mentorship, networking, and other resources. For example, you can receive $6k in awards. Need to hear more?

📅 Application Deadline:

  • Submit your application by Monday, May 13, 2024, at 5p.m. EDT.

🌟 Program Dates and Times (All sessions are virtual):

  • Kickoff: May 20 & 22, 11a.m. - 1p.m.
  • Midpoint Check-in: June 10 & 12th, 11.am. - 1p.m.
  • Close: July 8 & July 10, 11a.m. - 1p.m.
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The Program:
At A Glance

The Female Founders program is open to all women and non-binary persons who are considering a startup. Though most startups we coach are STEM-related, the program accepts applications for projects outside of the STEM category.

The program provides the lean startup method modules supported by advice, resources, networking opportunities, coaching and modest funding to enable participants to do early customer evaluation (20 to 30 interviews).

Upon successful completion of the program, participants may be recommended to apply to Georgia Tech's CREATE-X Startup Launch program and/or the National Science Foundation's I-Corps Teams and/or Sites programs, among others.

Funding may be used for the following:

Upon successful completion of the program, accepted teams are eligible to receive a number of non-dilutive awards/benefits.

  1. Fees associated with attending industry-specific tradeshows and conferences, either virtually or in-person. (Fees may include registration costs, airfare, ground transportation, hotel, etc.)

  2. Upgrading professional networking platform subscriptions, such as LinkedIn Premium, video conferencing platforms, etc.

  3.  Traveling to visit potential customers for one-on-one interviews. 

  4. Purchasing resource books, such as Business Model Generation or Value Proposition Design.

  5. Developing a minimum viable product (MVP) or a prototype. 

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Pinzhi Zhang, pneuma.ai

"Coming into [Female Founders], I had no idea how robust the GT entrepreneurship ecosystem is or the amount of resources available to students.  The Female Founders program plugged me into a myriad of opportunities for my early stage start-up including grant funding, hardware funding, GT patenting / licensing, and most importantly mentorship from an experienced coach."

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Ally McKinney, SoloPulse

"My eyes were opened to an entire new realm of potential learning opportunities in business development. Getting to learn from incredibly intelligent and professional females was empowering and exciting...Female Founders provides a great basis for any woman interested in becoming involved in entrepreneurship."

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Mo Jourin, VoltaPure

“The Female Founders program introduced me to mentors who have helped guide and introduce me to other programs and

competitions, both inside Georgia Tech and external...The women entrepreneurs and mentors I’ve met through the program serve as

an invaluable network, providing feedback and support for the start-up efforts in my lab.”

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