Democratizing the Friends & Family Round

Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS, aims to level the playing field for female founders by providing access to the resources, training, and networks they need to build and grow their companies. In partnership with Hello Alice, UBS is offering $25,000 in grants and mentorship to 20 female founders of color in NYC who are leading venture-scalable companies.

(Photo: 2022 Grant Winner Leslie Valdivia and Joanna Rosario-Rocha of Vive Cosmetics)

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Applications Are Now Open!

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. resident
  • Be a founder or co-founder leading a for-profit company
  • Identify as a female founder of color
  • Be based in New York City

For full eligibility requirements, see the terms and conditions. Still have questions? Read our FAQ.

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Project Entrepreneur a program by UBS
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Why This Program is Necessary

Female founders of color have historically been denied equitable access to capital of all forms. Black and Latinx female founders continue to receive less than 1% of venture capital, but the funding gaps that entrepreneurs of color face start far before they prepare to raise their first venture round. Nearly 40% of early-stage entrepreneurs raise initial funding through a type of investment known as the “Friends and Family” round in order to get their companies off the ground. With more than $60 billion in friends and family money invested annually in startups, it’s the largest source of early-stage financing for entrepreneurs.

However, as a result of the racial wealth gap — the disparity in median wealth between people of different races — many entrepreneurs of color do not have access to a network that can provide them with friends and family funding.

This is the second year of the Democratizing the Friends & Family Round program that Project Entrepreneur has launched with Hello Alice. In 2022, UBS awarded $1 million to 40 female founders of color based across the U.S.

What Does “Venture-Scalable” Mean?

The Democratizing the Friends & Family Round program prioritizes female founders of color who are building high-growth companies and who aim to raise venture capital to accelerate their growth. That means companies with a business model that allows them to rapidly increase sales or revenues without requiring significant changes to how they do business. Please refer to the FAQs for more details on what it means to be venture-scalable. You can also learn more about the different types of funding and whether venture capital is a good option for your company with the interactive Choose the Right Capital Guide from Hello Alice.

(Photo: 2022 Grant Winner Tina Saw of Oral Genome)

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Application Timeline

The Democratizing the Friends & Family Round will accept applications from January 23, 2023, at 9 a.m. ET to March 3, 2023, at 6 p.m. ET.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee in accordance with the review criteria outlined in the terms and conditions. Recipients will be notified by email and publicly announced in April 2023. Grant recipients are required to participate in a two day in-person Boost Camp event at UBS’s offices in Manhattan at the end of May.

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About Project Entrepreneur

Project Entrepreneur, a flagship program by UBS, is on a mission to change the status quo for 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 with alumni going on to raise more than $60M in capital.