Newswise — Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab®just wrapped up its fourth year with two grand finale events in Boston andMiami, adding 37 leading women entrepreneurs to its growing alumni base.

WIN Lab® participants have collectively raised nearly $5.5 million in funding since program launch in 2013. The 2016-2017 Boston cohort has raised over $1.9 million, and the WIN Lab’s first Miami entrepreneurs have raised over $1.5 million.

WIN Lab Boston applications are open through June 30 for all women entrepreneurs. Apply now

The eight-month accelerator program was created first in Wellesley and then in Boston by the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) at Babson College, and then expanded to Miami in 2016 with the support of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

WIN Lab aims to disrupt the entrepreneurial environment that women must often adhere to, and instead presents a challenging but supportive experience that catalyzes long-term success by fostering creativity and collaboration, increasing visibility, providing hands-on mentorships, identifying branding and marketing tactics, and leveraging funding opportunities and competitions.

“Early stage entrepreneurs struggle to access the seed capital they need to grow their ventures, and the challenges are even greater for women.,” said Heatherjean MacNeil, Global Director of the WIN Lab at Babson College. “The WIN Lab experience provides women entrepreneurs with a community of peers and mentors to think big and build a market-tested growth plan. WIN Lab entrepreneurs are role modeling what a growth mindset looks like, and shifting the gender gap in the early-stage capital markets.”

Recent WIN Lab Boston Highlights

  • Erica Zahka MBA’16, Founder and CEO of Own The Boardroom, Beth Santos, Founder and CEO of Wanderful, and Ally Milligan, Founder and CEO of Loveleaf Co. were selected to pitch at the WIN Lab Boston finale event and won $5,000, $2,500, and $500, respectively.

  • Artyfactos, Busy Beauty, and Simone Simon were chosen as semi-finalists for the 2017 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge, a nationwide business competition driving attention to products and services that make women’s lives better. Competitors vie for $70,000 in prize money provided to the U.S. Small Business Administration for the InnovateHER competition through a gift from the Sara Blakely Foundation.
    • Angela Sanchez MBA’11, CEO of Artyfactos, won first place in Boston and will be headed to the national competition in Washington, DC.
  • Jamie Steenbakkers '18 and Busy Beauty won $25,000 at the Next Great Consumer Brand Competition at the University of Georgia.

  • Courtney Wilson MBA’17 of DropZone for Veterans won $17,500 from the Vet to CEO startup competition.

  • Emily Levy ’16, Maria Del Mar Gomez ’16 and their Mighty Well™ team won the Babson Breakaway Challenge—the first and only competition promoting gender parity in the venture capital industry. Mighty Well walked away with a $250,000 investment, as well as a custom brand identity platform with Breakaway, a Comcast ad campaign, and additional in-kind prizing.

“Entrepreneurs that graduate from the WIN Lab program continue to impress audiences and investors with all aspects of their businesses; whether it’s the pitch, the launch plan, or their progress to date,” said Ashley Lucas, Director of Babson’s WIN Lab Boston. “Despite the stage of business in which they enter the accelerator, the WINners leave ready to make waves in the startup ecosystem. I continue to be blown away by their tenacity and traction.”

Recent WIN Lab Miami Highlights

  • Silvia Camps, Founder and CEO of Stow Simple, and Jessica Do, Founder of Palmpress, won first ($10,000) and second ($5,000) place at the first-ever Miami Babson Rocket Pitch.
    • Jessica Do has since raised an initial $20,000 in seed investment from an investor who saw her pitch at the event.
  • Jessica Shin and Terri-Ann Brown, Co-Founders of Apollonix, won second place ($15,000) in the SUP-X Startup Showcase.
  • Kelly Pierce, Founder and CEO of PIERCE Plan won first place ($10,000) and People’s Choice Award ($1,000) in the 15th Annual University of Miami Business Plan Competition.
  • Arielle Cohen, Co-Founder and CEO of Zuke Music, Kelly Pierce, Founder and CEO of PIERCE Plan, and Jessica Do, Founder of Palmpress Coffee, were selected to pitch at the WIN Lab Finale Event on April 25 and won $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500, respectively.

  • Twelve ‘community track’ semifinalists were chosen for the 2017 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge—four of which were from WIN Lab Miami and two were WIN Lab Boston alumnae.
    • Boston WIN Lab alumna Cargo42 was announced as the triple winner—awarded first place by the judges, People’s Pick, and Overall Winner.
    • Apollonix, alumna of the Miami cohort, was awarded second place by the judges.

“It has been incredible to witness how the WIN Lab entrepreneurs have completely dominated the local startup competition scene,” said Carolina Pina, Director of Babson’s WIN Lab Miami. “These founders are a true inspiration and through them we have successfully increased awareness in the community and highlighted the significant role women entrepreneurs play in the Miami economy.”

About the Babson College Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab®

Created by the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) at Babson College, the Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab® provides women entrepreneurs with an inspiring community and a rigorous, experiential process that catalyzes innovative thinking and enables them to successfully launch or transform businesses. Now in its fourth year, WIN Lab has been designated as one of the top two specialty programs for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE); earned BostInno’s designation as one of Boston’s “50 on Fire” innovators and visionaries; and was honored by the prestigious Rosoff Awards for diversity. 

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader of Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®​​​. The top​-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®​​ as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.