Student Entrepreneur Program

2017 Applications Open Fall 2016

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Overview:

The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Student Entrepreneur Program (WBENC SEP) fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses. Since its inception in 2008, more than 150 students from 50 colleges and universities across the country have graduated from SEP. WBENC is proud to invest in the next generation of Women's Business Enterprises through the support of WBENC Corporate and Government Members

 

Join us in taking a look back at the 2015 WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program. This video is made possible by WBENC SEP 2015 Title Sponsor, Shell.

 

Program Details:

Aspiring collegiate female entrepreneurs studying in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) or Business receive mentoring from the most successful Women's Business Enterprises and America's largest Fortune 500 companies while also participating in a tailored entrepreneurial curriculum, a pitch competition awarding $10,000 in seed capital and experiential learning through off-site visits to Women's Business Enterprises, corporate campuses, and accelerators.


Student Testimonials:

“WBENC SEP was simply amazing! I met awesome mentors who were eager to share their experiences, knowledge, and wisdom. I left WBENC SEP inspired and motivated! I am truly grateful for being blessed with the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful program, and I look forward to becoming a WBENC certified company so that I can see everyone next year!”

– Chancedy Pulliam, 2016 SEP Graduate from Mississippi State University and Founder of PawsiblyChic LLC
“THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THIS OUT THERE. As a female entrepreneur you will face obstacles and hurdles that will discourage 95% of us. If you make it to the last 5% standing, and you make it to WBENC SEP you will get your air. You will hear testimonials and stories from very successful women on how hard it can get- but you will also learn about the happy endings if you just keep pushing and pushing. You will be inspired and in 6 days you will get all the energy you need to keep pushing your venture forward. Use that energy to help you reach the next milestone!”

– Ya-El Mandel-Portnoy 2016 SEP Graduate and Pitch Competition
Winner from Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Application Process

Applicant Eligibility

  • Student must be enrolled full time in an undergraduate or graduate program at a recognized College or University.
  • Student must be studying in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) or Business
  • Applicants must be physically located in the continental U.S. at time of the program. WBENC SEP does not cover international travel costs.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Preference will be given to applicants who are currently the owner, founder or controlling shareholder of a company and principally responsible for its operation.
  • Preference will be given to U.S. citizens

Application Criteria:

  • Written application, including an essay stating the desire to attend the program and how the program would enable them for future growth and success.
  • Resume
  • Letter of Recommendation from a faculty member or colleague.

Selection Criteria:

  • Students will be selected based on their individual application profile as compared to the overall applicant pool. Applicants should prepare themselves for a phone interview during the selection process. There is not any one element that speaks more to an applicant’s viability — it is the combined information set.
  • Students will be required to attend the entire program, inability to attend the entire program will result in not being accepted.
  • Students will be required to participate and complete activities with program staff and mentors prior to beginning the on-site element of the program in June.

Application Timeline:

The 2017 Application Process:

  • November 2016 - Applications for 2017 open
  • March 10, 2017 - Applications due
  • April 2017 - Accepted students will be notified.  (Only students accepted into the program will be notified.)
  • April – May 2017 - Accepted students will be required to develop their pitches during this time. Students will also be paired with mentors for pre-programing during this time.
  • June 18-23, 2017 - WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program during WBENC's National Conference & Business Fair in Las Vegas, NV
    • Travel, lodging, and expenses will be covered by WBENC

Contact:

Contact Andrew Gaeckle, Director, Strategic Planning at agaeckle@wbenc.org.


“FedEx is proud to support the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP). This program has a proven track record of providing essential resources to help encourage the next generation of women business owners. Playing a role in the growth of small businesses is a major focus area for FedEx, and it’s even more exciting to play a role in the development of young women through the SEP program.”

— Sue Spence, VP, Sourcing and Procurement
“After hearing all of the pitches during the elevator pitches, I was awestruck with all of the amazing things that these women were pursuing. WBENC SEP gave me a new sense of pride in the words ‘female entrepreneur’. I would highly recommend this program to any woman interested in pursuing entrepreneurship.”

— Mona Amin, 2nd place Pitch Competition Winner and 2016 SEP Graduate from Eastern Carolina University, Co-Founder of Freshspire Inc.

Curriculum and Pitch Competition

View or download the Curriculum and Pitch Competition in PDF format.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

+ Who is involved in the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program?

WBENC SEP is run by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council with support from title sponsor FedEx and our Student Scholar Supporters Corporate Mentors and WBE Mentors.

+ How do I become involved in WBENC SEP?

Student

  • Aspiring female entrepreneurs studying or with an entrepreneurial venture in one the STEAM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) or business are encouraged to apply.

College or University

  • WBENC would like to include your Universities among the nearly 40 Universities who have participated in WBENC SEP and ask for your assistance in identifying prospective students for this amazing program.

WBENC Corporate or Government Members

  • Corporate and Government Members are encouraged to not only offer monetary contributions, but to act as a SEP mentor for their sponsored student or students. For more information about serving as a mentor, click here or contact Andrew Gaeckle, Director, Strategic Planning at agaeckle@wbenc.org.

Certified Women Business Enterprises:

  • WBENC Certified WBEs are encouraged to not only offer monetary contributions, but to act as a SEP mentor for their sponsored student or students. For more information about serving as a mentor click here.

+ What are the application requirements and time line ?

Please refer to the Application Timeline on this web page.

+ What costs are associated with WBENC SEP?

Through the support of WBENC Corporate and Government Member and Certified WBEs WBENC is able to provide SEP free of charge for all students accepted into the program. Travel, Lodging, and Expenses will be covered for the program.