Over the last few years a focus on supporting women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has been initiated through universities, corporations, and government programs, which prepare young women for the workforce in these areas, critical to the United States economy, and the future of innovation. 

Since 2008, over 120 diverse women studying in a STEM field, from universities across the United States have completed the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP).  This program provides mentoring from the most successful Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs), as well as from corporate representatives from some of America’s largest Fortune 500 companies.  Students participate in a tailored curriculum which includes visits to corporations and incubators, business case competitions, and exposure to the WBENC National Conference and Business Fair.  The WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program has helped prepare young women to meet the needs of future female entrepreneurs.

In 2015 the Student Entrepreneur Program added a new element, “Arts” creating the (STEAM) Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math program incorporating creativity and design into the program. The STEAM program will continue to focus on bringing together women at the developmental stages of their career to build a support network for future women business owners and leaders.  

Through the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program we recognize the importance of cultivating the next generation of female entrepreneurs. Each year a diverse cohort is created to serve as a source of ideas and innovation. A sense of community is created to go beyond the classroom and extend into the communities where these women live and work.

Pitch Competition

Each year, SEP participants engage in a pitch competition presenting their business plans to industry leading corporations and Women's Business Enterprises. One winner is selected annually.

Click here to view previous Pitch Competition winners.

2015 SEP Application Process

 To access the 2015 SEP application, click here.


Student must be an undergraduate student at a recognized College or University in the field of Business, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, or Math for the current academic year and enrolled in school at the time of application. Business majors with a minor or entrepreneur focus in a STEAM field are also encouraged to apply.

The program process begins with a written application, including an essay stating the desire to attend the program and how the program would enable them for future growth and success. Application submission must include resume and letter of reference from a faculty member or colleague. Please send these supporting documents (resume and letter of reference) to Senior Manager, Strategic Programs and Operations, Andrew Gaeckle at agaeckle@wbenc.org.

 Application Timeline: 

  • Due Date 11:59 PM EST March 20th, 2015
  • Acceptance notifications will be sent out April 2015 (only students accepted into the program will be notified)

Program Details:

The on-site program will run June 21 – 26, 2015, however, students will be required to participate and complete activities with program staff and mentors prior to arriving in June. All travel to and from the on-site program as well as food, and lodging expenses while on-site will be covered.


Contact Andrew Gaeckle, Senior Manager, Strategic Programs and Operations at agaeckle@wbenc.org.


In order for Shell to meet business and stakeholder goals and continue to find innovative ways to discover, develop and deliver sustainable forms of energy around the globe Shell looks for partners who also understand their business need and in 2012 joined the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP).

History reflects that corporations tend to spend much time and effort coaching and mentoring current WBEs, many of whom have already found some level of success in business. But when thinking of the “Supplier Pipeline”, focusing on what goes INTO the pipeline? WBENC has an answer. Let’s collaborate to connect tomorrow’s WBE innovators with today’s leading corporations, better positioning suppliers to develop solutions for future industry challenges.
— Shell