Student Entrepreneur Program

The 2016 application process is now closed.

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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 through tailored curriculum and mentoring from certified women business enterprises (WBEs) and WBENC Corporate and Government Members. In addition to one-on-one mentoring students will also participate in a live pitch competition set at WBENC’s National Conference & Business Fair, and they will also have experiential learning through off-site visits to corporate campuses and accelerators supported by FedEx and our Student Scholar Supporters.

 

Program Details:

SEP is a week long on-site program hosted at the WBENC National Conference & Business Fair annually in June. Through the tremendous support of WBENC Corporate and Government Members and Certified WBE's, WBENC is able to provide SEP free of charge for all students accepted into the program. All travel to and from the on-site program as well as food, and lodging expenses while on-site will be covered by WBENC.

“We must be proactive about encouraging future WBEs of all backgrounds see the possibilities in opening their own businesses. The SEP program does this by bringing students from across the country, in different fields and with diverse backgrounds. It is important throughout the WBENC community that we are intentional in the development of young women,” said Pamela Prince-Eason, WBENC President and CEO.

 

Student Testimonials:

"Getting to know my mentors and connecting with them is what I will always remember the most. I know without a doubt that my mentors will help me to further my career goals with the advice and opportunities they have already provided me."
"The WBENC SEP Program gave me with motivation to continue pursuing ventures that I am passionate about, and also provided me with comfort, knowing that I have strong support from a network of successful women and men."

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 one the STEAM fields; Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, or Math, or have an entrepreneurial aspiration in a STEAM field.
  • 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 arriving in June.

Application Timeline:

The 2016 Application Process is now closed.  

  • December 2015 - Applications for 2016 open
  • March 11, 2016 - Applications due
  • April 2016 - Accepted students will be notified.  (Only students accepted into the program will be notified.)
  • April – May 2016 - 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 19 – 24, 2016 - WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program during WBENC's National Conference & Business Fair in Orlando, FL.
    • Travel, lodging, and expenses will be covered by WBENC

Contact:

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

 

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.


“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
WBENC SEP is a life changing experience. It is amazing how every WBE and WBENC Partner is willing to help you and share with you invaluable tools for your success as soon as you say you are part of the SEP. This program also gives participants the opportunity to gain exposure and become part of the WBENC family.
— 2015 Student Entrepreneur Program Participant

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, or Math 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 Student Scholar Supporter, please contact Andrew Gaeckle, Senior Manager Strategic Programs and Operations 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 Student Scholar Supporter 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.