Business Accelerator for Collegiate Female Founders and Recent Graduates

The WBENC Collegiate Accelerator (CA) is a highly coveted and multifaceted entrepreneurial program focused on the advancement of collegiate female founders. Selected students will learn how to navigate growth for early-stage ventures through targeted curriculum, personalized mentorship, and peer to peer connections. Student participants will join 4,000+ women business owners, procurement professionals, and partner organizations at the 2024 WBENC National Conference in Denver, Colorado.

WBENC is proud to engage, empower, and inspire the next generation of woman-owned businesses by optimizing the power of the WBENC network through the support of WBENC Corporate Members.

Congratulations to the 2024 Collegiate Accelerator Finalists!

1st Place: Emily Untermeyer, Ruby

2nd Place: Joanie Johnson, Interplay

3rd Place: Aalliyeh Clinton, Monneah’s Engineered Materials

Learn more about the 2024 Collegiate Accelerator Cohort




The WBENC Collegiate Accelerator welcomes all selected participants to Denver, Colorado from March 16 – March 22, 2024 for five full days of programming featuring exclusive opportunities at the 2024 WBENC National Conference.

The 2024 Collegiate Accelerator will culminate in a virtual Closing Ceremony on Wednesday, April 3, from 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM Eastern Time.

All in-person and virtual program dates are mandatory for acceptance into the 2024 Collegiate Accelerator.



In-Person in Denver, Colorado at the 2024 WBENC National Conference

Title Sponsors
Interactive Showcase Sponsor
2024 CA Corporate Supporters
2024 Collegiate Accelerator WBE Mentors

Barb Smith | Journey Steel, Inc.
Barbara Bosha | Bosha Design+Communications
Bev Jennings | SEE Company
Beverly Barnes | SGW Integrated Marketing
Brooke Foley | The Jayne Agency
Cathy Koch | K-Tec Systems Inc
Cindy Towers | JURISolutions
Connie Reuther | Bay Corrugated Container
Dr. Pamela Ellis | Compass College Advisory
Dr. Renette Dallas | Life by Dallas Inc (Dallas’ True Pop Popcorn)

Heather Cox | Certify My Company
Hetal Parikh | Rangam Consultants
Jennifer Schaumburg | FUSE SOLUTIONS INC
Jennifer Willey | Wet Cement
Judith Maloy | Polaris Direct
Karen Rellar | DBA RPI Graphic Data Solutions
Katrin Hillner | PCN (PC Network Inc)
Kelly Ruddo | One Call Concepts Locating Service
Kittie Watson, Ph.D | Innolect
Kristin Harper | Driven to Succeed LLC
Lisa Riggs | Spirit Sox USA, LLC.
Liz Whitehead | 12PointFive

LuzElena Rivers | Amera Medical Transportation
Mellissa Tong | DuckPunk Productions, Inc.
Michelle Jones | BPT Staffing
Nikki O’Dell | Talentology
Sabina Bhatia | Rose International, Inc.
Sharon Evans | CFJ Manufacturing
Sharon Reynolds | DevMar
Sherril Mosee | MinkeeBlue

Program Details

Collegiate female entrepreneurs (or recent graduates) accepted into the 2024 cohort will participate in a five-day, growth-based accelerator designed to guide emerging business owners through their startup phase. The Collegiate Accelerator includes a Mentorship Program that will connect student participants with seasoned women-owned businesses alongside mentors from leading Corporations in a 2:1 mentorship model.

The 2024 cohort will travel to Denver, Colorado for two-days of peer connections, professional networking, and targeted educational curriculum focused on the fundamentals of growth for startups.

While in Denver, program participants will also attend the WBENC National Conference, known as the largest event of its kind for women-owned businesses. Student founders will have an exclusive opportunity to showcase their service or product to more than 4,000 attendees during Demo Day. Additionally, the 2024 cohort will participate in the WBENC Collegiate Accelerator Pitch Competition in which seed capital grants will be awarded to the most disruptive and innovative businesses.

*Through the support of our valued Corporate and Government sponsors, all travel, lodging, and registration expenses will be covered for selected program participants, along with a stipend for F&B and incidentals.


I am so thrilled to have been a part of the Collegiate Accelerator program. I was going through a huge organizational change in my business and would not have felt confident continuing if it were not for the support of the accelerator; and now, I was lucky enough to win the pitch competition and receive funding! I am so grateful.
Sofia Viscuso
Founder | Rize
Sofia Viscuso
The WBENC Collegiate Accelerator provided such a great learning opportunity and supportive network for me. I had dedicated mentors who really took time out of their day to help me find resources for ingredients and packaging suppliers, introduce me to other entrepreneurs, and encourage me to think of alternative ways to pursue business opportunities.
Jamie Kim
Founder | Jamie's Farm
Jamie Kim
The WBENC Collegiate Accelerator helped my brand, Gently Soap, make connections that before I had only dreamed about on my vision board. I was able to learn which of my goals were viable options for 2022 and which ones I had to pump the breaks on. I made connections that opened my eyes to spaces and opportunities that I had no idea about and was even afforded the opportunity to pitch my brand on the National conference stage. I was able to connect with the other girls in my cohort and celebrate their wins as well. I want to do this program again and again.
Kristen Dunning
Founder | Gently Soap
Kristen Dunning
The Collegiate Accelerator Program has opened my eyes to my potential as a woman entrepreneur. It takes work to start this journey when you are young; still, when you are surrounded by like-minded individuals, you are stretched to capacities you could not have thought existed. The WBENC Collegiate Accelerator program gave me hope and seeing the success of my peers helped extinguish the fire of limitations and doubt in my venture and contributed towards my growth. Thank you for planting the seed of momentum in me, I will forever be grateful.
Faella Bell
Founder | Blue Ribbean
Faella Bell

Tailored Curriculum

The WBENC Collegiate Accelerator works to develop and scale participating ventures through tailored curriculum focused on the fundamentals of growth, customer retention, entrepreneurial leadership, and the essentials of an effective pitch.

CA Mentorship Program

Student participants will receive individualized mentorship from seasoned women business owners alongside America’s largest Fortune 500 Corporations.

Interested in becoming a WBE Mentor? Learn More & Apply HERE

Demo Day & Pitch Competition

Students will gain valuable brand exposure with an exclusive opportunity to showcase their ventures on Demo Day to a network of over 4,000 entrepreneurs and Corporate procurement professionals. Participants will also compete in a live Pitch Competition at the WBENC National Conference for a chance to win seed capital grants.

Peer Connections

Collegiate Accelerator participants will have the opportunity to learn from, network, and collaborate with like-minded peers to form meaningful connections and gain a greater understanding of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Who Should Apply


  • Enrolled full-time or part-time in a recognized College or University, or a recent graduate (must have graduated within the past 12 months).
  • (1) Female Founder participant per company – applicant must be an owner, founder, or controlling shareholder.
  • Company must have been operating for at least three months but does not have to be revenue generating.
  • In order to be accepted into the program, participants must agree to attend the entirety of the program in Denver, CO as well as the virtual Closing Ceremony on April 3. Inability to attend and participate in the entire program will result in ineligibility.
How to Apply




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Tuition & Fees

Through the support of our valued Corporate and Government sponsors, all travel, lodging, and registration expenses will be covered for selected program participants, along with a stipend for F&B and incidentals.

Participating Colleges & Universities

More than 100+ colleges and universities across the U.S. have helped identify prospective students for this program. Join us! Contact us at NextGen@wbenc.orgfor details on how you can get involved.

Contact Information

Email us at or by contacting Avery Trump at