Representing South Carolina at Project Entrepreneur Weekend Intensive in New York City are co-founders Hildy Teegen and David Adoff from harborGood and VAGA founder Kerranna Williamson. Both companies hail from Charleston. They are the only South Carolina entrepreneurs selected to join the leaders of 148 other female-founded firms at the Conrad Hotel on April 9–10 for the event, which is a joint venture between the Rent the Runway Foundation and UBS.
Project Entrepreneur ignites bold ideas by providing women access to the tools, training, and networks needed to build scalable, economically impactful companies. Among this year’s competitors are twelve companies that will pitch their businesses to a panel of experts for the chance to be in a five-week accelerator program hosted at Rent the Runway and receive a cash prize of $10,000.
Pitch finalists will attend sessions on actionable steps and resources to turn their companies into scalable, economically impactful companies. “Our goal is to level the playing field so women entrepreneurs have the tools and opportunities necessary to build high-growth, high-impact companies,” said Jennifer Hyman, CEO, Rent the Runway. “The Weekend Intensive and venture competition will bring us one step closer to this goal.”
VAGA is a trusted community marketplace for individuals and companies to list, discover, and book unique short-term workspace rentals around the world. VAGA helps companies with extra space rent it out to tenants looking for rentals from 18 months down to by-the-hour. With VAGA Concierge (a simple request for what is needed, anywhere in the world, and VAGA Concierge presents options and manages the booking) and vaga.co (an online platform for automated booking of short term space—currently in Charleston, SC and growing to new cities), VAGA enables access to space that otherwise goes unused and helps companies save money.
harborGood.com is the easy-to-use online marketplace that converts in-kind donations into cash to fund charitable causes. Supporters participate in the marketplace to contribute to their chosen organization as donors or buyers of goods, services, and rentals. harborGood eliminates the need to orchestrate a match between an in-kind donation and a charity’s particular need, enables organizations to raise more funds with less effort and at lower cost and empowers more people to be impactful philanthropists through the simple acts of donating and buying in the marketplace.
“The female founders participating in Project Entrepreneur are among some of our country’s most promising talent,” said Lori Feinsilver, UBS Head of Community Affairs & Executive Communications, Americas. “Even more, 50 percent of the founders attending the April Intensive are ethnically diverse women. To be a part of the changing face of the start-up community is inspiring, and we’re excited for what the future holds for these ventures.”
“We’re looking forward to sharing practical skills from some of the best entrepreneurs in the space to help our participants take their businesses to the next level,” added Jennifer Fleiss, Co-Founder of Rent the Runway.
Rent the Runway Foundation and UBS joined forces in September of 2015 to launch Project Entrepreneur as a way to address the fact that while women are starting more businesses than ever before, only a small fraction—4 percent to be exact—generate $500K or more in annual revenue. Women also count for less than 10 percent of founders at high-growth firms. In addition to the venture competition, accelerator program, and weekend intensive, the Project Entrepreneur initiative also includes a free digital resource hub and multi-city events. Additional support for Project Entrepreneur is provided by Microsoft Office and Mashable is its Official Media Partner.
Follow Project Entrepreneur on social media with the hashtag #PEIntensive16.