and Other Under-Represented Founders
Looking to launch or grow your business? Check out the following resources for funding, mentorship, and other assistance, all tailored to entrepreneurs who are women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ+.
Accelerators, incubators, and fellowships
This nonprofit serves women entrepreneurs in Ohio and northern Kentucky with in-person and online instruction, mentoring, and networking. Some participants compete for funding in an annual pitch competition.
The Capital Network Fellowship for Female Founders
This Boston-based nonprofit offers a six-month fellowship for women entrepreneurs, with workshops, mentoring, and networking.
digitalundivided BIG incubator
Geared to Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs, this fifteen-week program in Newark, New Jersey, provides instruction, mentoring, and networking.
FastTrac NewVenture 50+
In partnership with New York City’s Department of Small Business Services, this six-week bootcamp serves women entrepreneurs over age 50, teaching them business basics.
The New York City-based program provides women entrepreneurs with training and mentorship.
This twelve-week accelerator in Cincinnati supports tech-driven companies led by people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQIA community.
LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (LEAP)
The Columbus, Ohio-based program offers instruction, mentoring, and networking to entrepreneurs who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab
This six-month accelerator, based in New York City, serves women and other diverse founders building technology or technology-enabled start-ups. Participants receive instruction, mentoring, funding, and workspace.
This Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit helps women entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. It offers several accelerators, such as Health Innovation Hub, Tech Innovation Hub, and New York Fashion Tech Lab, and hosts “helpful feedback-driven” pitch sessions called Dolphin Tank at locations throughout the country.
Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab
Run by Babson College, this five-month accelerator serves women entrepreneurs in Boston and Miami with coaching, networking, and mentoring.
Women’s Startup Lab
This Silicon Valley-based organization hosts an accelerator for women-led tech start-ups and a pitch event called WiSE24.
Books to read
Launching While Female: Smashing the System That Holds Women Entrepreneurs Back
By Susanne Althoff
Based on interviews with over a hundred women and nonbinary founders, this book explores the hurdles these entrepreneurs face and proposes ways to make the start-up world inclusive and equitable.
Leapfrog: The New Revolution For Women Entrepreneurs
By Nathalie Molina Niño with Sara Grace
Nathalie Molina Niño, who launched her first tech start-up when she was twenty, draws on her own extensive entrepreneurial experience and that of other successful founders and executives. The result is fifty “proven hacks” to help you launch and grow your company. The book pays special attention to the hurdles faced by women of color.
Be an InventHer: An Everywoman’s Guide to Creating the Next Big Thing
By Mina Yoo and Hilary Meyerson
This compact, practical book walks you through the step-by-step process of starting a business, focusing on companies that manufacture consumer products. Co-author Mina Yoo invented the Heroclip, a gadget that functions as a third hand, and weaves in her personal story.
Venture capital firms and funds
This fund—named for the year Ada Byron Lovelace wrote some of the earliest computer algorithms—invests in women-led tech companies. It’s headed up by Tracy Chadwell.
Founded by Tricia Black, this firm invests in companies with diverse leadership teams, especially in industries related to commerce, care, and connectivity.
Calling itself “the first female-focused fund in Houston,” this group invests in companies in a variety of industries.
Started by Arlan Hamilton, this firm invests in companies with founders who are women, people of color, or LGBTQ.
BBG Ventures sprang from an initiative called #BUILTBYGIRLS and invests in consumer-tech start-ups that have at least one woman founder. It’s led by Susan Lyne and Nisha Dua.
BELLE Capital USA
This fund invests in women-led companies in the following sectors: digital/mobile/internet, technology-enabled products and services, life sciences/medical devices/health IT, and clean-tech.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, creator of the Bumble dating app, is behind this fund, which invests mostly in companies founded and led by women of color and people in other under-represented groups.
Headed up by Samara Mejia Hernandez, this firm seeks out start-ups led by women and other under-represented entrepreneurs, and specializes in what it calls “overlooked businesses.”
This firm invests in technology and tech-enabled companies with at least one woman leader on the team. It’s led by Kathryn Cartini, Elisa Miller-Out, and Erica O’Brian.
This Hillsboro, Oregon-based fund, founded by Nitin Rai, invests in under-represented entrepreneurs, including women, people of color, and veterans, in a range of industries.
Arian Simone and Keshia Knight Pulliam launched this fund that invests in companies led by women of color entrepreneurs.
Female Founders Fund
This fund, started by Anu Duggal, invests in women-founded and led ventures, focusing on e-commerce, web-enabled services, marketplaces, and platforms.
This fund, led by Jesse Draper, invests in consumer-technology companies with at least one woman on the founding team.
Harlem Capital Partners
This firm invests in founders who are women and people of color, whose companies focus on tech-enabled products or services. It was started by Henri Pierre-Jacques and Jarrid Tingle.
Intel Capital Diversity Initiative
Affiliated with tech giant Intel, this program invests in under-represented technology entrepreneurs: people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, veterans, women, and people with disabilities.
This group of women investors seeks companies based in the Southeast and led by women entrepreneurs.
Founded by Sue Heilbronner and Elizabeth Kraus, MergeLane invests in start-ups with at least one woman co-founder or leader.
This firm invests in companies with at least one woman co-founder, focusing on cyber, blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and consumer-facing start-ups. Alexsis de Raadt St. James started Merian Ventures.
Plum Alley Investments
This membership-based group of investors seeks out companies led by women entrepreneurs and gender-diverse teams. Plum Alley was launched by Deborah Jackson and Andrea Turner Moffitt.
This group’s funds prioritize investments in companies with “inclusive and gender-balanced teams.” Portfolia was founded by Trish Costello.
This firm, founded by Jenny Abramson, funds women-led companies that use technology to address major challenges in our society, such as healthcare and environmental sustainability.
Founded by Pocket Sun and Elizabeth Galbut, this firm invests in companies led by entrepreneurs who are women and people of color.
This firm invests in software companies, focusing on those in the Southeast and led by diverse teams.
This fund invests in companies with gender-diverse management teams, especially in the sectors of enterprise SaaS, consumer internet, and educational technology. Entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest and California are preferred.
The fund, led by a large group of women who are entrepreneurs themselves, invests in companies with at least one woman founder.
This network of angel investors invests in start-ups that include a woman “in a position of leadership who holds equity and executive influence.”
This group invests in companies with at least one LGBT founder, senior executive, or board member. Since 2015, over half of the start-ups that have received an investment have had a woman founder or senior leader.
This angel network invests in businesses that are women-led, often focused on B2B and B2C technology, health care, and consumer products or services.
Next Wave Impact
This investment group, started by Alicia Robb, focuses on companies that have women and/or people of color on the founding team.
Founded by Natalia Oberti Noguera, this angel group seeks entrepreneurs who are women or non-binary femmes.
Other funding options
Black Girl Ventures
Started by Shelly Bell, this organization hosts pitch competitions for Black and Brown women entrepreneurs with crowdfunded winnings. Coaching and networking are also offered.
Cartier Women’s Initiative
This global contest offers prize money and business and financial coaching to women entrepreneurs whose companies meet at least one of seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
This platform helps women-led businesses raise money through rewards-based crowdfunding. Coaching is also available.
The Red Backpack Fund
Spanx founder Sara Blakely is giving 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to women business owners in 2020. Winners will also receive an annual all-access pass to MasterClass.
Founded by Vicki Saunders, this international program features women pooling their money and then loaning it out (with no interest) to the women-led companies that they select. Participants also receive networking and advice.
Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program
This program, a partnership with Bank of America, helps women entrepreneurs secure affordable loans through community lenders.
Women’s Enterprise Action Loan Fund
This group, founded by Vicki Weiner, offers interest-free loans ($5,000 to $10,000) and mentoring to women business owners in the New York metro area. The loans have no credit rating or guarantor requirements.
Women You Should Fund
This platform helps women-led businesses raise money through rewards-based crowdfunding.