Emily Lagasse is one of the first round of semifinalists for the Babson Breakaway Challenge and a $250,000 prize. Here, she talks about her business Fedwell Pet Foods.
Babson College’s Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) and Breakaway, a Boston-based brand and venture capital firm, have opened 10 additional semifinalist spots in the Babson Breakaway Challenge - the first and only competition to promote gender parity in the venture capital industry, and award $250,000 plus in-kind prizing to a high-potential, women-led business. All semifinalists will be announced on Thursday, September 15, followed by a Demo Day at Boston’s District Hall on Friday, September 23.
The 23 semifinalists will be given the opportunity to pitch their businesses to a panel of judges, including HUBweek Co-founder Linda Pizzuti Henry, Breakaway President John Burns MBA'05, and more. Several female entrepreneurs will be named finalists, and each will then compete for the ultimate title at the Babson Breakaway Challenge Finale—a featured HUBweek event on Friday, September 30 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
The Babson Breakaway Challenge was launched in 2015 by Susan Duffy, executive director at Babson’s Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership, and John Burns, president of Breakaway Ventures, in direct response to Babson’s Diana Project report, Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital (pdf). The research revealed that while women entrepreneurs are majority owners of nearly 36 percent of all U.S. businesses, they receive only 2.7 percent of all venture capital funding.
The Babson Breakaway Challenge is open to U.S. owned and operated consumer businesses of which at least 50 percent of the founding team are women, active in the company. Preference will be given to businesses that have made it past the business plan stage and for whom the $250,000 investment and award would be impactful.
- $250,000 in funding plus marketing services, including the creation of a customized brand identity platform from Breakaway;
- In-kind prizing from Comcast including a three-month advertising campaign in the Boston DMA; production of one thirty-second commercial; and more;
- $1,000 in MOO print and design products for the winner, plus $250 for each runner-up; and
- Bombas merchandise.
- John Burns, President of Breakaway Ventures, a brand-focused growth equity investment firm;
- Linda Pizzuti Henry, Managing Director at Boston Globe Media Partners; Co-founder of HUBweek; Director of the John W. Henry Family Foundation and the Red Sox Foundation; Member of MassChallenge’s Board of Advisors; Early-stage impact investor and television producer;
- Nicole M. Stata, Founder and Managing Director of Boston Seed Capital, LLC;
- Alicia Syrett, Founder and CEO of Pantegrion Capital, an angel investment vehicle focused on seed and early-stage investments;
- Plus more to be announced.
We have some great news. We've opened 10 additional semifinalist spots in the Babson Breakaway Challenge - the first and only competition to promote gender parity in the venture capital industry, and award $250,000 plus in-kind prizing to a high-potential, women-led business. All semifinalists will be announced on Thursday, September 15, followed by a Demo Day at Boston’s District Hall on Friday, September 23. The Finale event featuring the finalists is on Friday, September 30 at Hynes Convention Center in Boston, in association with HUB Week.
Here is the first round of semifinalists who will compete for the $250,000 prize:
Allergy Amulet is a rapid, portable, food allergen detection device. Users insert the disposable test strip into their food and within seconds the reader alerts users to the presence or absence of target allergens.
With great ambition and an adventurous spirit, Archer Roose brings you artisan-quality wine in sensible packaging.
Beantown Bedding creates Laundry-Free Linens® the first and only luxury disposable sheets.
Brunswick Park is a line of performance apparel for the weekday warrior - those among us for whom work and play blend together, who get up early and stay out late.
DARTdrones is a national drone training school offering one day certification. Learn how to fly your drone from true aviators and drone experts.
Energy Harvesters LLC is commercializing a personal electronics mobile power source called the Walking Charger. The Walking Charger allows users to charge the batteries in their mobile electronics devices anytime, anywhere just by walking.
Fedwell is home-style food for healthy pets, crafted with pure ingredients and gently baked to provide optimal nutrition and flavor.
Local + Lejos
Local + Lejos is a home decor company bridging communities near and far. They create modern pieces at attainable prices. By delivering unique, handmade goods, they empower artisans to grow a business, preserve cultural traditions, and create sustainable futures for their families.
MyStryde is Boston's first running studio. They offer running and treadmill classes and coaching in a motivating, fitness-filled environment.
Nix is pioneering consumer diagnostics through its disposable biosensor platform. First solution: a real-time wearable hydration sensor.
Red Apple Lunch
Red Apple Lunch offers healthy school lunches ordered online and delivered to your door.
Roast Beast is a no-frills sandwich spot specializing in roast beef & turkey, with a variety of sauces.
Xandeva provides parents the easiest platform to search and coordinate their kids enrichment activities.
Almost one year ago, John Burns the CIO at Breakaway, a Boston-based brand capital firm, approached Professor Candida Brush and Susan Duffy, the Executive Director at Babson College’s Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) in response to Professor Brush’s most recent Diana Project report, Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital.
The report revealed that while women entrepreneurs are majority owners of nearly 36 percent of all U.S. businesses, they receive only 2.7 percent of venture capital funding. The Babson Breakaway Challenge was created in direct response to the report’s troubling statistics.
The Challenge is a one-of-a-kind business competition and mentoring program that promotes gender parity in the venture capital industry, by supporting both women-led businesses and fostering aspiring women venture capitalists.
The winning entrepreneur team will receive $250,000 for their business—the largest amount of funding awarded in a business competition for women—as well as marketing services, including the creation of a customized brand identity platform.
The Babson Breakaway Challenge is open to consumer-facing businesses where at least 50 percent of the founding team are women active in the company, have less than $500,000 in revenue, cannot have raised more than $250,000 in outside funding by March, 2016 and have the ability to participate in the Challenge’s programming that takes place in the Boston area.
All women entrepreneurs and aspiring venture capitalists are encouraged to apply!
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
6 to 8:30 p.m.
District Hall, 75 Northern Ave., Boston
The event is FREE, but RSVP is required.
Twelve business with women founders/co-founders will be featured.
MIN79 will be co-located with Innovation Women's Women Entrepreneurs Evening—an event featuring Boston's top organizations that support women entrepreneurs.
Come and meet:
- Babson Breakaway Challenge
- Startup Institute
- The Commonwealth Institute
- WITI Professional Association
- Girls in Tech
- Geek Girls
Hundreds of people have already registered. We’re expecting a full house, so if you plan on attending, please register early.
It’s going to be a really fun night. We’ll see you there!