What is the Babson Breakaway Challenge?

The Babson Breakaway Challenge™ is a business competition for women-led companies. The mission of the Challenge is to solve the interconnected problems of not enough women receiving venture capital funding and not enough women in leadership roles within the venture capital industry, as reported in the research report Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital.

The winning entrepreneur will win an unprecedented prize of $250,000 in funding or a convertible note for their business, along with other in-kind prizes.  

What are the eligibility requirements for Entrepreneurs?

Any consumer-facing businesses with a woman comprising at least 50% of the founding team are welcome to apply.  Additionally, we prefer the business will have received less than $250,000 in outside funding by September 30, 2016. Outside funding includes any funding from Angels, VCs and/or accelerator or incubator programs.  A venture need not be generating revenues in order to be eligible for the Babson Breakaway Challenge™. The woman Entrepreneur finalist from your company must have the ability to participate in all Challenge programming.

What if I have (or will have) raised more than $250K before the Challenge is over? Will I be disqualified?

No more than $250K in outside funding is a guideline rather than a strict constraint. Applicants will not be disqualified or penalized should they raise more than the recommended limit; however, the spirit of the Challenge is to provide an investment that is transformational for the entrepreneur and allows Breakaway to add meaningful value to the business, and that opportunity wanes with the more funding the entrepreneur receives. 

I’m not from the Boston area. Can I still enter the Babson Breakaway Challenge?

Your company does not need to be currently based in the Boston area. We do require the woman Entrepreneur finalist from your company is able to participate in all Challenge programming.

I have a great business idea, but we haven’t built anything yet. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can apply. We will consider all great ideas, regardless of how early-stage your business.

What information do you require on the application for an entrepreneur? 

The application is very straightforward. For Entrepreneur applicants we require your contact information, general information about your venture (including all your social media accounts), a 60-second video about what inspired you to start your business, and a pitch deck. Apply here

Is there an entry fee?

There is no fee for Entrepreneurs  to apply to the Babson Breakaway Challenge™.

Does my business need to be U.S. owned and operated?

Yes, we are only accepting applications from U.S. owned and operated businesses.

How do you define “consumer-facing business”?

A consumer business is one for which consumers are the end users of your product or service. If you sell your product or service to individuals as opposed to other businesses, then you have a consumer-facing business. Specifically excluded from this definition are biotech, medical devices, B2B software, enterprise technology, oil & gas, and non-profit.