With International Women's Day just around the corner, Dentsu Aegis Network has extended its global accelerator program, Female Foundry, to the U.S. The first city to launch will be Chicago, kicking off with a three-day event in May.
Created by iProspect the program, launched in Singapore in 2016, aims to develop and support female entrepreneurs. The agency’s research project, “Hear Her Voice,” conducted initially in the APAC region, was the catalyst for the program’s inception.
New U.S.-focused research was conducted earlier this year. Designed to help the company better understand the barriers and opportunities for female entrepreneurs in the U.S., the research found that women launching their own businesses here are seeking self-fulfillment, flexible working conditions and greater independence.
But the research also found they feel isolated and without access to the same support networks as their male counterparts. The research also found that women from ethnic minorities here have a greater appetite to invest in self-development.
Isobar CEO Deb Boyda said the program “allows women to discuss their greatest business challenges and collaborate on solutions together, connecting on a deeper level. You're surrounded by people who have been through it or are experiencing it with you. That’s priceless.”
In addition to Singapore and now the U.S., the program has rolled out in Mexico, Chile, South Africa and India.
Chicago was chosen as the first U.S. site because of its diversity and opportunity for female-led businesses. Fifteen participants will have access to DAN's resources and will take part in a three-day boot camp in May to map their strategies for growth. Courses focus on leadership, business models, customers and the marketplace.
Participants will be matched with a senior leader within Dentsu Aegis Network for long-term mentoring. Mentors will coach the entrepreneurs and help them work towards the business growth goals that they formulate during the boot camp.
The Chicago application process is open to female-owned businesses in the Chicago metro area. Deadline for entries is Monday, April 6.