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UBS and Hello Alice Launch Grant Program to Bridge the Funding Gap for Female Founders of Color

Gaby M. Rojas

Thirty female founders of color to be awarded a $25,000 grant to help accelerate the growth of their companies

Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS focused on increasing the success of female founders, in partnership with Hello Alice, a multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow, announced a program designed to help level the playing field for female founders of color and close the gap in obtaining equal access to capital. The program, titled “Democratizing the Friends & Family Round,” will award $25,000 grants to 30 participants and reinforces UBS’s commitment to addressing wealth inequality.

Black and Latinx female founders receive less than 1% of venture capital with the funding gap that entrepreneurs of color experience happening well before they prepare to raise their first venture round. Nearly 40% of early-stage entrepreneurs raise initial funding through a “Friends and Family” investment round rather than through credited investors. Additionally, as a result of the racial wealth gap—the disparity in median wealth between people of different races—most entrepreneurs of color do not have access to a network that can provide them with the necessary funding. All this prevents them from testing their innovations, hiring key talent, and having the runway to grow and raise future investment.

“Funding disparities that founders of color experience represent a failure of the system, not of the founders,” said Jamie Sears, Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas at UBS. “Our mission at Project Entrepreneur, is to support and help level the playing field for female founders with the tools, resources and supportive ecosystem they need to succeed. This program plays an important role in closing the equity gap for female founders of color and accelerating the growth of their companies.”

“As a Latina-owned company, we know firsthand how difficult it can be to raise venture funds,” said Elizabeth Gore, Co-Founder and President of Hello Alice. “We started Hello Alice to provide access to capital for New Majority owners, and we are excited to work with UBS on this grant program to help female founders of color get a head start with their businesses.”

In addition to receiving $25,000 in grant funding, each founder will have access to virtual coaching and other skill-building opportunities with UBS and Hello Alice. All applicants, regardless of whether they’re shortlisted to the final 30, will receive free access to thousands of curated resources and a community of 450,000+ business owners through Hello Alice.To be eligible for the program, applicants must be leading a high-growth company registered in the U.S. and have at least one founder who identifies as a woman of color. The deadline to apply is November 10, 2021 and winners will be announced in late January 2022. Full application details can be found at: https://ubs.helloalice.com.

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