There is $10,000 up for grabs for women entrepreneurs in Grow America’s “She Can Pitch” competition.
The entry process is fairly straightforward: After creating a Grow America account, entrants answer a few questions about their business and upload a two-minute pitch video to Vimeo or YouTube. The public then votes on the pitches. Mentors, investors and previous Grow America award recipients will then judge the top 50 pitches to determine the three winners. There are some stipulations, and to be eligible, the company must be founded by a woman, owned by a woman or have a woman as a C-level executive.
According to Grow America’s press release, the first-place winner will be given $5,000, while the second- and third-place finishers will receive $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. Additionally, the first year of the competition also offers three winning companies a mentoring session with a successful executive at a top startup and a chance to pitch to a venture capitalist or angel investor.
According to their website, Grow America’s mission is to create U.S. jobs, and it’s goal is to provide education insights as well as hands-on training to all startups. In addition to the competitions held throughout the year, the company provides a digital space for entrepreneurs to gather and find online resources to spur business growth.
Grow America often hosts similar contests for startup businesses, but this particular award reflects a growing business trend. According to Crain’s, the number of new companies led by women is growing, and Businessweek reports that those with women in senior positions are more successful.
But Businessweek also reports that women are not as well represented in the venture capital firms funding those startups. Less than 7 percent of executives at those firms are women, the magazine reports. To put this in perspective, 28 percent of U.S. businesses are owned by women, and 16 percent of board members and corporate officers at Fortune 500 companies are female.
Despite the low number of females at venture capital firms, the percentage of women that own startups is even higher than the percentage of all U.S. female business owners. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation reports that women represent 35 percent of startup business owners, though this is in spite of the fact that about 46 percent of the workforce is made up of women and more than half of college students are female.
Winners and finalists will be announced on or before May 6.