In the first part of the program, students explore their passions and what drives them to make a change in the world. As they narrow down their ideas for a service or product, we focus on market research and proof of concept to support their business idea and its viability in the marketplace. The girls form relationships with each other and create their first business network and begin to learn about and build the traits of an entrepreneur.
In the second part of the program students work on what it means to take a business from idea to reality, which starts with a strong business plan! We bring in guest speakers with extensive expertise to cover every relevant topic - planning, management, accounting, insurance, legal services, communications, networking, financials, and marketing among others. This, along with our classroom curriculum and support from our mentor team helps the girls build their knowledge base, build their network, and their confidence!
In the final phase of the program, students gain the skills needed to present their businesses to our Investor Panel with a goal of securing funds for their new business. The students learn how to hone their presentations and presentation skills to demonstrate a business idea supported by deep work, care, and due diligence. Most importantly, the students bring themselves fully to the presentation so the Investor Panel can feel the student's passion for how she wants to bring her business idea to life! The top student in our class will be a semi-finalist at the Saunders Scholarship event in early May and will have the opportunity to compete for extensive scholarship awards.
At the end of the course, girls pitch their businesses to local business leaders at the Investor Panel event to obtain funding. The YEA! Chicago Class of 2020 took to the stage in early March to pitch to a panel of local business leaders and present to the Female Strong community! These impressive, entrepreneurial ladies were granted award money to launch their businesses and received recognition for their hard work in the program.
Our annual CEO Roundtable event brings together high profile Chicago women business leaders for an informal discussion about their lives, careers, and what they love most about what they do. This year's event featured incredible women like Amanda Lannert of JellyVision and Alicia Driskill of EvolveHer.