NYU Female Founders Fellowship

The NYU Female Founders Fellowship provides extensive training, mentorship, and networking opportunities to student entrepreneurs at NYU who are committed to advancing gender equality in entrepreneurship. Female Founders Fellows will also have the opportunity to apply for loan alleviation grants of up to $50,000. This is an opportunity for NYU student entrepreneurs to build networks with renowned founders and investors across the US, to hone their leadership skills, and to get financial support for their ventures and to help alleviate their student loan debt all while contributing to closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship.

NYU students may apply for the fellowship in November and in March, via the same application as for the next upcoming Startup Sprint. The Female Founders Fellowship shares an application with the Startup Sprint, and we encourage you to apply for both programs. 

The application for the Spring ‘21 Female Founders Fellowship cohort will be due November 16th at 6pm. Sign up below to attend an info session for both the J-Term Startup Sprint and Female Founders Fellowship to learn more, and apply today!

Apply Here
  • What You Can Expect from the Fellowship

    Each fellow will receive mentorship, training, and resources to support their venture and themselves, including:

    Training: Fellows will have access to comprehensive startup training, and will be invited to participate in the:

    • Startup Sprint: Two week long intensive program to help startup ventures find problem-solution fit (taking place in January and in May/June). Sprint teams will be granted $1,000 at the start of the program and be eligible for up to $1,500 in follow-on funding (in reimbursable expenses).
    • Summer Launchpad Interview: Fellows will automatically be guaranteed an interview for the highly competitive NYU Summer Launchpad Accelerator.
    • Ignite Fellowship Priority Consideration: All fellows will have their ventures reviewed for potential invitation into the upcoming Ignite Alpha cohort.
    • Other programs: Fellows may also be invited to participate in/apply to other select program opportunities, as they arise.

    Coaching: Regular (monthly or more frequent) coaching sessions with members of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute Coaching Team, Entrepreneurs in Residence, and/or Founders in Residence,

    Mentoring: Fellows will be paired with seasoned entrepreneurial and investor mentors from the greater NYC and US startup communities. Further, fellows will have access to a network of 120+ external mentors and funders through the broader network of mentors at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute.

    Female Founders Network Access: Fellows will be invited to participate in monthly community events, and an annual full-day Female Founders Forum, alongside the broader NYU community. Fellows will also be offered exclusive networking opportunities, via:

    • Female Founders Fellowship Cohort: Monthly gatherings where fellows will get to share progress, work through venture challenges.
    • Networking events: Network with members of the Female Founders Fellowship Advisory Committee as well as with special guests from the startup community.

    Invitation to Apply for Financial Award: The NYU Female Founders Fellowship aims to enable more founders to pursue their ventures after graduation by removing some of the financial burden of student loan debt. NYU Female Founders Fellows are invited to apply for Loan Alleviation Grants as they prepare to graduate. Grants will be awarded to 15-25 Fellows per year and the awards will range from $5K to $50K per fellow.

  • Who It’s For

    The NYU Female Founders Fellowship is open to NYU undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs who are enrolled in a degree program from any NYU school or college, who are actively working on a startup venture. Recent alumni entrepreneurs who have graduated within the last year (at the time of application) and who started their venture while studying at NYU are also welcome to apply.

    We seek to build a diverse, inclusive cohort of fellows, and we welcome applications from any student with a demonstrated commitment to women’s issues in the entrepreneurial space, regardless of gender and including but not limited to students who identify as trans*, gender non-conforming, non-binary, or genderqueer.

    All applicants must personally demonstrate:

    • Commitment to their venture: Applicants must be passionate and knowledgeable about the problem they hope to solve and demonstrate that they and their team have the skills necessary to build and launch their venture. Applicants must also demonstrate continued advancement and progress on the venture, with the expectation that they’ll continue to work on their startup after graduation.
    • Commitment to supporting women in entrepreneurship: Applicants must demonstrate that they and/or their venture are advancing causes important to women and/or are supporting gender equality in entrepreneurship.
    • Demonstrated hustle: Applicants must be able to learn from, and take advantage of available resources. One way for applicants to show initiative is by meeting with the Entrepreneurial Institute for coaching appointments and completing a Startup Bootcamp in advance of applying.

    Applicant's Venture Considerations:

    Students pursuing ventures in any sector may apply (social impact, healthcare, biotech, deep tech, consumer products, enterprise technology, etc.). Independent of sector, the program has a strong preference for entrepreneurs tackling meaningful problems, building novel/differentiated solutions, and for businesses capable of radically scaling (including non-profits).

    We’ll consider how applicants answer the following questions about their venture:

    • Problem Identification: Does the venture solve a meaningful problem and how well does the team understand the problem they hope to solve and the customer segment/market they plan to address?
    • Idea & Competition: Is the venture idea novel and/or a radical improvement over existing solutions?
    • Milestones: What progress on the venture has been made so far - what has the team done/created?
    • Scalability: Does the venture have the ability to scale? What might be the potential impact and/or market opportunity of the venture at scale?

    Loan Alleviation Grant Selection Criteria:

    The selection criteria for the Loan Alleviation Grants is currently being finalized. Final selection criteria will be published to this website prior to opening the Application for the financial awards in February 2021. It is expected that the following will be used as high-level guidelines to determine award amounts: 

    • Successful participation in the NYU Startup Bootcamp, NYU Female Founders Fellowship, completion of the NYU Startup Sprint, and 6+ months of general coaching at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute 
    • Financial need (specifically - student loan amount held),
    • Founder commitment to entrepreneurship (their venture),
    • Founder commitment to supporting women in entrepreneurship
  • Application Process

    The next Female Founders Fellowship applications will be due on November 16th by 6pm. The link to the application can be found here. To learn more, RSVP for an info session today (above).

    Application Process for Fellowship
    NYU students may apply for the fellowship at two points in the year - in November and in March, via the same application as for the Startup Sprint. Link to application here.

    • Step 1- Suggested Pre-Requisite: Schedule a coaching appointment and apply for and complete a Startup Bootcamp, or Tech Venture Workshop.
    • Step 2 - Apply for Fellowship: The NYU Female Founders Fellowship shares an application with the NYU Startup Sprint, and we encourage you to apply for both programs. The application for the Spring ‘21 Female Founders Fellowship cohort will be due November 16th at 6pm. (info sessions listed above). The Application link can be found here.
    • Step 3 - Fellows Selection: Fellows will receive notification of their acceptance for the program w/in one month after applications are due.

    Application Process for Loan Alleviation Grants
    Fellows may apply for the Loan Alleviation Grant, following these additional steps:

    • Step 4 - Pre-Requisite: Actively participate in both the fellowship programming (for at least one semester) and in an Startup Sprint (January-Term or Summer), as well as in six months or more of startup coaching with the coaching team at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. (Participation in additional entrepreneurship programs, such as the Ignite Fellowship, NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge, NYU Summer Launchpad, or other programs is also highly encouraged, but not required).
    • Step 5 - Apply for Financial Award: At the time of graduation, fellows may apply for the Award for Student Loan Alleviation Grants. More details forthcoming in February 2021.
    • Step 6 - Awardee Selection: Details forthcoming in February 2021.
  • 2020 Inaugural NYU Female Founders Fellows

    We’re pleased to announce the first six Fellows! Each of these fellows will have the opportunity to apply for Loan Alleviation Grants.

    Photo of Caitlin Ellen
    Caitlin Ellen

    (Stern Langone '21)
    Co-Founder and CEO of Sabai Design

    Photo of Jade Kearney
    Jade Kearney

    (Steinhardt ‘20)
    Co-Founder and CEO of She Matters

    Photo of Laura Rocha
    Laura Rocha

    (Wagner ‘20)
    Co-Founder and CEO of Dathic

    Photo of Phantila Phataraprasit
    Phantila Phataraprasit

    (Law '20)
    Co-Founder and COO of Sabai Design

    Photo of Rina Patel
    Rina Patel

    (Gallatin '20)
    Founder and CEO of The Thinkers

    Sutton King

    (School of Global Public Health ‘20)
    Co-Founder and COO of ShockTalk

  • Frequently Asked Questions
    Do I have to identify as female to apply, or to be selected for the fellowship?
    No. We seek to build a diverse, inclusive cohort of fellows, and we welcome applications from any student with a demonstrated commitment to women’s issues in the entrepreneurial space, regardless of sex and including but not limited to students who identify as trans*, gender non-conforming, non-binary, or genderqueer.

     

    I’m interested in becoming a fellow, but I don’t hold any student loans. Can I still apply?
    Yes! Fellows can receive the full benefits of mentorship and programmatic support, without applying for or receiving the Student Loan Alleviation Grants.

    I graduated over a year ago from NYU. Can I still apply for the fellowship and the student loan alleviation grant?
    No. Only students who graduated from NYU less than a year prior to their application, and who started their ventures while at NYU, are eligible to apply for the fellowship or for the student Loan Alleviation Grants.

    I don’t have student loans for my NYU education, however I do have student loans from prior education. Am I eligible to apply for the loan alleviation grant?
    Yes! If you have student loan debt (regardless of which educational institution you attended when you incurred the debt) and meet the other criteria for the program you’re eligible to apply for the grant.

    I’m a student from an international NYU campus. Am I eligible to apply for the fellowship?
    Yes!

     

    Are the Student Loan Alleviation Grants taxable?
    Grants may be taxable. Please consult with an accountant prior to filing your taxes to fully understand tax consequences.

    How and when will the Grants be dispersed?
    The Student Loan Alleviation Grants will be paid directly to the founder (not to the founder’s venture). If funding is awarded, it will be given post-graduation in the form of a grant, with proof of graduation required to receive the funds. Further details for the grant disbursement are still being finalized but will be updated prior to disbursement.

    How many student loan alleviation grants will be awarded each year?
    We anticipate awarding between 15-25 student loan alleviation grants to fellows each year.