Communities / Entrepreneurs / Pitches

The HERImpact pitch competition is looking for women social entrepreneurs

Applications close on Friday, Jan. 11, for the joint program put on by Ford Motor Company Fund and 1863 Ventures.

HERImpact Program Partner Melissa Bradley and HERImpact Panelist Fonta Gilliam. (Courtesy photo by Jeremy Mines.)

D.C.–area women social entrepreneurs, here’s a chance to pitch.

Ford Motor Company Fund (Ford Fund) and 1863 Ventures are looking for women social entrepreneurs to apply for its joint initiative for a chance to win $50,000 in prizes at the concluding pitch competition taking place on March 16. The two teamed up after a report from BEACON, a D.C.–based women founders initiative, showed that the District is one of the 10 fastest growing states for women-owned businesses in the U.S.

On Friday, Jan. 11, the companies will close applications for HERImpact DC, the program designed to help female social entrepreneurs scale their enterprises in order to increase their impact and long term sustainability.

Cofounded by Melissa Bradley who is an angel investor and Georgetown professor, 1863 Ventures (formerly Project 500) was created to support the growth and scale of New Majority entrepreneurs while offering mentorship to entrepreneurs in underserved areas, DC previously reported. The Ford Fund works with organizations to find innovative solutions to community concerns using a coordinated, strategic approach.

More than 221 applications have already been submitted, PR Rep Xina Eiland told, but the companies want to see more women social entrepreneurs apply to participate.

On Nov. 5, 2018, 1863 Ventures and Ford Fund held a free entrepreneurship summit at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business to gain traction for the HERImpact DC program and the event drew more than 120 women and was well-received by the attendees, Eiland said. Since then, HERImpact DC has hosted workshops, webinars and office hours to assist with completing the application and preparing for a pitch. After women are selected by an expert panel of judges to participate, they will go through intensive coaching, mentoring and training while they prepare for the competition.


Applicants will be notified on Feb. 8.


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