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Most accelerators require entrepreneurs to spend three to six months in residence, which can be difficult for women entrepreneurs, particularly if they have families. So, in 2015, serial entrepreneur and former investment banker Carolyn Rodz founded Circular Board, a virtual 90-day accelerator for women entrepreneurs.
Circular Board’s first class was held this winter with 170 women and is now gearing up for a new class that will begin this September with 500 women. The 12-week program ends with a virtual demo day where members upload video pitches to receive feedback from mentors, investors, media, and other influencers on how to improve their pitch, and to find out if investors or advisors are interested in partnering with them. Circular Board also has partnered with the UN Foundation to create Pitch with a Purpose, a pitch competition for women entrepreneurs whose businesses support one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Currently, nearly half (42%) of the women in the accelerator are ethnically diverse and represent six continents. Rodz estimates that about 18% of applicants are accepted into Circular Board compared with 5% at many traditional accelerators.
All of these attributes—a large class size, a higher acceptance rate, diverse members, a global perspective, and virtual meeting space—make Circular Board unique.
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