A movement is growing across the United States as we recognize that economic growth and job creation are driven by entrepreneurship. A study by The Kauffman Foundation found that the majority of net new jobs are generated by companies under five years old. It further shows that young companies – startups – are responsible for all net new wealth.
And entrepreneurs impact more than the economy. The also birth the new and transform communities. Memphis has a proud heritage of companies like AutoZone, FedEx, Holiday Inn and Stax – companies that became global icons because they fundamentally changed the way we live.
Yet despite the current momentum around entrepreneurship there remains an elephant in the room. Although women comprise over 50% of the U.S. population and now the majority of students working toward bachelor’s and graduate degrees, they represent only 35% of those launching their own ventures. And according to research by AMEX Open, only 1.8% of women-led firms qualify as “high growth” and earn over $1 million in revenue.
This is why LaunchYourCity is embarking upon our latest initiative: Upstart Memphis. As part of our efforts to develop a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem, Upstart focuses on recognizing and fueling women’s innovation and entrepreneurship.
We’re looking for bold ideas, and founders who are ready to go big or go home. The top four teams selected for the inaugural cohort will receive the 4 Ms: mentors, milestones, money and Memphis.
More specifically we provide:
- Highly engaged mentors from across the country including rock star women primed and ready to assist.
- Professional service providers, coaches, and others ready to assist you through to launch.
- 3 months of intense support to build your startup, from customer discovery to prototyping to go-to-market strategy to launch; the formal program concludes with Investor Day pitches.
- $15,000 in seed investment and our technical assistance in exchange for 6% of the common shares of your business.
- A city with heart and hustle, where cost of living is low and opportunities abound; not only is Memphis’ startup scene growing rapidly, but through the broader Upstart platform we’re developing a flourishing community of women entrepreneurs and innovators.
- Other perks including hosting from Rackspace and Microsoft BizSpark.
Who should apply? We’re looking for:
- We’re looking for teams led by women, but may have men as co-founders
- Founders who are passionate, flexible, and execution oriented.
- Founders must be passionate about solving a problem or filling a gap, but adaptable when it comes to their solution.
- High growth potential startups that take advantage of a unique innovation; typically these are web-based or other software companies, but we’ll fund companies that don’t quite fit that mold as well.
- Startups that can have national or global reach.
Specifically, we don’t fund non-profits, companies that require laboratories and FDA approval, restaurants, consultancies, or small service oriented companies.
Otherwise we recognize that audacious ideas can come from anyone. Like you!
Women-led private technology companies generate 35% higher returns on investment, and when backed by venture capital earn 12% higher revenues than those led by men. Yet women launch only 3% of high growth tech startups.* While women account for over half of those pursuing bachelor’s degrees overall, they represent only 20% of computer science degrees.
Through the Upstart accelerator we want to change the game. We’ll recruit more women ready to take risks, solve big problems, and become startup founders. We’ll then provide them the resources that increase their chances of success.
Entrepreneurs change the world while creating jobs and wealth. So go ahead – take a chance on yourself, on your idea, and on Memphis. Apply today for our inaugural cohort.