Atima and I had the awesome opportunity to participate in Rent the Runway Foundation's Project Entrepreneur Summit in New York City last week! As many of you know, Project Entrepreneur is near and dear to our hearts. We first got involved with the organization when we were named a top 10 finalist for their entrepreneurship intensive this past Spring.
Now in its second year of operation, Project Entrepreneur has grown into a massive powerhouse of support for women entrepreneurs. Just like Rent the Runway democratized fashion by allowing women to rent designer dresses, their foundation is democratizing access to crucial startup information and financing networks, all in an effort to close the entrepreneurship gap between genders.
One of the most notable things about the Summit was the diversity in the room. Women of all ages and ethnicities were in attendance, which Atima and I took to be an indicator of how crucial the Rent the Runway Foundation is toward increasing access to entrepreneurship resources beyond the standard definition of what a startup founder looks like.
The Summit this past week was focused on funding for all stages of business: ideation stage, seed stage, and growth stage, and had an awesome afternoon schedule of keynotes and presentations.
The day kicked off with a Q&A with Jenny Fleiss, co-founder of Rent the Runway and Melissa Ben-Ishay, founder of Baked by Melissa. I absolutely loved their honesty as they discussed everything from the challenges of starting up, to proving their haters wrong who doubted them because of their gender. Melissa's story of foundering her company the day she was fired from her corporate job was especially inspiring. Atima and I left the session even more energized than usual to tackle our startup #hustle.