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EmpowerHER, a partnership between Ford Motor Company Fund and Michigan Women’s Foundation, will offer a continuum of programs and services to women (and a few good men) wishing to start or grow Social Venture Enterprises. Social entrepreneurship responds to a social need – fixing a problem that seems intractable. 

A social venture enterprise:

  • Fundamentally exists to solve a real community problem
  • Requires a business model that will ultimately allow the business to be sustainable
  • Must focus on a product or service people will pay for
  • Must follow the “No Margin, No Mission,” that is, while some profits may be sacrificed to serve the mission, the business must ultimately be sustainable

EmpowerHER launched with a daylong educational summit on June 27th on the University of Detroit Mercy campus. The summit included a series of TED Talk-like presentations and key note addresses by successful social entrepreneurs, as well as four breakout sessions: 

1. How Good Are YOU:  Does Your Social Impact Idea Truly Change the World?

2. Know Your Numbers: The Only Real Guarantee of Success 

3. Defining Sustainability: Can you fund your idea and will it fund itself … and you?

4. Steps to Success: Repair your credit, hone your personal brand, be prepared for launch

Attendees and others wishing to compete for startup or growth funding will have from September 7th through September 30th to prepare and submit a two page concept paper, which includes a financial overview. This document will be reviewed by panels of accomplished professionals and successful entrepreneurs. The criteria for the concept paper will be released on September 7th. 

Eight to ten finalists will be selected and paired with coaches and mentors, who will help develop a full business plan and a pitch to compete for a pool of $50,000 to support their goals for a sustainable enterprise with community impact. Notification of finalists will occur in mid-November. Pitch competition is in February, 2018. 

Additional information will be provided as details are finalized.