1871 announced Thursday the expansion of WiSTEM, its women-focused entrepreneurship program that tackles major barriers faced by women in the entrepreneurship community. The expansion -- made possible by grant funding from JPMorgan Chase among other sponsors -- will allow for three cohort-based programs in 2017 that focus on capital, community and technology -- adding an extra cohort for the year.
The program directly addresses the environment facing female entrepreneurs. Two such cohort programs occurred in 2016 and one in 2015. The expansion will allow the program to reach about a dozen more companies and more than 20 additional entrepreneurs.
“The expansion of our already strong WiSTEM program will allow us to continue to support women entrepreneurs and accelerate their success,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “The success already seen by this program in creating new jobs and allowing these companies the chance to raise capital will only be magnified by this expansion.”
JPMorgan Chase has long been a supporter of 1871, and has specifically been an advocate for its WiSTEM efforts. The grant will help scale the program in 2017, with timing and details to be announced at a later date.
Since its inception in September 2015, the WiSTEM program has helped more than 37 WiSTEM companies and 45 entrepreneurs. Collective WiSTEM companies have boosted Chicago economically:
- Creating 169 new full and part time jobs,
- Raising more than $7 million in funding, and
- Generating more than $835,000 in gross revenues.
The companies that have participated in the program have also moved on to other accelerator programs such as TechStars and YCombinator, hired CTOs through 1871’s recruiting program and had access to dozens of roundtables featuring notable female entrepreneurs. In all, the program has built a community of more than 2,900 women in tech and entrepreneurship.
“As women continue to broaden their reach and leadership within the tech community, 1871 has been a pioneer in creating new opportunities and programs like WiSTEM,” said Jessica Williams, WiSTEM co-facilitator. “The expansion of the program is a win for both women entrepreneurs and the greater Chicago tech community.”
1871’s WiSTEM program is co-facilitated by Jessica Williams and Nicole Yeary. Nicole Yeary is founder and CEO of Ms. Tech, 1871’s key partner in developing, measuring and refining the WiSTEM program and curriculum since its inception. 1871 is home to Ms. Tech’s operations and Ms. Tech events, such as Masterminds luncheons, are routinely held in the 1871 space.
The third cohort of WiSTEM is currently in progress. More information about the most recent cohort companies can be found here.
“The opportunity to be in a group of women helping each other’s businesses grow and evolve has been an inspiring and incredible journey, and I'm thrilled that many more women will benefit from the same resources and possibilities," said Moira Hardek, Founder and CEO of Galvanize Labs.
WiSTEM was launched as part of Google for Entrepreneurs’ #40Forward initiative, and recently 1871’s WiSTEM program was awarded funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration as part of the third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. It is also supported by Motorola Mobility Foundation, Katrina Markoff, the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, Coca-Cola and Microsoft.