Babson College’s Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab launches in Miami with $800,000 from Knight Foundations

Accelerator for women entrepreneurs will help drive venture creation and innovation in Miami’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem

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(L-R) Global Director of the WIN Lab® Heatherjean MacNeil, Knight Foundation Miami Program Director Matt Haggman, Babson President Kerry Healey, and CWEL Executive Director Susan Duffy

A ground­breaking acceler­ator program for women entre­preneurs launched by Massa­chusetts-based Babson College, the world leader in entrepre­neurship education, will expand to Miami in 2016 with $800,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Babson’s Women Innovating Now Lab, known as the WIN Lab®, is a first-of-its-kind program designed to help women entrepreneurs launch successful businesses. The program offers training sessions and connects women entrepreneurs to a wide range of experts for guidance. It also provides access to strategic networks and co-working space enabling participants to build on their ideas and expand their ventures.

“Enormous potential exists to strengthen and grow Miami’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by supporting women entrepreneurs,” said Babson President Kerry Healey​. “Babson’s WIN Lab® will positively impact the economy and diversify innovation in this market by engaging talented women entrepreneurs and providing the coaching and resources they need to launch and scale their ventures.”

Building on Babson’s leadership in advancing women-led entrepreneurship, the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson launched the WIN Lab® in Boston in October 2013. In just two years, WIN Lab® has produced positive outcomes for more than 44 participants and has been recognized by several organizations. It has been designated as one of the top two “specialty” programs for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship; earned BostInno’s designation as one of Boston’s “50 on Fire” innovators and visionaries; and was honored by the prestigious Rosoff Awards for diversity.

​​​​“WIN Lab® helps to correct an imbalance that threatens America’s ability to compete in the global economy,” said Susan Duffy, executive director at the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson. “Women represent half of the world’s population, create innovative companies in a broad range of sectors, and often see different opportunities than their male counterparts. By unintentionally leaving women out of the entrepreneurship equation, the economy is fighting with one hand behind its back.”

“Miami is one of the country’s top cities for new entrepreneurial activity, but to reach its full potential it must continue to engage and support innovators of all kinds,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “By supporting the success of women entrepreneurs through Babson’s WIN Lab® , we will help create a diverse, inclusive climate for ideas, which is vital to establishing a thriving innovation ecosystem.”

Healey and Haggman announced the launch of WIN Lab® in Miami on January 7 at a Babson College event held at MBAF in downtown Miami. At the event, Babson alumni, friends, and partners gathered to discuss the impact of fueling more women-led entrepreneurship throughout Greater Miami.
 
View photos from the event ​​​»

Babson anticipates recruiting 20 WIN Lab® Miami participants for the first cohort beginning this summer. The WIN Lab® is expected to officially launch in fall 2016. In the coming weeks, Babson will hire a director to head the program in Miami, secure a location for the WIN Lab® , and establish a regional advisory board comprised of local investors, women entrepreneurs, experts, and coaches, who will serve as a mentor network for WIN Lab® participants.

Babson’s WIN Lab® in Miami is part of the college’s growing presence in the region, which includes a vibrant network of 1,300 Miami-based alumni, an advisory role at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College and its connection to Miami-Dade College as the academic architect of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

Support for Babson’s WIN Lab® Miami is a part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. During the past three years, Knight has made more than 100 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.

For more information about WIN Lab® , visit www.babson.edu/WINLab.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities, and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds® . The top​-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

By Michael Chmura, mchmura@babson.edu, 781-239-4549 | 1/7/2016 12:00 PM