Babson Breakaway Challenge Demo Day at District Hall free and open to the public on September 23; Finale at Hynes Convention Center on September 30

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The Babson Breakaway Challenge, launched by Babson College’s Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) and Breakaway, invite all to be a part of the first and only competition promoting gender parity in the venture capital industry.

Over the past year, over 400 women-led entrepreneur teams have applied to compete for a $250,000 investment, plus an impressive array of in-kind prizing this September.

Find out which high-potential women-led teams were selected »

All 20 semifinalist teams will convene at Boston’s District Hall on Friday, September 23 to vie for a top spot at the upcoming finale. Demo Day, powered by The Kauffman Foundation, will kick off with a presentation on how to ‘Perfect Your Pitch’ by Vice Provost of Global Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College, Candida Brush, and Professor of Management at Bentley University, Linda Edelman.

Semifinalist pitches will then commence in front of a panel of judges, including President of Breakaway Ventures and Babson alumnus John Burns MBA'05, Co-Founder and Partner of _Underscore.VC C.A. Webb, Executive Director at New England Venture Capital Association Judy Rose, Co-Founder and Partner at NextView Ventures Rob Go, and Partner with Highland Consumer Partners Smaiyra Million.

The day will conclude by announcing the top teams that will go on to compete for the ultimate title at the Babson Breakaway Challenge Finale—a featured HUBweek event on Friday, September 30 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

Demo Day

Friday, September 23, 2016
District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA
7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Register to attend [Free] »

Babson Breakaway Challenge Finale at HUBweek

Friday, September 30, 2016
Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA
Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Register to attend [Free] »

Challenge finalists will pitch to a panel including HUBweek Chair Linda Pizzuti Henry; President of Breakaway Ventures John Burns; Former Chairman and CEO of Zipcar, Inc., Scott Griffith; Founder and Managing Director of Boston Seed Capital, LLC Nicole M. Stata; and Founder and CEO of Pantegrion Capital Alicia Syrett

GE Ventures CEO Sue Siegel will serve as keynote, and will be addressing the gender gap in U.S. business and limited access to venture capital for female entrepreneurs. 

The Babson Breakaway Challenge was created by Susan Duffy, executive director at Babson’s Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership, and John Bur​ns, President of Breakaway Ventures, in direct response to Babson’s Diana Project report, Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital (pdf)​ The research revealed that while women entrepreneurs are majority owners of nearly 36 percent of all U.S. businesses, they receive only 2.7 percent of all venture capital funding.


  • $250,000 investment in funding plus marketing services, including the creation of a customized brand identity platform from Breakaway;
  • In-kind prizing from Comcast including a three-month advertising campaign in the Boston DMA; production of one thirty-second commercial; and more;
  • $6,000 in email delivery and management services from SendGrid for the winner; $3,000 for each semi-finalist;
  • $1,000 in MOO print and design products for the winner, plus $250 for each runner-up;
  • Complimentary legal automation services for the winner from Shoobx;
  • Use of shared workspace at WeWork​ for finalists to prepare for the Finale on September 30; and 
  • Bombas merchandise.


  • Comcast
  • The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Gesmer Updegrove
  • Bombas
  • MOO
  • Babson College Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL)
  • Breakaway
  • The Diana Project
  • Babson Executive and Enterprise Education​

About HUBweek

HUBweek is a creative festival that celebrates innovation at the intersection of art, science, and technology. Founded by The Boston Globe, Harvard University, MIT, and Mass General Hospital, HUBweek is a first-of-its-kind civic collaboration that brings together the most creative and inventive minds making an impact in Boston and around the world.

At HUBweek, we believe that sharing accelerates innovation and creativity and that Boston is where the future is being built. We invite you to join over 70 organizations and 50,000 participants in 2016 for a look behind-the-scenes – visit our labs, our companies, our creative spaces. Meet those who are making an impact, from policy leaders and researchers to investors, founders and creatives. Explore, imagine, and exchange ideas that are shaping your tomorrow. Join us at HUBweek.

About Breakaway

Breakaway is a brand and venture capital firm that invents, reinvents, and reinvigorates brands. Our unique platform of strategy, creative, activation, venture investment, and talent placement builds brands, accelerates growth, and creates meaningful value for companies big and small. We invest our time, money, heart, soul, minds, lives, and futures into it day in and day out. We are believers in brand. We are investors in brand. We are brand capitalists.

About the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College

Founded in 2000, the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership  (CWEL) at Babson College fulfills and extends Babson’s mission by educating, inspiring, and empowering women entrepreneurial leaders to reach their full potential to create economic and social value for themselves, their organizations, and society. The Center does this through innovative education programs, events, and by supporting and widely disseminating research about the unique skills and experiences of women entrepreneurial leaders. Additionally, CWEL supports and advances gender equality as a growth strategy for individuals and for organizations of all sizes, everywhere in the world.

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 & Action® ​​​​​​​​as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

By Brianna Radicioni,, (781) 239-4548 | 09/16/2016 03:00