Interested in applying to the WIN Growth Lab?
Below are some frequently asked questions about the venture accelerator and application process. We encourage you to read them through and use them as a guide to determine whether the WIN Growth Lab is the right fit for you as you grow your business.
What’s the difference between the WIN Lab and the WIN Growth Lab?
The WIN Lab was built in 2013 with the goal of increasing the number of students participating in other entrepreneurship accelerators and competitions at Babson College. Launching a partnership with the City of Boston soon thereafter, the WIN Lab started to become a program for all women-identifying founders, regardless of their affiliation with Babson College, to expand support for female founders. Iterating each year to make improvements to the program, 2020 marked a new opportunity to take the best of the WIN Lab accelerator and fine-tune it to reach an even more expansive audience.
Launching in 2020 and kicking off in the fall, the WIN Growth Lab is an accelerated program for women-identifying entrepreneurs who have already launched their businesses and are ready for growth. Consolidating the most applicable content, milestones, and mentor elements of the WIN Lab, the WIN Growth Lab is a fully virtual, 12-week, venture accelerator for growing companies. This new virtual offering allows us to reach founders outside of Boston and Miami, expanding our ability to empower women around the world with a new and improved offering.
What is the WIN Growth Lab?
Created by the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL), the WIN Growth Lab provides women-identifying entrepreneurs with an inspiring community and a rigorous, experiential process that catalyzes innovative thinking and enables them to successfully scale and transform their businesses.
The WIN Growth Lab is a 12-week virtual action tank designed for early-stage female founders who are building growth-potential businesses across all sectors. The core program uses Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought & Action methodology to push founders to test, iterate, and take action towards growth opportunities. The new WIN Growth Lab offers a dual focus on developing the entrepreneur and the enterprise through milestone-driven content, peer forums, one-on-one coaching, and public-platforming opportunities. WINners learn in the Growth Lab, take action in their companies, and then review and iterate on that action with faculty, peers, coaches, and mastermind experts to determine how to move forward.
How long is the accelerator?
The WIN Growth Lab kicks off in September and consists of 12-weeks of programming. The cohort meets twice a week, one day during the evening and another day during lunchtime for various content and working sessions.
When are the WIN Growth Lab Sessions Held?
This upcoming cohort will meet via Webex every Tuesday from 6-7:30 EST and Thursday from 12-1 pm EST for the duration of the 12 weeks. You will also meet without your coach outside of this time and will have the opportunity to participate in optional office hours offered throughout the program.
How many companies are in the accelerator?
The WIN Growth Lab will take up to thirty companies in fall 2020.
Do you take equity?
No! No equity will be taken.
Will I receive seed funding?
We don’t provide seed funding, but we do present the WIN Growth Lab entrepreneurs with opportunities to pitch their business in front of experts and participate in start-up demos. We also surround participants with members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem including investors so that when they’re ready to go after funding, those relationships have been started.
What does the program consist of?
The program kicks off with a virtual orientation, where you get to know your fellow entrepreneurs and begin to dig into the content. After that, we meet each week for content sessions to discuss, and learn about, business topics that range from Marketing, Pitching and Financial Projections.
During the program, you will be asked to hit milestones and present to Mastermind Experts who will give you feedback and advice on the best way to move forward. These milestones are how we keep you accountable and provide benchmarks on your progress. You have to complete each of these milestones to continue participating in the Growth Lab.
In addition to content and accountability, we pair each entrepreneur with a coach for the duration of the program who are meant to be a sounding board and give guidance. You will meet with your coach for one hour each month. We also surround you with ecosystem stakeholders who provide office hours and connections depending on what your needs are while in the program. More on that below.
Do you provide any kind of coaching or mentorship?
Yes! Each WINner gets matched with a coach for the duration of the program who is asked to spend at least one hour with you each month. They are there to act as less of a consultant and more of a guide as you build your business.
During our milestone presentations, we bring in our Mastermind Experts who have over 230 years of combined leadership and business experience to work with you on your strategy and execution plans to move your businesses forward. These individuals have spent years in the C-Suite and on boards of major global companies like Reebok, PaintNite, and Talbots.
We also surround WINners with various experts in a wide range of industries. From taxes and legal to operations and marketing, you will have the chance to meet additional stakeholders who want to share their expertise with the entrepreneurs looking for it.
Is there a fee to participate?
Yes, The WIN Growth Lab is valued at $5,000 per participant. We have secured sponsors to offset a large portion of that cost and are able to offer the program this fall at an introductory price listed below:
Early Bird: $875, for applications completed by July 19th at 11:59 pm EST
Standard Fee: $995 until August 9th at 11:59 pm EST
The WIN Growth Lab Program is offered free of charge for current Babson, Olin, and Wellesley Undergraduate and Graduate students, and Babson College alumnae. Current Babson Graduate students have the option to take this program for course credit as part of the WIN Intensity track. Participation is contingent upon acceptance into the program please contact Program Director, Kara Miller firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Olin and Wellesley Alumnae receive 20% off.
Babson, Olin, and Wellesley College Staff receive 20% off.
Do you have to be a Babson student or alumnae to apply?
You don’t! Everyone is welcome to apply.
How do I apply to the WIN Growth Lab?
Click here and head to the application section to learn more.
Do I have to have an existing business or can I have an idea that I want to launch while in the Growth Lab?
We look for early-stage companies that have already launched and are generating revenue. While we love entrepreneurs with a lot of passion and a great idea, the Growth Lab has been designed to help startups grow their businesses rather than formulate and launch them. Exceptions can be made for technology or SAAS companies that have begun building their platform or prototype and have a strong understanding of the market they’re serving and the problem that they’re solving. Later stage and still want to join? Let us know how you plan to leverage the Growth Lab experience.
Can male co-founders participate in the program?
No, male-identifying co-founders are not eligible to participate in the Growth Lab as we seek to curate a space for a community of female entrepreneurs to create and exchange ideas. As such, male-identifying co-founders do not need to participate in the application process.
My founding team is made up of both women and men. Can I still apply?
Yes, however, the company should be majority-owned by a self-identified woman or women. We are willing to evaluate exceptions on a case by case basis where, for example, the woman founder does not own a majority stake, but holds a C-suite position and drives the strategy and growth of the company.
If our company has multiple women co-founders, can we all participate in the Growth Lab?
For capacity reasons, the WIN Growth Lab only allows two co-founders from each company to participate.
If I have a co-founder, do we both need to fill out an application?
We don’t need each of you to fill out a separate application, but if both of you are hoping to be involved in the WIN Growth Lab, then we need answers from each of you on one application. When you are working on the F6S application (the third party platform that hosts our application), you will see notes indicating where we need responses from both of you. This is only applicable to women-identified co-founders. As mentioned above, male co-founders do not need to complete the application as they are not eligible to participate in the WIN Growth Lab.
If I have a co-founder, can we trade off coming to the WIN Growth Lab sessions?
Because we’re so focused on building a cohesive and consistent community, anyone who applies and is accepted into the Growth Lab will need to show up for every session. If both co-founders cannot commit, we suggest that one of you apply and commit to participating.
Are there other requirements to participate?
Yes! We're so happy you asked. To participate in the Growth Lab, you have to be the majority stakeholder in the business and drive strategic decisions. We want to make sure that you can immediately apply what you have learned and developed as you move through the accelerator. We also require that you show up to every session because the community of entrepreneurs is one of the most important aspects of the program and we can't build the community without you in the room.