JP Morgan Chase has awarded Tampa Bay Wave and Embarc Collective a $500,000 grant to launch a new program exclusively for women tech entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay.
Linda Olson, president and CEO of Tampa Bay Wave, and Lakshmi Shenoy, CEO of Embarc Collective, announced the initiative at the Synapse Summit, a two-day celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship in downtown Tampa.
Wave will operate a 90-day accelerator program exclusively for women, while Embarc will run the “Glaring Gap” Summit, Olson said.
Both organizations will offer their mentors and other staff members to give companies one-on-one coaching and other resources.
Women entrepreneurs are key to accelerating growth, but face unique barriers to entrepreneurship, including financing and mentors, according to the Kauffman Foundation.
And, while both Wave and Embarc are run by women, women are just one group of under-represented entrepreneurs, Olson said.
“This allows us to do a deep dive on one demographic and see if we can’t explore the reasons why there’s additional challenges or lack of resources for this particular group of entrepreneurs. If we can figure out how to break some of those barriers and bring more resources to play for them maybe that can also help us solve challenges that other groups of entrepreneurs face,” she said.
“At the end of the day this is all about growing Tampa Bay’s ecosystem. I think some of the biggest opportunities for growth are from those areas where we have underwhelming representation.”
Wave expects to begin taking applications for its accelerator this spring. The program is likely to begin in late summer or early fall, and culminate in a Demo Day during Global Entrepreneurship Week, Olson said.