IncubateHER is a free, competitive year-long business incubation program for early-stage women entrepreneurs with product or service-based businesses. IncubateHER participants will receive $1,500 at the successful completion of the program to grow their businesses, industry-specific mentors, entrepreneurial education and training through Chatham's Women's Business Center, a tailored growth curriculum, peer-to-peer mentoring through cohort meetups, and a year-long membership to the Center for immersive networking opportunities.
+Eligibility Criteria and Timeline
- A woman entrepreneur who owns a majority stake in a qualifying business and manages it on a day-to-day basis
- 21 years or older as of application due date
- Proficient in English
- A legal resident of the United States, located in Western PA and both committed and able to attend in-person events and programs.
- For-profit, from any industry
- High-growth potential
- Early stage (two to five years of operations)
- Established prototype or products (preferred)
- Generating revenues (preferred)
- Formed under United States law and operating in the United States
- Nonprofit organizations
- Idea stage businesses
- Subsidiary businesses
- August 10, 2018 - Applications open
- November 30, 2018 - Applications close, finalists are announced, & interviews begin
- December 2018 - IncubateHER participants revealed
- January 2019 - IncubateHER program starts
- December 2019 - IncubateHER program ends
Q: What is the IncubateHER program?
IncubateHER is a free, competitive year-long business incubation program for early-stage women entrepreneurs with product-focused businesses. IncubateHER participants will receive industry-specific mentors; business education and training through Chatham's Women's Business Center, a tailored growth curriculum, peer-to-peer mentoring through cohort meetups, and a year-long membership to the Center for immersive networking opportunities. This innovative approach provides women entrepreneurs with fast-tracked mentoring and business development support to assist them in developing best practices for long-term strategic growth.
Q: Is the program free to attend if I'm selected?
Yes. We ask that you make a commitment of 5-10 hours per week to work on your business for twelve months.
Q: Is there an application fee?
Q: What if I don't have a business plan?
You must have a business plan to apply. If you do not have a business plan, please use a one or two-page business plan. Templates are available here.
Q: What if I have a business plan, but have not launched my business?
You must already be in operation to apply. We are focusing on early stage businesses - between two to five years in operation.
Q: What if I am a part-owner in a business?
You must own at least 51% of the business and be actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the the business.
Q: What if my partner is another woman entrepreneur and we own the business 50/50?
We will consider partnership businesses on a case-by-case basis if both partners commit to participating, but preference will be given to women entrepreneurs with 51% ownership.
Q: Can both my business partner, who is another woman entrepreneur, and I apply?
We will consider partnership businesses on a case-by-case basis if both partners commit to participating (the business will be eligible for only one $1,500 award), but preference will be given to women entrepreneurs with 51% ownership.
Q: If my company does not operate in the United States can I apply?
No, your company must be registered and operate in the United States.
Q: If my company is based in the U.S. but sells products abroad, can I apply?
Q: Can I send the Center samples of my product or prototype?
No, we will not accept products for consideration with the application. However, we encourage you to photograph your product or prototype and send it as part of the application.
Q: Can you give me feedback as to why I wasn't selected?
We are unable to discuss applications before, during or after the application period.
Q: Will I have an in-person interview?
We will announce 10 finalists after the application period has closed and will interview all finalists in-person.
Q: I'm having technical problems submitting the application.
For technical support, please contact our operations manager Patricia Decker at email@example.com or at 412-365-2779.
Q: Do you accept software as a product?
Yes, we accept entrepreneurs with e-commerce websites and apps into the program and view software as a product.
+Become a Mentor
The Center's IncubateHER program offers opportunities for experienced business owners and professionals to engage with and enhance the work of women entrepreneurs in our community. Please apply below! Note that while we greatly appreciate all offers to share time and expertise as mentors, due to the volume of mentor applications we receive, we may not be able to respond to each mentor applicant.