The Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab
As the Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab continues to gain local and national recognition, I wanted to take a moment to provide some information for those interested in learning more about WIN Lab, as well as share a few of our early and notable accomplishments.
About WIN Lab
Created by the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) at Babson College, the WIN Lab is an innovative residency program for women entrepreneurs who are ready to think big, be bold, and launch successful companies.
The WIN Lab is a different kind of venture accelerator that broadens the possibilities for women entrepreneurs whose skills, ideas, and commitment are too often unmet by the traditional entrepreneurial ecosystem.
WIN Lab is set up as an eight-month program of weekly, three-hour experiential sessions that drive founders toward monthly milestones. A wide range of experts share their valuable insights into the path to entrepreneurial success. Each company in the WIN Lab is paired with a compatibility-matched coach, and founders are held accountable to progress goals by the self-governing WIN peer community.
Additionally, a series of public events, often in collaboration with other ecosystem partners, offer access to strategic networks and opportunities to platform founders and their ventures. The Lab is located at District Hall, a co-working space in Boston’s Innovation District, so that the entrepreneurs—a.k.a. the “WINners”—can work on their ventures between formal sessions.
WIN Lab Works
This past year, WIN Lab was recognized by several organizations including BostInno as one of the City’s “50 on Fire” innovators and visionaries; the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship with a nomination for a USASBE Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Award; and by the prestigious Rosoff Awards for diversity.
Additionally, WIN Lab graduated its second class of powerful start-up entrepreneurs this past April and is moving the needle as evidenced in these compelling outcomes:
WINner Emily Lagasse, founder of Fedwell Pet Foods, went on to win the 2013 Female Entrepreneurship Challenge and a $10,000 cash prize, and is featured in the upcoming season of the PBS series Start Up.
Future of WIN
Like the businesses in the WIN Lab, WIN Lab is itself a working prototype. It offers us myriad learnings about how to more deliberately engage and support high potential women in an innovation economy. By design, it will evolve over time, while serving as a benchmark of “gender enlightened good practice” for other organizations within the ecosystem.
We’re looking forward to an exciting year #3 in the WIN Lab.