Creating an ecosystem to support female entrepreneurs
Reams of data support the fact that women entrepreneurs are not as likely to get funded as their male counterparts. Madison’s Doyenne Group aims to flip this script and provide resources to female entrepreneurs and innovators to help set them up for success.
The Doyenne Group operates on a three-pronged strategy designed to provide education, networking and mentorship as well as some seed funding to qualified early-stage female-owned businesses. The three prongs of the strategy are:
- Develop the entrepreneur
- Transition the narrative
- Fund the ventures
“Because of this coaching and training, we’ve had an impact on investors and providing statistics for women-owned firms, and we’re seeing more women at the table."
By providing wholistic support to the entrepreneurs they work with, the Doyenne Group aims to see more female-founded businesses grow and thrive.
“For me, it’s about making steps in the right direction. The feedback we’re getting, or the success stories that come out of women that are part of Doyenne, those all help measure the impact that we are able to move forward,” said Heather Wentler, co-founder of Doyenne. “Because of this coaching and training, we’ve had an impact on investors and providing statistics for women-owned firms, and we’re seeing more women at the table. I can’t change it all, Doyenne can’t change it all, but I focus on how I can take steps to feel like we are making change happen.”
Thanks to support from WEDC’s Entrepreneurship Partner Grant, the Doyenne Group has expanded their Triple Threat Venture Training program from a cohort-based 12-week accelerator program to a 20-week program with continuing support and education. Program participants pay a $500 deposit that is returned, along with a $2,500 unrestricted grant upon successful completion of the program.
Through the Triple Threat program, entrepreneurs have access to a self-paced curriculum focused on both business and personal growth. But the magic and value that Doyenne Group adds is through one-on-one support and mentorship with a Doyenne coach. Entrepreneurs meet with their coach a minimum of four one-hour sessions plus a 2.5 hour deep-dive workshop during the program to support their strategic plan development and building confidence as they scale their ventures.
Coach and mentee work together with the guidance of a Triple Threat program workbook developed by Doyenne Group. The workbook helps entrepreneurs with professional growth, goal setting and other tips and resources to help guide their entrepreneurial journey.
The cohort of entrepreneurs will also participate in a day-long retreat workshop designed to allow entrepreneurs to connect coaches, Doyenne team members and Doyenne mentors to establish strategies. The “graduation” for each cycle is a Showcase Event that allows the entrepreneurs to test their pitch and get valuable feedback from a small group of attendees from across the community.
Beyond the resources provided by Doyenne and program mentors, the organization has contracted with outside providers for resources that the program participants and graduates can take advantage of at no cost. These include facilitated visioning sessions, a social emotional intelligence assessment to determine their leadership styles, and financial resilience learning sessions that extends for three months after the program ends.
By focusing on the entrepreneur as a whole and providing resources to help develop a range of financial and business skills, as well as personal development resources, Doyenne is setting a new generation of entrepreneurs up for success and taking steps toward financing and support for female entrepreneurs everywhere.
TO SUM UP
- Received $120,000 from WEDC’s Entrepreneur Support Grant
- Expected to support 25 female entrepreneurs in 19 months through their Triple Threat Venture training
- Supporting traditionally under supported female businesses