In light of the rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem of businesses empowering women and girls worldwide, Dell engaged Verb to create the Empowering Women Challenge.
Spotlighting women’s empowerment
We designed the Dell Empowering Women Challenge as modular competition to source innovations empowering, educating, and creating business opportunities for women and girls worldwide.
Over 600 student ventures from 55 different countries across the world entered the Dell Empowering Women Challenge, and $35,000 in seed funding was awarded to the top ventures empowering women. 60 semi-finalist teams were carefully matched with a Dell employee or a member of the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, an international network of female business customers.
Exposure to influencers and brands
With a $15,000 grand prize at stake, three finalist student ventures visited New York City and pitched to a judge panel of public figures including Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild of E.L. Rothschild; Elizabeth Gore of the UN Foundation; Bobbi Dangerfield of Dell; Tom Meredith of Verb; Carol Kurzig of Avon Foundation; Patti Olhendorf from the University of Texas at Austin and Zak Malamed. The award ceremony was co-sponsored by Dell, Verb, TOMS, Lindsay Goldberg, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and NYU Stern.
“We have yet to truly unlock the power of entrepreneurship for the benefit of women and girls worldwide,” says UN Foundation Resident Entrepreneur and Elizabeth Gore. “We know women put 90% of their income back into their communities, so we need to help them succeed in their triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. Judging the pitches of the finalist teams of the Dell Empowering Women Challenge, I was struck by the courage and seriousness of these teams. They are taking on audacious challenges and already achieving significant impact.”
Investing in women’s hygiene in India
The grand prize of $15,000 was awarded to Pasand from Princeton University for their venture improving access to affordable sanitary protection and feminine health education by partnering with schools to provide an interactive curriculum. The topics of study range from menstrual hygiene to rape and sexual assault.
“The Empowering Women Challenge instantly catalyzed Pasand’s timeline for impact,” says Ashley Eberhart, Director of Marketing and Co-Founder, Pasand.
Time and time again, women and girls in the developing world are identified as the most important group to educate and empower – and the Empowering Women Challenge was our contribution to addressing this in partnership with Dell.