Anyone could benefit from a helping hand in 2020, and it’s no secret that the business world is facing some challenging times. And with uphill battles facing women in particular – everything from compounding gendered household roles and expectations to inherent bias in the board room – it’s refreshing and revitalizing to see programs exist that leverage their own power to the benefit of others.
Enter the latest collaboration from fashion and lifestyle bible ELLE and BossBabe, a 2.3 million and growing platform for female entrepreneurs and career-minded individuals, to promote women’s empowerment and career development that dovetails with ELLE’s 75th anniversary.
Together, the two powerhouses have joined forces for Pitch the Biz, a contest that called businesswomen to practice their pitching skills, receive feedback from professionals and network with fellow entrepreneurs.
“The question was, ‘How do we celebrate ELLE’s 75th anniversary milestone while actually empowering women?,’” says Eva Platini, director, licensing, Americas, ELLE and ELLE Décor, Lagardère Active Enterprises Americas. “We did not want to do another product, rather we wanted to bring real value to our customer and women in general. So, we then asked ourselves, ‘What do women want?’ They want to be educated and fulfill their dreams of being their own boss. And this is how we came on this partnership with BossBabe – it was very logical and organic.”
Echoes Danielle Canty, co-creator and chief operating officer, BossBabe: “We’re not here to be empty. We are here to empower women and to give them education, knowledge and community. Partnering with ELLE was a dream come true for us as it has allowed us to extend our reach and include more women in our mission.”
“We strongly believe that women are those that are shaping the future,” continues Platini. “It’s more than a trend, female entrepreneurship is a real movement. Feminism is not about women working against men – it’s really about lifting women up, making them the boss of their own lives and fulfilling their dreams.”
From the more than 4,000 entrants, 10 finalists were selected and invited to pitch their business initiatives to mega-watt professional powerhouses including fashion apparel and accessory maven Rebecca Minkoff; award-wining brand marketing professional and founder Babba C. Rivera; Janice Bryant Howroyd, founder and chief executive officer of The ActOne Group; Beatrice Dixon, founder of The Honey Pot Company; and Natalie Ellis, co-founder and chief executive officer, BossBabe.
“We always say at BossBabe that we believe in collaboration over competition,” says Canty. “And I think when you collaborate with like-minded businesses, like-minded companies and like-minded people, that's when the real magic happens.”
• Becca Berelsonn, founder and CEO of Kaali, which provides free feminine hygiene products via their network of innovative and intuitive period product dispensers;
• Latosha Ward, creator of a software solution that will assist in the eradication of domestic violence financial and litigation abuse;
• Mandi Vance of Kakadu Dream, a facial mist serving as a modern digital detox for skin;
• Jessica Bonilla, founder of The Breasties, a 501(c)3 organization that hosts free wellness retreats and events for those effected by breast and reproductive cancers;
• Partners Angel Lenise, Montré Moore and Phyllicia Phillips, who created AMP Beauty LA, a tech-forward online retailer providing a one-stop-shop solution for women of color to buy and discover beauty products;
• Chandra Adusei, senior managing partner of The Fempreneur Consultant, which partners with “mompreneurs” and shows up to their community;
• Nana Meriwether, who is the founder of Cale, a wellness company focusing on alcohol alternatives;
• Alyssa Petersel, founder and chief executive officer of MyWellbeing, which matches people to the right therapist;
• Partners Bambii Nzinga and Serife Niyazi, who created a lingerie line, Lady Floraison, specifically geared toward pregnant women; and
• Jance Manivasagan, who started an affordable online tutoring business.
But what do the winners receive? A lot, it turns out.
The crowning glory is a $15,000 grand prize intended to fund the winner’s business initiative. Other awards include 40 hours of business courses via ELLE Education, an online business program from BossBabe and a home office makeover outfitted in the ELLE x BossBabe ultimate work-from-home collection that includes furniture, accessories and planners.
The collaboration between ELLE and BossBabe is not limited to the contest, either. On Nov. 1, a limited-edition capsule collection of apparel endorsed by BossBabe will launch at Kohl’s. The ultimate work-from-home kit products are also available individually at BossBabe.com/Elle, Office Depot and other retailers.
“The Kohl’s capsule collection is perfect for social feeds today, and the female entrepreneur,” says Platini. “It is at the same time elegant and super comfortable. You can wear it to a meeting, but it is also super easy to wear working from home, with pieces that are easy to mix-and-match.”
The winner will be announced today via ELLE and BossBabe’s social channels at 10 a.m. EST. Check out the results here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWInhpX9OPfTl1zM8JMDMNA/featured