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An executive at a $3 trillion money manager shares her advice for female entrepreneurs

An executive at a $3 trillion money manager shares her advice for female entrepreneurs

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  • UBS' Lori Feinsilver co-created Project Entrepreneur to help women start high-growth, high-impact companies. 
  • She told Business Insider women need to have more confidence in the companies they start and stand for something meaningful. 


When you think of the largest companies in the world — Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. — they were all founded by men. 

Lori Feinsilver, UBS' Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility in the Americas, wants to change that. 

Feinsilver launched Project Entrepreneur, a venture competition program, with Rent the Runway founders Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss in 2015 to provide women entrepreneurs the tools and resources to create high-growth, high impact companies. UBS, the $3 trillion money manager, sponsors the program. 

The program culminates with its annual Project Entrepreneur Intensive in New York City. The venture competition draws interest from thousands of hopeful female entrepreneurs from over a hundred cities. 200 of those entrepreneurs take part in a pitch competition in April.  

Business Insider met up with Feinsilver during a Project Entrepreneur event at the New York Stock Exchange to talk about women entrepreneurship. She told us the women who stand out the most from the program have an unbridled confidence in themselves and what they are doing. Female entrepreneurs, she says, need to have that level of confidence to succeed. 

"Three years since starting this program and meeting literally 1,500 entrepreneurs, I would love for more women to have the confidence to go after what they want to do," she said.

She said that confidence will help aspiring entrepreneurs get over the numerous speed-bumps and uncertain moments that come along with owning and operating a business.

"People think they need to see the exact path to take the leap," she said. "But they don't need to."

You have to stand for something as well, Feinsilver says:

"The cofounders at Rent the Runway realized early on that they had to stand for something. It can't just be about 'we are selling something at a cheap price.' There has to be a mission tied to it. I think that is true of all companies."

Winners of Project Entrepreneur's pitch competition receive a $10,000 grant and take part in a five-week program based in Rent the Runway's offices with access to mentors, including executives from UBS.

Finalists from the 2016 program have raised $9 million in seed and pre-seed funding.  

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