A few weeks ago, I was in New York to attend my first Girlboss Rally, an empowering 2-day conference for women who aspire to take their careers, side hustles, and small businesses to the next level. The weekend was jam-packed with a impressive lineup of honest conversations and impactful panel discussions with some of the biggest powerhouses, female founders, executives, and groundbreakers across multiple industries. Some of the most significant takeaways for me were discussions about finances (specifically topics about saving, spending, and investing - we don't talk about financial wellness enough!), activism, marketing and branding.
One of the most inspiring and exciting moments of the weekend, however, was seeing Uber's Pitch Program come to life at the Girlboss Rally. Several weeks ahead of the conference, Uber announced a new program where female entrepreneurs could submit their big idea for a chance to win more than $200,000 in prize money, mentorship and resources to take their start-ups to the next level. The program was created in reaction to a staggering statistic: last year female founders received only 2-3% of venture capitalist dollars. WTF, right? It was time to rethink the ratio. So after thousands of badass girlbosses sent in their applications to Uber, 5 finalists were chosen to pitch their business models in front of an advisory committee that included Away founder Jen Rubio, Dry Bar founder Ali Webb and venture capitalist Ita Ekpoudom. The next day, the top three winners were announced . . .
The Uber Pitch Winners
Grand Prize: Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, Founder & CEO of Curio Learning. As a longtime English teacher and high school instructional coach, Ashley felt frustrated at the fact that teachers just don't receive enough quality professional development that can help them grow as educators. So she decided to break that barrier by creating an online space and app, where K-12 educators and administrators could develop lesson plans and development strategies and share them with each other, no matter where you are in the world.
Second Prize: Bilyana Freye, Co-Founder & CEO, Hoppin. Bilyana will never forget a culminating moment in her career. After accepting her first job working in risk management, she quickly realized she took on a position that just wasn't for her. So she mustered up the courage to ask to shadow someone in a completely different department and after sitting in on client pitch in a wealth management meeting, she knew this is where she belonged. The private banking department hired her. Fast forward 10 years and Bilyana has launched Hoppin, a platform that allows you to browse, list and book job shadowing opportunities, irrespective of your background. Her goal is to help inspire people to find a career they love.
Runner Up: Jamela Acheampong, Founder, Kahmune. As a dark skinned woman, Jamela was frustrated that she could not find a nude shoe that matched her skin tone. In fact, she created her first nude pair by buying a pair of white shoes and painting them to match the color of her skin. This was the inspiration behind Kahmune, a luxury footwear label that provides 10 skin tone hues so all women could find their true nude.