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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. 


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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