FoundersWire Highlights Babson WIN

Article by Shelagh Braley

BOSTON—The Babson College Women Innovating Now Lab (better known as the WIN Lab) has made its reputation incubating female founders and their businesses.

Now its leaders have taken a page from the growth strategies they teach and applied it to their own model.

“Our big vision is to be the No. 1 accelerator for women around the world,” says Heatherjean MacNeil, global director for the WIN Lab. “I think we’re very ambitious in terms of how we’re going to get there. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.”

In the course of a few months, MacNeil and her team of supporters, coaches and sponsors have executed some intricate plans, including christening Babson’s downtown campus at 100 High St., and expanding operations to its first remote campus in Miami.

Just last week, Boston’s 18 WIN-ners were whittled to a final three, with Own The Boardroom, Wanderful and LoveLeaf coming up in the money, pitching before a crowd of about 300 at The Atrium at the Davenport in Cambridge. Growth founder and CEO of ZappRX, Zoe Barry shared her message as keynote speaker, “Let’s get more XX in tech and more female founders funded.” Judges Smaiyra Million, David Chang, Sharon Kan and Patricia Forde made the final call for the cash. Million is one of the program’s entrepreneurs-in-residence. Chang, a local investor and growth advocate, was recently named the head of Babson’s summer venture program.

And a week before, Miami’s cohort celebrated its finals, with Zuke Music, Pierce Plan and Palmpress Coffee founders accepting prizes.

“Miami is the perfect ecosystem for us for a number of reasons. One, it’s emerging, so it’s raw, it’s early stage,” says MacNeil. “And there was a funder that recognized the need for a player to intervene early to create more of a gender-balanced entrepreneurial ecosystem. So it’s just been a great place for us to plant our roots and really become part of that movement of becoming.”

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