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Female Founder Fellowship

The Female Founder Fellowship is awarded to the most extraordinary female applicant for each semester, giving them the opportunity to participate in the Founder Institute for free. The recipient will be recognized as a female with the utmost potential to become a successful technology entrepreneur.

The Founder Institute is committed to narrowing the gender gap in high tech startups. When we announced the Female Founder Fellowship program in 2011, only 16% of Founder Institute companies were founded by females. Since then, the results of this program have been astounding, as our overall number of female-founded companies has more than doubled, to a total of approximately 33%. This is more than twice as high as most other startup programs. Learn more about the Female Founder Fellowship program here

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for the Female Founder Fellowship for the upcoming semester, you must complete your application, be accepted to the program, and submit your payment by the Early Deadline listed on the top of this page. Any female who follows these guidelines will be automatically eligible - no further steps are required. 

Grant: The Female Founder Fellowship is awarded to the most extraordinary female applicant for each semester. The recipient will be awarded and notified within 5 days after the Early Admissions Deadline, and they will receive a full refund on their Course Fee within 1 week of the program start date. All applicants will be notified via email when the Fellowships are awarded.

Click here to apply for the Female Founder Fellowship

Grad Profile: @DigitalGroundUp demystifies digital marketing for non-marketers

Posted by Emma Tzeng on 2013-10-23

Grad Profiles highlight the personal and professional stories of Founder Institute Graduates from across the globe.

This profile on DigitalGroundUp, a graduate of the Chicago Founder Institute, was written by Emma Tzeng. Founded in 2012 by Reva Minkoff, DigitalGroundUp bridges the disconnect between the small business world and digital marketing.



The rapidly evolving digital marketing landscape can be difficult to scale, particularly without direct, firsthand work experience. Buzzwords like “programmatic marketing,” “omnichannel,” and “big data” can sound like a foreign language altogether to non-marketer types, and trends come and go so quickly that trying to keep up can feel like running a never-ending marathon. 

DigitalGroundUp strives to make marketing a little more accessible to non-marketers by providing an interactive platform to teach the subject through interactive software. 

Founded in 2012 by Reva Minkoff, DigitalGroundUp was birthed out of a desire to bridge the disconnect between the small business world and digital marketing. 

“Small businesses need to have an online presence to compete in today’s economy,” Minkoff writes in a blog post. “But they have no idea how to do this, and no one is really trying to teach them.”

Minkoff elaborates further, arguing that digital marketing agencies, consultants, and specialists place a premium on their services that SMBs simply can’t afford. With the odds stacked against them, many SMBs fall behind on their digital marketing strategies because they simply don’t have the manpower or financial resources to invest in online user acquisition and retention.

DigitalGroundUp’s platform differs from the traditional classroom-and-textbook approach to learning. Instead of asking students to passively watch a video or read a manual, DigitalGroundUp adopts an interactive approach to learning, requiring students to demonstrate a thorough understanding of a concept before proceeding to the next lesson. 

Furthermore, the lessons can be completed across any timeline in any location--all the user needs are a laptop and Internet connection.

To start learning on the DigitalGroundUp platform, students simply pay a one-time fee. Courses never expire, so users have the flexibility to learn at their own pace. 

This sort of business model caters well to SMB owners and employees who want to pick up a new discipline while still working a day job. DigitalGroundUp lets students learn anywhere on their own timelines, while actively ensuring that the material is being digested and understood. 

As DigitalGroundUp grows in adoption, we hope to see more and more SMBs becoming increasingly educated and aware of the digital marketing landscape and best practices. Then, perhaps those tricky marketing buzzwords won’t seem so intimidating or foreign after all.



Learn more about DigitalGroundUp: 


If you could benefit from expert training and feedback to launch a startup in Chicago, click here to apply today. The final application deadline for the Autumn 2013 Semester is Sunday, October 27.

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