ROCKVILLE, MD – The AIM-HI Accelerator Fund is organizing the first annual Women’s Venture Competition on May 20 in Boston. Applications are being accepted online until April 16 from oncology start-ups with females in senior leadership positions or women leading teams planning to set up such firms in the near future. The event, to be held at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School, is the first of its kind to focus solely on women entrepreneurs and oncology start-ups.
AIM-HI, having already funded ten oncology start-ups when few other sources would invest in high risk, pre-clinical stage companies, is conducting the Women’s Venture Competition in order to address another pressing need: resources—financial, coaching, and networking—for female entrepreneurs.
According to the Association for Women in Science, less than 15% of angel funding and only 2% of venture capital is directed to companies started or led by women. The Women’s Venture Competition is a demonstration of AIM-HI’s commitment to address this discrepancy.
Women’s Venture Competition applications will be screened and the finalists will deliver extensive private and confidential presentations in person to a judging committee comprised of world-class cancer scientists and life sciences industry professionals, investors and entrepreneurs. Each of the final competitors will receive valuable feedback from the judging committee members during Q&A sessions, and summaries of this input and any further suggestions will afterwards be communicated by AIM-HI back to the finalists.
The final contestants will be recognized at a reception and award dinner on the evening of May 20, where the top two winners will be named and receive cash awards of $3,000 and $2,000 respectively. Upon favorable due diligence by the AIM-HI Accelerator Fund, a $300,000 investment will be made into the company deemed to have the stronger potential for cancer patient impact. Future return on this investment will go directly toward laboratory cancer research projects.
The female-led businesses and teams in the Women’s Venture Competition will also be offered access to intensive accelerator boot-camp programming by one of the world’s most renowned women entrepreneur accelerator and business training service providers, Springboard Enterprises.
“We believe this female-led, team oriented approach, for early stage oncology companies will create lasting impact on the pipeline for women entrepreneurship in life sciences,” says AIM-HI President and CEO Sujuan Ba, Ph.D. “It’s a well-known fact that the industry suffers from a lack of gender diversity. The AIM-HI Accelerator Fund’s Women’s Venture Competition is a platform for changing this reality by encouraging and highlighting young, dynamic female-led companies in the oncology space, and providing them with multiple forms of support critical for the startups.”
Formed in 2019, the AIM-HI Accelerator Fund is a new paradigm through venture philanthropy to fund translational research and start-up oncology companies that commercialize innovative laboratory breakthroughs into new therapies and technologies which can potentially save cancer patients’ lives. It is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established with an initial grant from the National Foundation for Cancer Research, with the vision and capacity to accelerate the translation of cancer drug discoveries by investing in pre-seed and seed-stage companies.