Women Who Empower
Launched in 2021, the Women Who Empower Innovator Awards recognize bold, creative changemakers in Northeastern’s vast entrepreneurial ecosystem—and provide them with resources and recognition to elevate their ideas, products, businesses, and brands.
What truly sets the Innovator Awards apart is that the program recognizes and celebrates the innovators themselves—not just their business idea or venture. Program applicants are first evaluated by a committee to determine semifinalists, and then reviewed by a team of experienced judges on several rubrics including creativity, leadership, entrepreneurship, authenticity, community and inclusion, track record, and the overall potential impact of their idea.
Applications for the 2024 Innovator Awards will open in January 2024.
We are seeking applications for one-time grants from individuals who are passionate about innovation and community, and would benefit from financial backing to develop and advance their entrepreneurial endeavors. We invite applications from students, alumni, faculty, and staff at any stage of their venture, from exploring a promising idea to scaling an existing business.
In 2023, we added five specialized awards to align with the values and mission of the university and our Experience Powered by Northeastern campaign. Recipients of our Innovators Powering a Better Future awards are dually recognized for their commitment to advancing five priorities: health solutions, diverse and inclusive communities, global change, social impact, and sustainability.
This award was created with dedicated partners, including the Cartier Women’s Initiative, who share our commitment to encourage, support, and celebrate the innovators and leaders within the Women Who Empower network, with a particular focus on creating inclusive opportunities and environments where all people can thrive.
THE DUE DATE
The application cycle for the 2024 Innovator Awards will open in early January 2024. We encourage interested innovators to prepare their materials in advance and apply as early in the season as possible!
We want to hear your story and how this funding will help you and the causes and communities you serve. Visit the Prepare Your Answers section below for more details on how to prepare your application.
Executive Director, Women's Entrepreneurship
All Innovator Award candidates will be required to submit a high-resolution headshot photo as part of the application process. We recommend that applicants identify a portrait-style photo with a minimum file size of 500 kb when preparing their application materials.
Sample Application Questions:
- Describe your innovation or venture in one sentence (limit 30 words).
- Why are you applying for the Women Who Empower Innovator Awards? (Limit 150 words)
- Describe what this award and funding would mean to you and your innovative and/or entrepreneurial ambitions. (Limit 250 words)
- Tell us about a particular role model who has provided inspiration to you. (Limit 150 words)
- Why are you uniquely qualified to support your innovation? (Limit 100 words)
- Tell us about a time when you overcame a significant challenge in your life. (Limit 200 words)
- Please share ways you plan to support and advance our community of innovators in the future. (Limit 150 words)
- List and discuss leadership roles (at school, work, or in your community) you have held, or awards you have received, in the past three years.
- List two individuals who can provide a character reference, along with their contact details, LinkedIn profile URLs, and an explanation of their relationship to you. A reference can be a faculty member, employer, mentor, or someone else in your network.
- Is there anything else you would like the selection committee to know? (Limit 200 words)