So you’ve started a successful business (congrats, btw!), you’re a pro at wearing *all* the hats, and you’d love to finally put the acceptance speech that pops into your mind at 2 a.m. to good use. Sounds like you’re a good candidate for The New C-Suite, an initiative from Cosmopolitan and digitalundivided that celebrates and honors women of color entrepreneurs. Keep reading for all the details and how to apply!
What exactly is The New C-Suite?
We’re glad you asked! The New C-Suite is a program open to women of color who have founded and currently operate their own businesses. It’s run by Cosmopolitan (hi!) and digitalundivided, a leading nonprofit that leverages data, programs, and advocacy to catalyze economic growth for Latina and Black women entrepreneurs and innovators. The goal at digitalundivided is to help women of color own their work and to create systemic change and more pathways for women of color in entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology. Together, we’ll be inducting 10 businesses into The New C-Suite for the second time this fall with a feature in our magazine, on our website, and across our social media.
By spotlighting these women, we hope to help shape the future of entrepreneurship, which, to put it mildly, hasn’t always been an inclusive, equitable business space. Currently, women of color receive just a tiny fraction of total venture capital investment, and they lack many of the resources and support that their white peers have easier access to. The New C-Suite’s mission is to help change this by celebrating women of color entrepreneurs, spreading awareness about their companies, and helping them take their businesses to the next level.
And what, specifically, would I get out of it?
Meaningful business resources from digitalundivided plus major media exposure (Cosmopolitan is the largest young women’s media brand in the world).
More specifically, The New C-Suite members will:
- Collectively be included in a Cosmopolitan print magazine feature story
- Collectively be included—along with their businesses and/or products—in a feature story on Cosmopolitan.com
- Collectively receive promotion on Cosmopolitan’s social media accounts
- Be featured panelists at digitalundivided’s undivided We Rise summit
- Get access to exclusive workshops led by the Cosmopolitan editorial team and digitalundivided experts
- Receive individual business advisory support and networking opportunities from digitalundivided partners
As a 2022 New C-Suite honoree, you may be expected to attend an in-person celebration in New York City in November. Travel will be provided. Should an event take place, we’ll share additional details once you’ve been accepted into the New C-Suite program.
Can you tell me more about your partnership with digitalundivided?
Yes! digitalundivided has been fighting for equity for women of color entrepreneurs and their businesses for nearly a decade. “We’ve been sounding the alarm for years that these dynamic businesses are significantly and disparately underfunded,” says digitalundivided CEO Lauren Maillian. “Even during a year of record venture capital investment, and a global racial reckoning dominating headlines, Black and Latina women-founded businesses received less than half of 1 percent of funding based on our 2021 ProjectDiane Update.” Cosmopolitan and digitalundivided joined forces to launch The New C-Suite to help change that. As Maillian explains, “We teamed up because it’s essential that we spotlight, resource, and amplify these meaningful businesses on their journeys to success.”
Who can apply?
To be eligible for The New C-Suite, you must:
- Identify as a woman of color
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Have majority ownership of an established business that has been registered for at least a year
- Have launched a business in—and that’s still based in—the United States and its territories
- Run a successful company that stands out as innovative or disruptive in your industry and is on track for long-term growth
Ideally, The New C-Suite applicants will work in or across industries including beauty and fashion, arts and entertainment, hospitality and food/drink, communications and media, health and wellness, sports and gaming, and science, technology, finance, or education. But if you don’t see your field on this list, feel free to still apply and check “other” in the appropriate spot on the application.
What if I have a cofounder?
We love a dynamic duo. If you’re selected, we can honor you and up to one (1) cofounder, as long as your business partner also falls within our eligibility requirements (take one more peek at those above). If your partner does not meet those requirements—or if you want to apply on your own—we’d still love to honor you and your business (just note that you, not your partner, will be the official member of The New C-Suite).
How exactly do I apply?
Simply click here for the application page and follow the instructions (be prepared to humblebrag about yourself and your company)! Submissions open at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday, May 9, 2022 and close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, June 10, 2022.
Can I nominate a friend or peer?
You can definitely encourage them to apply: Visit the application page and click “Nominate a Friend.” Fill out the form and the team at digitalundivided will follow up with your friend, sharing information about the program and encouraging them to apply. From there, it’s up to them to determine if they want to go for it (ofc, we hope they do!).
Okay, I’m going to apply! What happens next?
Cosmopolitan and digitalundivided will vet applications over the course of a few weeks following the submission deadline. We will base our vetting on eligibility criteria and also take innovation, creativity, and the longevity of your business into account. We’d also love for your business to be tech-enabled, with a website and/or social media presence.
Once the vetting process is over, we will pass a list of potential honorees to our all-female judging panel, who will ultimately select 10 businesses to join The New C-Suite.
What criteria will the judging panel use?
In addition to the eligibility criteria listed above, our judges will be looking for women of color entrepreneurs with companies that:
- Have been operating for at least one (1) year
- Have proven to be financially viable or show strong traction with a quantifiable ability to grow (aka they’re on track for long-term success)
- Stand out in some way in their industry, including (but not limited to!) with problem-solving products, original ideas for untapped markets, and creative business executions
Who is on the judging panel?
Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Jessica Pels, digitalundivdied CEO Lauren Maillian, plus more to be announced. (Last year, Cosmopolitan cover star Venus Williams sat on the judging panel, hint-hint.)
How will I be notified if I’m an honoree?
Representatives from Cosmopolitan and/or digitalundivided will notify you via phone or email no later than August 12 if you have been selected to be a part of The New C-Suite.
What’s the timeline for all this again?
The deadline to apply for The New C-Suite is Friday, June 10, 2022. Sorry, no late submissions—we thrive on deadlines over here!
The selection process will begin on Monday, June 13 and conclude with the judges’ final selections on August 5. If you are chosen as an honoree, you will be notified by August 12. Then the real fun begins: Cosmopolitan’s editorial team will be in touch about planning our editorial coverage, which may include interviews and photo requests in mid- to late summer. The official announcement of The New C-Suite will be on November 8, with a digital feature on Cosmopolitan.com.