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Fellowships to USA Women to
Expand Food Industry Businesses

Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) Program

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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James Beard Foundation (JBF)

Deadline Date:

06/23/22 11:59 AM PT


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Fellowships to USA women business owners in the food industry for professional training and leadership development. Funding is intended to help women to expand their food and beverage businesses. Applicants must commit to attending all of the virtual classes. Eligible applicants are current owners or co-owners of one or more food, beverage, or related businesses in the United States.

The Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) flagship program is an advanced educational, training, and networking program for business owners in all areas of the hospitality industry. Each cohort is comprised of 20 participants. WEL alumnae form a strong and broad community, with regular opportunities to connect with each other and the Foundation. 

The ten-week program, created in conjunction with Cornell University, includes sessions on leadership, negotiating, strategy, business and financial models, funding your businesses, measuring success, and more. View a sample curriculum here. In addition to live virtual sessions led by Cornell faculty from across the university, industry professionals, and other subject matter experts, WEL participants are able to select an elective from Cornell’s External Education program.   

Cornell University, one of the original members the Ivy League, is recognized as one of the world’s leading academic institutions. Through our partnership, the WEL program taps into the broad network of Cornell University faculty across the schools including the Hotel School, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell Tech, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Industrial Labor Relations, Engineering and Computer Science. 

The program is targeted to women owners of one or more restaurants or food businesses looking to expand and grow. The curriculum will address advanced business and finance concepts while also providing gender-specific training and leadership development.  

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180203

Number of Grants:

A maximum of 20 applicants will be selected for each cohort.

Term of Contract:

2022 Fall Cohort: The program will be held virtually every Monday from 2 to 4 P.M. ET starting on September 12, 2022 and concluding on December 5, 2022. Live classes will not take place on October 10, November 21, and November 28.

2023 Winter Cohort: The program will be held virtually every Monday from 2 to 4 P.M. ET starting on January 23, 2023 and concluding on April 3, 2023. Live classes will not take place on February 20.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To qualify for WEL, you must be:
- 21 years of age or older
- A woman-identifying or nonbinary individual
- A current owner or co-owner of one or more food, beverage, or related businesses in the United States, with a strong desire to learn, network, and grow your business
- Interested in an intensive entrepreneurial management program that also provides training and leadership development
- Committed to attending each virtual session
- Committed to filling out follow-up surveys immediately upon completion of the program, then 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years post-program, as well as yearly check-ins

Pre-Application Information:

The application for the 2022 and 2023 WEL Cohorts closes on June 23nd at 11:59 AM P.T.  

Please only apply if you are able to commit to all the dates listed. Your certificate of completion and participation in future WEL events is contingent upon attending every class session.

All applicants will be notified by end of July.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply for the 2022 and 2023 WEL Cohorts:

For more information about the Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, please email

James Beard Foundation
167 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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