Woman Entrepreneur Fellowship

With our focus on advancing the wellbeing of women, the Junior League of New Orleans believes that increasing women’s business opportunities improves the local economy. One way to cultivate entrepreneurial success is access to mentors and advisors. JLNO’s membership includes a diverse, professional cadre that can motivate and guide women wishing to scale their businesses. Combining our mission tenets of developing the potential of women and improving communities, JLNO has created the Woman Entrepreneur (WE) Fellowship. This yearlong program will support a female business owner with mentoring and in-kind services sourced through JLNO’s membership. Guidance will include

  • Legal / Human Resources
  • Accounting / Financial Analysis
  • Investor Development
  • Marketing / Communications
  • Management / Organizational Consulting

Collaboration with the WE Fellow will determine focused goals within these broad areas for a plan addressing her business’s specific needs. The WE Fellowship also provides a $7500 grant, access to work/meeting space, nonprofit board training, and marketing opportunities with JLNO’s membership.

The WE Fellowship is supported by generous donations from Fidelity Bank, Vinson Guard Service, Inc., and Trepwise.

2019 Finalists & Winner

Congratulations to JLNO’s fourth Woman Entrepreneur Fellow – Lauren Myerscough of Cocktail & Sons! Chelsey Tharp of Girls Gone Buff received the audience award, and all of our finalists made wonderful pitches at the 2019 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. We are so inspired by the creativity and determination of these female business owners, and we can’t wait to see what they do next!

The following were the finalists vying for JLNO’s fourth WE Fellowship:

  • Cocktail & Sons is a line of all natural, handcrafted syrups for the home and commercial bar. Made by bartenders using Louisiana sugarcane and produce, they make complex syrups for simple drinks.
  • FAIT | NOLA is a plant design studio with New Orleans’ first mobile plant store and design studio. They believe in helping people connect with nature using plants as a creative medium.
  • Girls Gone Buff is a performance-based bootcamp that is aimed at teaching proper functional movement patterns, building strength, and improving cardiovascular endurance. Their goal is to lead the community to a lifestyle of health and wellness and empower all women to become strong and independent.
  • Southern Swings Nail Bar and Spa is the most unique and relaxing nail salon in the world with porch swings for pedicure chairs and outdoor pedicures.
  • Visionary Entertainment Media Group (VEMG) is a multifaceted marketing company that utilizes the power of social interactions to execute non-traditional marketing campaigns that drive sales, increase brand awareness, and create long-term buzz.

Each of the five finalists gave a 10-minute presentation at the WE Fellowship Pitch event during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.  At the conclusion of the presentations, judges selected the 2019-2020 WE Fellow as Cocktail & Sons, and attendees voted to award the audience prize to Girls Gone Buff.

Click here for a history of WE Fellowship finalists and winners.


  • The business-owner should be a woman who is
    • The majority stakeholder in the enterprise or 50/50 with a spouse/partner and functions as its daily manager
    • Aged 21 years and older
    • A legal resident of the United States
  • The business can be in any industry and should
    • Have been formed under U.S. law and is currently operating within 40 miles of New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Have between 1 year minimum and 5 year maximum of continuous operations
    • Be generating annual revenues of less than $750,000
  • The following are not eligible:
    • Nonprofit organizations
    • Subsidiary or franchise businesses

The WE Fellow should represent the same personal and professional commitments as the Junior League, namely it embraces diversity and reaches out to all women who demonstrate an interest in improving their community.

Application Process & Timeline

The WE Fellow is selected via a multi-step process as indicated below.

Step 1 – Complete the WE Fellowship application.

If interested, female business owners must submit an application by January 14, 2019. Submitting an application is free, and applicants need not be JLNO members.

The application period for the 2019 WE Fellow is closed. We will reopen applications for the next group of candidates in the Fall of 2019.

Step 2 – Prepare for Pitches

The WE Fellowship Selection Committee will review the submitted applications and select women-owned businesses to give 10-minute presentations at an event during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Prior to the event, each finalist will meet with an expert who will help her craft her presentation.

Step 3 – Present during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

Each finalist will pitch her enterprise for an audience and judging panel. Votes from the public will award an audience prize, and a judging panel will award the fellowship.

Fellowship Components

  • Mentoring and support services from Junior League of New Orleans Members
  • Grant in the amount of $7500
  • Access to meeting space in Uptown New Orleans (not to be used as retail space; a value of $350)
  • Tuition to JLNO’s Get on Board nonprofit board training program (a $250 value)
  • Feature in Lagniappe, JLNO’s quarterly magazine to 5000 readers
  • Opportunities to market to JLNO members (a $175 value to have a table at a meeting marketplace)
  • One year of membership dues (a $220 value) should the WE Fellow meet eligibility criteria and elects to join JLNO; meeting the membership curriculum and subsequent membership renewals would be the fellow’s responsibility.