Susan Duffy, Co-Founder of the WIN Lab

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2014 American Business Awards

Company:Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership, Babson College, Wellesley, MA, USA
Company Description:The Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) at Babson College is co-curricular organization that provides innovative education programs, events, and supports and widely disseminating research about the unique skills and experiences of women entrepreneurial leaders. Additionally, CWEL supports and advances gender equality as a growth strategy for individuals and for organizations.
Nomination Category:Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category:Women Helping Women – Government or Non-Profit

Nomination Title: Susan Duffy, Co-Founder of the WIN Lab

Describe for the judges the nominated individual's activities and accomplishments that provided support and assistance to other women since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

As the Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College, Susan G. Duffy, PhD dedicates her time and expertise to educating, inspiring and empowering women entrepreneurial leaders to reach their full potential. Susan does this by designing innovative education programs, planning important events, and by supporting and widely disseminating research about the unique skills and experiences of women entrepreneurial leaders. One such research project was Babson’s groundbreaking report "Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital" which, among other key findings, revealed that women-led businesses receive less that 3% of all venture capital funds in the U.S. Additionally, the report gave rise to two key Boston-area innovation ecosystem events for which Susan oversees design and planning: "Capital W: The Boston Women’s Venture Capital Summit" and the newly-announced "Babson Breakaway Challenge", a business plan competition for women-led businesses with a $250,000 prize—the largest prize of any business competition for women.

Perhaps one of Susan’s most notable efforts to support women in business was when she conceived of and co-founded the Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab. WIN Lab is a business accelerator for early-stage, women-led businesses, initially limited to women within the Babson community. It’s a different kind of venture accelerator that broadens the possibilities for women entrepreneurs whose skills, ideas, and commitment are too often unmet by the traditional entrepreneurial ecosystem. WIN is an eight month program of weekly, three-hour experiential sessions that drive founders toward monthly milestones. A wide range of experts share experience-based insights into the often obscure path to entrepreneurial success. Each WIN company is paired with a compatibility-matched coach and business founders are held accountable to progress goals by the self-governing WIN peer community. A series of public events, often in collaboration with other ecosystem partners, offer access to strategic networks and opportunities to platform founders and their ventures. The Lab is located in a co-working space in Boston’s Innovation District so that the entrepreneurs, aka “WINners” can work on their ventures between formal sessions.

Most recently, Susan initiated a partnership that dramatically changed the diversity and the impact of the WIN Lab. Her desire to provide the benefits of the WIN Lab to those who might not be affiliated with the Babson community resulted in a partnership with the City of Boston's Office of Business Development and Boston's Office of Women's Advancement. As partners, the WIN Lab supports five women entrepreneur fellows from the City’s “Women on Main” program—an initiative started in 2013 to better serve and connect women business owners throughout the city of Boston. Last April, WIN Lab graduated its first five Women on Main Fellows, and has just started their third year with six Women on Main Fellows with promising business ideas in the industries of youth fitness, organic beverages, personal care, health and wellness and professional services. Recognized by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) as an Outstanding Specialty Entrepreneurship Program and BostInno 50 on Fire Award for cutting-edge educational programming, the WIN Lab is designed to change the trajectory of what is possible for women-owned businesses.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated individual (up to 125 words):

Susan G. Duffy, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) at Babson College. Under Susan’s leadership, CWEL offers world-class programs for undergraduate, graduate, and executive women; advances gender enlightenment; and disseminates research. Susan earned her PhD in Management and Organization from The George Washington University (GWU), a master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Science from the Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science from the Pennsylvania State University. In 2006, Susan founded the GWU Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership initiative, which was recognized as the National Model Specialty Program in Entrepreneurship Education by the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Susan serves on the board of directors of the Tory Burch Foundation and Walmart Foundation’s International Advisory Council.