The Women-in-Business Challenge


The Women-in-Business Challenge (WIB) is a business accelerator program for early stage businesses owned by female entrepreneurs.

The program provides impactful business education and training, technical assistance, personal consulting , mentorship by seasoned entrepreneurs and peer networking to increase the ability of these early stage, women-owned enterprises to have the same performance potential as male-owned start-ups, creating economic and global impact.

Four finalists compete for $10K in seed capital to aid them in expansion goals for their ventures during the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week conference.

The Pitch Challenge will be held from 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 20, 2017 at Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel on 623 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70130. The event commences with a panel discussion that includes all of the Women-In-Business scholars. Shortly after, the 4 finalists will begin their presentations. An esteemed panel of judges deliberate while a celebrity keynote speaker addresses the audience, after which the winner is announced.

Click here to access the 2017 Women-in-Business Challenge Program Application. The deadline to submit the application is Tuesday, November 1, 2016.


2017 WOMEN-IN-BUSINESS CHALLENGE, Empowering Communities…One Entrepreneur at a Time! 



The Urban League of Greater New Orleans Announces

The 2017 Women-in-Business Challenge

(New Orleans) September 21, 2016 – The Urban League of Greater New Orleans announces the 2017 Women-in-Business (WIB) Challenge, a business accelerator program for emerging women-owned businesses.  Through an 8 week intensive training, the Women-in-Business Challenge provides business growth education, technical assistance, personalized consulting, mentorship and peer learning opportunities to ten selected program participants. The program culminates in an investment pitch challenge featuring four finalists who will compete during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (March 19, 2017 to March 24, 2017) for a substantial cash investment to accelerate their businesses’ growth.  “The WIB Challenge served as a conduit for me to establish a specialized niche, allowing for my business to restructure its services and promote business scalability,” stated Sharmaine James, 2016 WIB Challenge Winner and owner of Condall Consulting Group.  Applications for the Women-in-Business Challenge will be accepted from Wednesday, September 21, 2016 through Tuesday, November 1, 2016.  Interested business owners can access the application online at

Research indicates that start-up ventures steered by men are out-performing those created by women in annual sales, employment growth, and income. The Women-in-Business Challenge facilitates the performance of these women-owned ventures to rival those of their male counterparts. Urban League of Greater New Orleans President & CEO, Erika McConduit-Diggs, affirmed the program stating, “In its 5th year, empowering women to thrive remains the focus of our Women-in-Business Challenge, as we build on its success and prioritize support for local female entrepreneurs.  Participation in the program offers women much needed support along the growth continuum and helps to generate great visibility for their ventures.”

“The success of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week is due, in large measure, to our partner organizations who bring a diverse range of Content and leverage the annual event as a platform for collaboration and innovation,” said Emily Madero, Acting CEO of The Idea Village. “We are thrilled to be working with the Urban League again this year to host the Women-in-Business Challenge, a critical initiative that supports women entrepreneurs in their efforts to address market needs while creating a more thriving local economy.”

Both the Urban League and The Idea Village have solid track records in providing entrepreneurs with business coaching, mentorship, networking opportunities, entrepreneurial resources, and access to capital; the Women-in-Business Challenge enables both organizations to collaborate and offer complimentary entrepreneurial services.

For more information contact the Women’s Business Resource Center at 504.620.9647 or via email at


About the Urban League of Greater New Orleans: 

 Established in 1938, the mission of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans is to enable African-Americans and other communities seeking equity to secure economic self-reliance, parity and civil rights.  Programs of the Urban League’s three Centers of Excellence are focused in the areas of education and youth development, workforce and economic development and public policy and advocacy. For more information on the Urban League, visit us online at and/or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@ULGNO).  In 2001, the Urban League of Greater New Orleans opened the Women’s Business Resource Center (WBRC) to facilitate small business development, provide business consulting, educational training and other resources to assist aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. The Contractor Resource Center was launched in 2014 to increase the organization’s capacity to serve commercial contractors. The Women’s Business Resource Center and the Contractor Resource Center assist over 1,000 entrepreneurs annually.

About The Idea Village:

In 2000, The Idea Village was formed by a group of New Orleans citizens who returned home, energized by experiences in thriving communities across the United States. The founders determined that the key to creating positive economic and social change in New Orleans was to create a vibrant entrepreneurial community. The Idea Village formalized in 2002 as an independent 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with a mission to identify, support, and retain entrepreneurial talent in New Orleans by providing business resources to high-impact ventures. The Idea Village team supports entrepreneurial talent by identifying growth challenges, setting goals, providing business strategy, marketing support, and financial direction. To date, The Idea Village has supported over 2,200 New Orleans entrepreneurs by engaging over 2,100 professionals to allocate over 56,949 consulting hours and $3.1 million in seed capital. Collectively, this portfolio generates over $100 million in annual revenue and has created over 2,000 jobs for our community. For more about The Idea Village visit


2016 Women In Business Challenge

ICYMI:  The 2016 WIB Challenge Winner is Sharmaine James of Condall Consulting!

These extraordinary women were the 2016 FEATURED WIB CHALLENGE ENTREPRENEUR FINALISTS: 


Condall Consulting Group (Sharmaine James) 

An environmental and management consulting firm offering professional and construction services within the engineering, environmental science and technology industries.

Design Unwined (Rachel Meese) 

A lifestyle franchise providing a fun and enthusiastic atmosphere for customers to learn how to “up-cycle” furniture and interior design and décor pieces, while sipping wine, having fun and sustaining the environment.

Morgan Hill (Dione Morgan) 

A communications and publishing firm, helping individuals, organizations and companies brand their work, product or cause and spread awareness through their creative services.

Small Hinges (Rachel Graham) 

A start-up public relations firm specializing in strategy-based communications solutions and event production services.

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