FSF ALUMNI DREAM GRANT
The mission of the FSF Alumni Dream Grant is to invest in the future leaders of fashion and to create a new generation of FSF companies. Our vision is to prepare FSF alumni-led seed & early stage startups for placement at accelerators or other investment programs through mentorship from industry experts and an equity-free grant of $50,000. Learn more about the program in our FAQ section below.
2018 ALUMNI DREAM GRANT WINNER
THISTLE & SPIRE
founded by Lily Chen (FSF Class of 2010, FIT)
contemporary lingerie company designed by women for women with a body-positive message
Alumni Dream Grant Finalists:
founded by Eleanor Turner (FSF Class of 2015, SCAD)
direct to consumer brand that is redefining women's workwear by introducing function, style and attitude
founded by Sarah Gaudio (FSF Class of 2014, Marist College)
lifestyle brand that seeks to bring back the original essence of streetwear
GEAR READY USA
founded by Janet Horton (FSF Class of 2005, SCAD)
designs and manufactures custom tactical gear for the US Military
founded by Jameel Mohammed (FSF Class of 2014, University of Pennsylvania)
luxury brand inspired by the African diaspora
APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:1. Must be a former FSF Scholarship recipient
2. Must be a member of the FSF Alumni Association
3. Must no longer be enrolled at an undergraduate college or university
STARTUP ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:1. Must have applications in the fashion industry
2. Must be an early or seed stage startup
3. Must be led by a former FSF Scholarship recipient
VIABILITY OF IDEAThe applicant’s product/service is a solution to a gap in the market that has been well-defined by the applicant. A customer base willing to pay for the applicant’s product/service exists and has been well-defined by the applicant.
GROWTH POTENTIALThe applicant’s product/service cannot be easily replicated. The applicant has taken measures to protect their ideas, designs and brand through patents and/or trademarks. The applicant has demonstrated that their product/service is urgently needed in the market place through quantifiable analysis and testing. The applicant has sized the market for its idea, and its potential reach. The applicant has clearly identified their direct and indirect competitors, and described competitive advantages of their product/service.
DEVELOPMENT & VISIONThe applicant demonstrated an extensive, well-researched sales and marketing plan that includes a mix of proven, cost-effective sales and marketing tactics. The applicant has conducted thorough risk analysis of their venture, identifying major sources of risks, and described how they would mitigate them. The applicant clearly defined how they will attract and retain the right team to deliver their product/service to market. The applicant demonstrated a specific action plan on how they will use funds & resources from the FSF to deliver results outlined in their business plan within a reasonable time period.
PROGRESS EVALUATIONThe applicant has effectively and efficiently used resources available to them thus far to develop expertise in their field, and to attract customers, marketing and distribution partnerships and other alliances, demonstrating significant personal investment into venture. The applicant’s idea has momentum.
BRAND FITThe applicant demonstrated respect and appreciation for the FSF and can be expected to continue to stay engaged and supportive of our organization as their company grows.
JAN 1, 2018 – APR 30, 2018Applicants can submit proposals for the FSF Alumni Dream Grant
MAY, 2018Applications are evaluated by an Alumni Association vetting panel including a phone or skype interview. Applicants are then vetted through the FSF Executive Committee to determine who will participate in the Alumni Dream Grant Pitch Day. Finalists are notified by end of May.
JUN, 2018Finalists present their business plan in front of the FSF Executive Committee during Pitch Day. Grant recipients are announced during the FSF Summer Kick Off Party.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does the winner of the FSF Alumni Dream Grant get placed at an accelerator of choice?
No, FSF Alumni Dream Grant recipients will not be placed at accelerator or incubator of their choice. Recipients of the grant are expected to leverage insights from their industry mentors and invest their funding wisely in order to make their startup eligible for consideration of accelerators, incubators or VC companies.
My company currently employs an FSF alumnus in a freelance design position. Can we apply?
No, FSF alumni must be involved in a permanent, senior level position in order for your start-up to apply for the FSF Alumni Dream Grant.
I am currently employed full-time and working on my startup part-time. Can I apply?
Yes. As long as you have previously received an FSF scholarship, have completed your undergraduate degree, and are an official member of the FSF Alumni Association, you may apply for the FSF Alumni Dream Grant.
My company already received funding, can we apply?
Yes, you can apply to the program if you have received funding. Please disclose details regarding past rounds of financing on your application.
My company does not make clothes, can we apply?
The FSF Alumni Dream Grant focuses on seed and early stage companies within the fashion industry including but not limited to new product brands across apparel, accessories, home and beauty product categories, and technology companies with applications within fashion and retail.
Do grant recipients need to give up equity to the FSF in order to receive funding?
No, the FSF is a non-profit organization; the $50,000 monetary award will be awarded to the FSF Alumni Dream Grant recipient equity-free.
As a recipient of the FSF Alumni Dream Grant, am I expected to contribute anything to the Fashion Scholarship Fund?
We expect that as your company grows you continue to stay engaged and supportive of our organization.
I am a former Geoffrey Beene scholar. Can I apply for the FSF Alumni Dream Grant?
How many grants are awarded each year?
The FSF Alumni Dream Grant will be awarded to one startup company per year.
As part of the application process, will I be able to solicit individual FSF Board members and judges for further angel funding? How about if I win?
Applicants of the FSF Alumni Dream Grant are strongly discouraged from soliciting FSF Board members or judges for potential funding. While it should be noted that winners of the grant will receive access to industry executives specifically for the purpose of mentorship and coaching, the purpose of the grant is not to provide a mechanism to separately raise funds from FSF Board members or judges. In addition, solicitations may present conflicts of interest that could disqualify an applicant from receiving a grant, as discussed above.
I am not currently based out of New York. Can I still apply?
Yes. The winner will be announced via email and industry mentor assignments will be conducted via skype wherever necessary.
I would like to start working on my application today. What will I be required to provide?
While the submission period will not open until January 1, 2018, listed below are all sections of the Alumni Dream Grant application:
Company Name *
Company Website *
Role in company (e.g., CEO, Founder) *
FSF Class *
How many people are on your team (excluding yourself)? *
How many team members are paid (excluding yourself)? *
How many team members are full time (excluding yourself)? *
How many interns have worked with you in the past year? *
Please list the members of your team, their roles within your company and their LinkedIn profiles (if applicable). *
Describe your business *
Who is your target market? *
What is the size of your target market? *
Who are your key competitors and why? *
How does your product or service stand out from your competition? *
Please attach your complete business plan (pdf format) *
CURRENT INVESTMENT & RESULTS
How many years have you been in business? *
Are you working for others or attending graduate school? *
Have you ever been part of a business incubator or accelerator? If yes, please provide details (where, when, for how long) *
Tell us about how you've funded and plan to fund your business *
If you have been funded in the past, please provide details (how much & from whom) *
Has your business generated revenue? Please provide details. *
Please share any other metrics by which you measure your success.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
Describe the biggest challenges your business is facing. *
Describe in detail how you would use the resourced provided to you by the FSF Alumni Dream Grant. *
Please attach any other materials you would like to be reviewed by the judging committee.