A Message from our Founder
Darya Allen-Attar, Founder and Executive Director of Women Founders Foundation, provides an overview of the Junior Judges program and goals:
Junior Judge Program
The Junior Judge program is Women Founders Foundation’s flagship program, which takes place during summer and fall each year. It aligns with the Women Founders Network Fast Pitch, a yearly competition in Los Angeles for women entrepreneurs. Since 2014, the Junior Judge program has educated more than 100 girls in grades 6-12 about entrepreneurship through fun and educational events to meet women CEOs and startup founders, workshops teaching the fundamentals of business, and their participation in the annual WFN Fast Pitch Event as “venture capitalists for a day” to vote for their favorite company and present a sponsored cash award to their winner.
The Junior Judges walk away from the experience feeling confident, inspired, and motivated, knowing there is a strong community of women available to support them in achieving their goals.
To learn more about the Women Founders Network and the annual
Fast Pitch competition, please visit https://www.womenfoundersnetwork.com/.
2021 Junior Judge Program
Applications for 2021 now open. Deadline to apply is July 1, 2021.
Who can apply?
We welcome any girl who is in 6th grade (currently, as of the 2020-2021 school year) through 12th grade to apply to the program between May 1 and July 1. We value diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of our programs.
Though it is expected that all of our programming will take place online in 2021, should in-person meetings for small groups become viable, we will explore that option in the late summer and fall. We accept applications from across the United States, but note that if we have the opportunity to hold in-person events they will take place in the greater Los Angeles, California, region (including the required Fast Pitch on October 26).
Participation Fee & Waivers
There is a $50 fee to participate if girls are accepted into the program, which covers all expenses including one ticket to the fast pitch in October (normally a $75 value). If the cost is a barrier to participation, we can offer fee waivers on a case-by-case basis.
Equipment & Materials
Participants will need a reliable internet connection and device to participate in the program this year. We strongly encourage participating in virtual meetings with a web camera so we can create as authentic an experience as possible!
If accepted into the program, Junior Judges will be notified and sent a welcome packet via email.
About the Program
Given the coronavirus pandemic, the Junior Judge program moved online in 2020 and hosted virtual programming for the Junior Judges between July and October 2020.
Due to continued restrictions as of spring 2021, the program will remain virtual in 2021 unless otherwise notified. Events and meetings will take place via Zoom video.
In addition to participating as a "venture capitalist for a day" at the WFN Fast Pitch competition on October 26, 2021 Junior Judges will have the opportunity to “meet” women CEOs and entrepreneurs throughout the summer and fall via virtual meetings on Zoom to learn their experiences starting companies across a range of fields. In 2021 we will also launch a one-on-one mentoring opportunity for all Junior Judges.
Below is an example of the program activities in 2020. We will post 2021 activities as soon as they are available.
July - October
Meet the CEO
July 21 @ 6pm - Dr. Courtney Young, Co-founder & CEO, MyoGene Bio
Aug 4 @ 5pm - Brianna Kilcullen, Founder & CEO, ANACT
Sept 3 @ 6pm - Heather Mason, Founder & CEO, Caspian Agency
Sept 15 @ 6pm - Maryam Garg, Founder, MODMASK
Oct 6 @ 6pm - Akshita Iyer, Inirv
September - October
Women Founders Network
Fast Pitch Competition
NEW DATE TBD - Virtual workshop to review WFN Fast Pitch Top 5 finalist companies
Tue, October 27 @ 5pm - WFN Virtual Fast Pitch Event (required). Girls participate as "venture capitalists for a day" to vote for their favorite company and award a sponsored cash prize of $5,000 to their winner
Meet the 2019 Junior Judges:
Adult educational events are hosted through Women Founders Network and may be viewed here.
Past events for Junior Judges included:
April 1, 2019
A Day at BlackLine with Therese Tucker, CEO
Full day of activities for girls to learn about running a business
August 27, 2019
United Talent Agency (UTA) Foundation
Meeting with the women leaders of UTA Foundation
October 30, 2019
Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Event @ UCLA
Girls voted for their favorite company and presented a $5,000 cash award
June 16, 2019
Meet the CEO: Daina Trout of Health-Aide
Tour of facility and meeting with the CEO and company leadership
September 5, 2019
Raising Money for Your Startup: Mimi Carter of Pasadena Angels
Girls learned about options for getting funding for startup companies
July 16, 2019
Junior Judge Social Mixer & Meet the CEO: Caspian Agency
Social mixer for girls to get acquainted and meeting with Heather Mason, CEO
September 14, 2019
Pre-Pitch Workshop for Junior Judges
Preparation for voting as "venture capitalists for a day" at the WFN Fast Pitch