Why was this program created?
The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center and Wells Fargo partnered with the vision of helping 1 million people increase economic opportunity and vitality through entrepreneurship exposure, education, and access in the next decade. As our entrepreneurs navigate new realities and unknown futures, we understand the critical need of gaining access and support to help each founder learn, grow, and find golden opportunities for clarity even in these supremely challenged times. Born from the challenges of Covid, Milestone Circles is a facilitator-coach guided process to help founders anchor their focus to their biggest vision and gain clarity on what is the business priority for the next quarter. We believe in the transformational power of peer learning, so have created a safe space for founders to share their vulnerabilities and challenges.
Why did Wells Fargo choose to partner with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center?
The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center has a track record of supporting women entrepreneurs in ways that are unique and focused on their success. In 2020, Wells Fargo invested in a research project led by the Center to understand and mitigate barriers women business owners face starting with overhauling pay and ownership inequities.
How do you choose participants for Milestone Circles?
Milestone Circles are open to all women business owners in the United States. We match women founders to circles based on their Challenge (What’s keeping them up at night and what support is needed); Drive (motivation and vision); and Stage (age of company, stage of revenue, employee size).
Why is this program only for women?
Women-owned businesses continue to fuel the economy despite facing more obstacles than entrepreneurs in general when starting and growing their businesses. We are dedicated to providing additional support to help eliminate barriers and assist women business owners in achieving their goals.
What if my schedule changes? Can I change to another Circle at a later date?
Absolutely! If there is availability for placement in another Circle, we’d love to have you join us later. In the meantime, remember you’re always welcome to work at your own pace through the toolkit and of course, join us for our weekly Office Hours whenever you need a little extra help or boost.
Can I move to an earlier date, if space is available?
Should a spot become available in an earlier Circle, we will notify participants in the next scheduled Circle in case this is a better fit for them on timing.
If I am unable to complete the program, can I re-apply?
It may be difficult to schedule participants that have completed partial Circles. We encourage you to work at your own pace through the toolkit and, of course, join us for our weekly Office Hours whenever you need a little extra help or boost.
Is there an attendance requirement? What if I am unable to attend a session?
We know how busy entrepreneurial life can be and we do understand that last-minute challenges and conflicts arise. That being said, for your success – and for the success of your women business owner peers – we do ask that you hold this time as a priority throughout the duration of the program. We do allow one absence during the bi-weekly sessions that are one hour in length, but otherwise, we ask you to keep the times held.
How can I highlight this experience to my social media platforms (ie. LinkedIn, Twitter, etc)?
Is there any pre-work for the program or recommended resources to help me prepare for the Circle?
What is the weekly time commitment, between sessions?
After onboarding, your Circle will meet every other week for a one-hour session together to workshop through challenges and celebrate the wins along the way to the milestone moment. As for the time you’ll be working on the Milestone, our entrepreneurs typically reflect they’re dedicating between 6-10 hours per week on the strategy and execution of this specific goal.
What happens during graduation?
During graduation, participants will reflect on their milestone achievement – share moments of celebration and challenges, and close with next steps. Each cohort will have the opportunity for a media moment on Nasdaq’s MarketSite tower in Times Square in New York, NY.
What happens after graduation?
All graduates of the program are now part of our celebrated entrepreneurial community and alumnae that we recognize, support, and celebrate in every way! You are welcome to join us in any ongoing programs offered by the Center and sign up (before, during, or after) with our Mentor Makers program to gain access to mentorship support. We also love to share and celebrate wins with our graduates, so please be sure to keep us posted on the continued successes to celebrate and share with others!
Who should I contact if I have questions?
If you have general questions or comments about Circles, please contact circles@theCenter.nasdaq.org. For questions related to your cohort activities or program resources, join us for office hours in Mighty Networks, each Friday, from 1-2pm EST.