We’ll help founders structure their business model, market analysis, growth plan, and funding strategy to prepare for a final Demo Day in San Francisco.

Design Support

IDEO trained designers will work with Fellows to bring IDEO’s award-winning human centered design approach to their businesses.


Beauty industry leaders and startup experts will offer one-on-one mentorship and guide fellows through their challenges and growth.

Grants & Funding

In addition to two all-expense paid trips for program events, fellows will receive a $2,500 grant and may be eligible for additional funding.

December 2015

Invitation to Apply

March 2016

Cohort Announced

April 24, 2016


August 29, 2016

Demo Day


Suzanne LeRoux
One Love Organics

Saint Simons Island, Georgia

Candace Mitchell

Atlanta, Georgia

Leila Janah

San Francisco, CA

Carolina Grove

Mexico City, Mexico

Lisa Mattam

Toronto, Canada

“Even in the beauty industry, where most customers are women, female founders are still underrepresented. We see a unique opportunity to draw from our history of working with entrepreneurs to build a supportive community for early-stage female founders.”

-Corrie Conrad, Head of Social Impact at Sephora

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Inspired the Sephora Accelerate Program?
  • Even in the beauty industry, where most customers are women, female founders are still underrepresented. We saw a unique opportunity to draw from our history of working with beauty entrepreneurs to build a supportive community for women who are in the early stages of developing their businesses.

    As a key initiative of our Sephora Stands social impact programs, which aim to use Sephora’s strengths for even greater good in our communities, we hope to build an ecosystem of support for more than 50 women-led beauty businesses with a social impact by 2020.
  • What is Social Impact?
  • Social: of or relating to society. Impact: to have a strong effect on someone or something. At Sephora, Social Impact reflects our commitment to using our strengths to make the world a more beautiful place.

    Sephora Accelerate is an initiative of Sephora Stands, our Social Impact programming. As a result, we are interested in entrepreneurs with a shared passion for beauty and Social Impact. A business could reflect this commitment through environment friendly actions, sourcing raw materials sustainably, donating a portion of proceeds to charity, or any number of other creative ways. We’re excited to support our Fellows (our selected women-led business founders) as they develop a unique model for their businesses. All Fellows will be expected to commit to pursuing Social Impact in some way through their work.
  • Who is eligible?
  • For our first year, we’ve hand-selected a number of promising entrepreneurs to apply based off of a variety of factors:

    First, the business has to be founded by a woman (at least 18 years old) and headquartered in the United States, Canada, Mexico, or Brazil--the countries where Sephora Americas operates.

    Second, we are looking for early stage businesses not yet carried by Sephora or distributed widely by others. We’re looking for those that have the most to gain from what we hope to offer. This means businesses with more than an idea (at least a lab sample or prototype), but probably not much real revenue yet.

    And finally, we’re looking for entrepreneurs passionate about beauty, social good, and building Social Impact into their businesses. We believe that doing good is also good business.

    If selected, you must be able to attend our Bootcamp in San Francisco on April 24th through April 30th, 2016 and the Demo Day on August 29th - 31st.
  • What do we mean by “beauty business”?
  • A beauty business could create a cosmetic product—make-up, skincare, haircare or fragrance—or a new beauty accessory. But a beauty business could also be about a new technology that takes an innovative approach to solving a beauty-related challenge or a new service model that will improve the customer experience. We’re looking for fresh ideas and innovative approaches to beauty.
  • What will Fellows receive?
  • Bootcamp: Fellows receive in-depth instruction and feedback through an intensive week-long Bootcamp in San Francisco with expert guidance from Sephora and award-winning design firm IDEO.

    Mentorship: Fellows receive one-on-one mentorship from specially selected Sephora executives, based on the entrepreneur’s needs, in addition to networking opportunities with industry experts and feedback on their Demo Day presentations.

    Design Support: Monthly design support mentorship will provided by IDEO for the duration of the program.

    Grants & Funding: In addition to two all-expense paid trips for program events, fellows will receive a $2,500 grant and may be eligible for additional loans.

    We’ll also endeavor to secure exposure for the program via our media partnerships and through our social media channels.
  • If a selected business has two female co-founders do they both get to participate?
  • Unfortunately only one founder per business may participate. In cases where there are two female co-founders, we recommend that the CEO co-founder joins us. However, if there’s a compelling case for a co-founder with a different role to join us, we’d love to hear it.
  • Will Fellows’ product or technology be available in Sephora stores?
  • We can’t offer any guarantees on this one. However, Fellows will have a chance to pitch directly to senior leaders from Sephora’s Merchandising and Innovation teams as part of the Demo Day.
  • What are the selection criteria?
  • There are a variety of criteria our team uses to make the final selection. Some of the most important are:

    Vision — Do you have the passion needed to make your business successful?

    Innovation — Are you solving a specific need that is not yet served by an existing company?

    Product — Do you have a working prototype that has been iterated on at least once to incorporate user feedback?

    Plan — Do you have a business model or a strategy to grow your company?

    Social Impact — Are you eager to incorporate Social Impact into your business mission (if you haven’t already)?

    While not a firm requirement at the time of application, founders who go through Sephora Accelerate are expected to commit to incorporating social impact into their business mission—i.e. sourcing locally, adopting environmentally friendly practices, or otherwise creating positive impact in their community.
  • What are the key dates of the program?
  • Invited applicants must submit their applications by December 31, 2015.

    Finalists will be notified by February 8, 2016 and will advance to a final round of interviews held in February.

    The 10 fellows will be notified early March and announced by March 25th, 2016.

    The Bootcamp takes place April 24-30th 2016 and the Demo Day session will happen August 29-31.

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