Sephora Accelerate is dedicated to building a community of innovative female founders in beauty. The months-long program begins with a one-week bootcamp where founders acquire the necessary skills to create a successful business. Together, you learn from beauty mentors and seasoned entrepreneurs and prepare for a final Demo Day in the fall.
Technology and sustainability related beauty businesses may apply through this open application. Applications from beauty product businesses are accepted by invitation only.
Accelerate begins with a week devoted to working on your business. Receive help structuring your business model, market analysis, growth plan, and funding strategy.
Tackle business challenges and grow through one-on-one mentoring from beauty industry leaders and Sephora leaders.
In addition to two all-expense paid trips to San Francisco for program events, you will receive a monetary grant and may be eligible for additional funding.
Present your company to industry experts, potential venture partners, and senior leaders within Sephora on Demo Day.
New cohort announced
New cohort announced,
San Francisco, CA
Bootcamp Week, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA
Demo Day, San Francisco, CA
“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.”
"I am most excited to have a group of female beauty entrepreneurs with whom to build a
supportive community. So many times in my journey, I have needed (and simply wanted) guidance from someone who understands the challenges that come along with building a beauty business."
“I went into this with the goal of creating a global beauty brand. Sephora helped me figure out how to align the brand for growth, in terms of what the next products would be and also how we look at collections. This really helped me frame out what the next couple of years would look like.”
Accelerate holds an open application process for technology and sustainability businesses relevant to the beauty industry. The application process is by invitation only for merchandising (traditional make-up, skin, fragrance and hair accessory or product) businesses.
Eligible businesses must be founded or co-founded by a woman (at least 18 years old) and headquartered in countries where Sephora Americas operates—United States, Canada, Mexico, or Brazil.
Your company must be an early stage business not yet distributed widely by others. Our interest is to help those who have the most to gain from what Accelerate offers, which means businesses with more than an idea (at least a lab sample or prototype), but probably not much real revenue yet.
You are an entrepreneur who is passionate about beauty, social good, and building social impact into your business. We believe that doing good is also good business.
If selected, you must be able to attend the Accelerate Bootcamp in San Francisco (April 17-23, 2017) and the Demo Day events (August 27-30th, 2017).
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 responsibly, adopting environmentally friendly practices, or otherwise creating positive impact in their community.
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.
Accelerate is a key initiative of a larger program called Sephora Stands, which aims 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 by 2020.
Technically speaking it’s defined as, “Social: of or relating to society.” and “Impact: to have a strong effect on someone or something.” At Sephora, we are committed to using our strengths to make the world a more beautiful place. Sephora Accelerate represents one of our efforts to incorporate social impact in our business model.
Each of our women-led business founders will be expected to commit to pursuing social impact in some way through their work. A business could reflect its commitment to social impact through environmentally-friendly actions, sourcing raw materials sustainably, donating a portion of proceeds to charity, or any number of other ways.
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. For sustainability related beauty businesses an example might be a new packaging solution or compostable cellophane discovery. We’re looking for fresh ideas and innovative approaches to beauty.
Unfortunately, only one founder per business may participate. In cases where there are two female co-founders, we recommend the CEO co-founder join us. However, we’ll entertain the idea if a compelling case can be made for a co-founder with a different role to join us.
Bootcamp—Fellows receive in-depth instruction and feedback through an intensive week-long bootcamp in San Francisco with expert guidance from Sephora and program partners.
Mentorship—Fellows receive one-on-one mentorship from specially selected Sephora leaders, in addition to networking opportunities with industry experts and feedback on their Demo Day presentations.
Grants and funding—In addition to two all-expense paid trips for program events, fellows will receive a monetary 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.
At Demo Day, each Accelerate Fellow will present her company to industry experts, potential venture partners, and senior leaders within Sephora. Helpful feedback, new connections, and congratulations are shared in a celebratory gathering after the presentations conclude.
We can’t offer any guarantees on this, however, participants will have a chance to pitch directly to senior leaders from Sephora’s Merchandising and Innovation teams as part of the Demo Day.