Frank + Oak will dole out at least four $10,000 grants to Canadian and American startups several times per year as part of a new initiative seeking to give young tech companies a much-needed boost.
According to La Presse’s Maxime Bergeron, the hip online fashion store that counts 2.5 million people as online shoppers will pay one per cent of profits from each item sold to the new fund. Moreover, the tech company will ensure that half of all recipients are women founders.
To create the new fund Frank + Oak partnered up with General Assembly, an educational company that provides online and in-person courses, particularly in design, marketing, technology and data. In addition to the $10,000, the successful candidates will gain access to a program of training and mentoring.
As Bergeron pointed out, just 16 per cent of start-ups that received capital between 2009 and 2014 were founded by women, according to Crunchbase.
“We’re at a pivotal juncture in our economy where the old paradigms no longer work,” said Song. “Our competitiveness as a society depends not on big, slow-moving businesses, but on nimble innovators with purpose at heart. We’ve partnered with General Assembly… to nurture these doers and support equal access to opportunity,” said the company’s CEO, Ethan Song.
“Education, careers, and opportunities in technology should not be limited to any one demographic or sector,” added General Assembly’s cofounder, Matthew Brimer.
As part of the new fund, Frank + Oak will also give out two fellowships to General Assembly’s Opportunity Fund, which provides full educational stipends and support for underrepresented groups.
“We’re honoured to have Frank + Oak as another partner supporting our scholarship program, the Opportunity Fund, to help ensure that anyone who is willing to work hard and follow their passions has a chance at a meaningful career pursuing work that betters the world,” said Brimer.
Frank + Oak said it has frequently made entrepreneurs and innovators “the heroes of its campaigns,” including A-Trak, Philippe Cousteau, Danny Bowien, Dave 1, Adam Garone, Jennifer Puno, Elizabeth Plank and others.
Moreover, it has benefitted from timely cash injections throughout its infancy, just the help they’re seeking to give other young tech companies. Frank + Oak has received a whopping $21 million in total venture and angel capital.
The group opened 16 stores across North America and has more than 200 employees.