The mission of the FSF Alumni Dream Grant is to invest in the future leaders of fashion and to create a new generation of FSF companies. Our vision is to prepare FSF alumni-led seed & early stage startups for placement at accelerators or other investment programs through mentorship from industry experts and an equity-free grant of $50,000. Learn more about the program in our FAQ section below and stay tuned for our application submission process, which will open on January 1st, 2018.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who can apply?
FSF Alumni Association members working on launching their own fashion startups, or early and seed stage FSF-alumni led fashion startups whose leaders are no longer enrolled at an undergraduate college or university.
Does the winner of the FSF Alumni Dream Grant get placed at an accelerator of choice?
No, FSF Alumni Dream Grant recipients will not be placed at accelerator or incubator of their choice. Recipients of the grant are expected to leverage insights from their industry mentors and invest their funding wisely in order to make their startup eligible for consideration of accelerators, incubators or VC companies.
My company currently employs an FSF alumnus in a freelance design position. Can we apply?
No, FSF alumni must be involved in a permanent, senior level position in order for your start-up to apply for the FSF Alumni Dream Grant.
I am currently employed full-time and working on my startup part-time. Can I apply?
Yes. As long as you have previously received an FSF scholarship, have completed your undergraduate degree, and are an official member of the FSF Alumni Association, you may apply for the FSF Alumni Dream Grant.
My company already received funding, can we apply?
Yes, you can apply to the program if you have received funding. Please disclose details regarding past rounds of financing on your application.
My company does not make clothes, can we apply?
The FSF Alumni Dream Grant focuses on seed and early stage companies within the fashion industry including but not limited to new product brands across apparel, accessories, home and beauty product categories, and technology companies with applications within fashion and retail.
Do grant recipients need to give up equity to the FSF in order to receive funding?
No, the FSF is a non-profit organization; the $50,000 monetary award will be awarded to the FSF Alumni Dream Grant recipient equity-free.
As a recipient of the FSF Alumni Dream Grant, am I expected to contribute anything to the Fashion Scholarship Fund?
We expect that as your company grows you continue to stay engaged and supportive of our organization.
I am a former Geoffrey Beene scholar. Can I apply for the FSF Alumni Dream Grant?
Do I need to disclose business relationships that I have with members of the FSF’s Board of Governors or Alumni Association?
Yes. In order to ensure a fair judging process, we ask that you disclose any relationships that you or your business have with any member of the FSF’s Board of Governors (including members of the FSF’s Executive Committee) or any Director of the FSF Alumni Association, any of their relatives and any business at which these people (including relatives) are employed or have an ownership interest.
Examples of these relationships include ownership relationships (e.g., owning equity in your company), employment relationships (e.g., working at your company) and business relationships (e.g., as (or ownership of or employment at) a supplier, customer, service provider or service recipient of your company).
We ask that you disclose existing relationships as well as those that may potentially occur in the future. For example, if there have been any discussions regarding investments in your company, employment at your company or business relationships with your company, please include these.
Although not a list of all types of relationships that require disclosure, the following are examples of relationships that you will need to disclose:
- An FSF Governor/Alumni Association Director or a related person or company has invested in the applicant or expressed an interest in investing in the applicant
- An FSF Governor/Alumni Association Director or a relative is an employee of the applicant or will be hired if the applicant receives funding
- An FSF Governor/Alumni Association Director or a related person or company has (or will have) an ownership interest in (or is) a current or contemplated business partner of the applicant
- An FSF Governor/Alumni Association Director or a relative is (or will become) an employee of a current or contemplated business partner of the applicant
Please note that the existence of a relationship will not necessarily disqualify you as an applicant. However, certain relationships may result in the determination that making an FSF Alumni Dream Grant to you might not be appropriate or permitted given the purpose of this program and certain conflict of interest requirements that the FSF has adopted.
How many grants are awarded each year?
The FSF Alumni Dream Grant will be awarded to one startup company per year.
What is the FSF’s policy regarding privacy of information provided in the application and non-disclosure agreements?
We will use the information that applicants provide during the application process for the purpose of selecting a grant recipient. We will provide application materials only to members of the FSF Board and Alumni Association involved in the selection process and will advise them that their use of this information should be limited to selecting a grant recipient. However, the FSF and members of the FSF Board and Alumni Association will be permitted to disclose any information if requested or required by law, rule, or regulation, or order or other action of a judicial, regulatory, administrative, or governmental authority.
How are applications judged?
We rate each applicant on five factors: viability of idea, growth potential, development and vision, progress evaluation, and brand fit. Using these criteria, applications will first be evaluated by an Alumni Association vetting panel which will include a phone or skype interview, and then by an executive panel including the FSF Executive Committee. Below, you will find more detailed descriptions for what we are looking for within each criteria:
VIABILITY OF IDEA
The applicant’s product/service is a solution to a gap in the market that has been well-defined by the applicant. A customer base willing to pay for the applicant’s product/service exists and has been well-defined by the applicant.
The applicant’s product/service cannot be easily replicated.
The applicant has taken measures to protect their ideas, designs and brand through patents and/or trademarks.
The applicant has demonstrated that their product/service is urgently needed in the market place through quantifiable analysis and testing.
The applicant has sized the market for its idea, and its potential reach.
The applicant has clearly identified their direct and indirect competitors, and described competitive advantages of their product/service.
DEVELOPMENT & VISION
The applicant demonstrated an extensive, well-researched sales and marketing plan that includes a mix of proven, cost-effective sales and marketing tactics.
The applicant has conducted thorough risk analysis of their venture, identifying major sources of risks, and described how they would mitigate them.
The applicant clearly defined how they will attract and retain the right team to deliver their product/service to market.
The applicant demonstrated a specific action plan on how they will use funds & resources from the FSF to deliver results outlined in their business plan within a reasonable time period.
The applicant has effectively and efficiently used resources available to them thus far to develop expertise in their field, and to attract customers, marketing and distribution partnerships and other alliances, demonstrating significant personal investment into venture.
The applicant’s idea has momentum.
The applicant demonstrated respect and appreciation for the FSF and can be expected to continue to stay engaged and supportive of our organization as their company grows.
As part of the application process, will I be able to solicit individual FSF Board members and judges for further angel funding? How about if I win?
Applicants of the FSF Alumni Dream Grant are strongly discouraged from soliciting FSF Board members or judges for potential funding. While it should be noted that winners of the grant will receive access to industry executives specifically for the purpose of mentorship and coaching, the purpose of the grant is not to provide a mechanism to separately raise funds from FSF Board members or judges. In addition, solicitations may present conflicts of interest that could disqualify an applicant from receiving a grant, as discussed above.
I am not currently based out of New York. Can I still apply?
Yes. The winner will be announced via email and industry mentor assignments will be conducted via skype wherever necessary.
What is the 2017 FSF Alumni Entrepreneur Grant timeline?
Submission Period: January 1, 2018 – April 30, 2018
Review Window: May 1 - May 31, 2018
Grants Awarded/Recipients Announced: June 1, 2018
One-on-one Industry Mentor meet-ups & summer events: June 1, 2018 – August 31, 2018
I would like to start working on my application today. What will I be required to provide?
While the submission period will not open until January 1, 2018, listed below are all sections of the Alumni Dream Grant application:
Company Name *
Company Website *
Role in company (e.g., CEO, Founder) *
FSF Class *
How many people are on your team (excluding yourself)? *
How many team members are paid (excluding yourself)? *
How many team members are full time (excluding yourself)? *
How many interns have worked with you in the past year? *
Please list the members of your team, their roles within your company and their LinkedIn profiles (if applicable). *
Describe your business *
Who is your target market? *
What is the size of your target market? *
Who are your key competitors and why? *
How does your product or service stand out from your competition? *
Please attach your complete business plan (pdf format) *
CURRENT INVESTMENT & RESULTS
How many years have you been in business? *
Are you working for others or attending graduate school? *
Have you ever been part of a business incubator or accelerator? If yes, please provide details (where, when, for how long) *
Tell us about how you've funded and plan to fund your business *
If you have been funded in the past, please provide details (how much & from whom) *
Has your business generated revenue? Please provide details. *
Please share any other metrics by which you measure your success.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
Describe the biggest challenges your business is facing. *
Describe in detail how you would use the resourced provided to you by the FSF Alumni Dream Grant. *
Please attach any other materials you would like to be reviewed by the judging committee.