<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1109988332988077&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to content

Powering Business Ownership for Women and People of Color

Join an entrepreneurial community committed to the growth and success of underrepresented founders.


Rebalancing Opportunity & Access at the Earliest Stages

mPOWER programs are designed to rebalance opportunity and access for startups building physical products that are founded by women and people of color. Harnessing the existing resources of the nation’s leading independent innovation center for physical product companies, each participant receives hands-on support to turn ideas into hardtech businesses.

Applications are now open for the 2024 mPOWER Women Founders cohort. 

Apply for mPOWER Women Founders

mPOWER Program Eligibility & Benefits

There is no fee to participate in the program as membership is covered by program partners. To be eligible for the next mPOWER cohort, you must be a woman innovator and/or founder, have a clear problem that you are solving with a physical product, and can dedicate 7-10 hours a week during the 6-month program beginning in February 2024. The current application deadline is Sunday, December 31, 2023, by 11:59 PM CT.

The application period for other cohorts, including mPOWER Black Founders, is rolling.

If accepted into the program, you will receive:

  • Sponsored 6-month membership at mHUB with Shared Workspace membership benefits
  • A monthly stipend
  • Access to a $5,000 microgrant to cover startup business and/or product development costs
  • Structured, hands-on programming for building a business and product at its earliest stages
  • Brainstorming sessions for the design and development of your physical product
  • Access to $6M worth of prototyping equipment
  • Training sessions and 1-1 support for prototyping
  • Dedicated support from a network of industry-leading mentors, mHUB staff, and founders
  • Networking opportunities
  • Monthly speaker series to hear from women entrepreneurs
  • Exclusive access to mHUB's Catalyze Experts in Residence

What Does the 6-month Program Look Like?

Workshops will take place on Wednesdays.

Month 1

  • Orientation and Community Building
  • Critical questions: What problem am I solving? Who am I as a leader?
  • Mentor Matching

Month 2

  • Customer Discovery and Market Validation
  • Who is my customer? What is their need? Is there a market for solving this problem?

Month 3

  • Product Concept / Definition and Roadmap
    What is my value proposition?
  • Can I design and build a solution to meet my customers' needs?

Month 4

  • Relationship Management and Business Protection
  • Who do I need to partner with? How do I manage these relationships?

Month 5

  • Building Your Brand and Selling Your Product(s)
  • What is my brand? What is my marketing plan? How do I sell my products? Do I have product / market fit?


Month 6

  • Getting the Resources You Need to Scale
  • Where do I go next? What resources do I need? Where do I find these resources? How do I prepare for critical meetings?

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this program open to?

mPOWER is organized into two cohorts a year, one for women founders and one for Black founders with future cohorts planned to launch in 2024. To qualify, participants must have a clear problem that you are trying to solve through a physical product and be able to dedicate 7-10 hours per week for the entirety of the 6-month program.


Where does this program take place?

Sessions take place at mHUB's innovation center at 1623 W. Fulton St, Chicago, IL, 60612. There will be some virtual accommodation for hybrid sessions, but the majority of programming will take place in person.

When do applications open and close?

Applications for the next cohort of mPOWER Women Founders are open now and close on Sunday, December 31 at 11:59 PM.

The application period for other cohorts, including mPOWER Black Founders, is rolling.

How much does the program cost?

There is no cost to participate. mHUB membership fee are paid for by partners. Additionally, participants will receive a monthly stipend of $500 to participate and a one-time $5,000 microgrant issued between months two and three.

Does mHUB provide any funding as part of this program?

Participants will receive a monthly stipend of $500 to participate and a one-time $5,000 microgrant issued between months two and three. Additionally, founders are able to apply to mHUB’s Equity in Innovation Scholarship fund which will award up to $25,000 in product development grants to selected founders.  


Will participants be able to produce a full prototype during the program?

Every product is different. Momentum in product development is dependent on the current stage of the participant, how much time they have available to contribute, complexity of product, and how much the participant has done in the areas of customer discovery/prototyping. That being said, all participants will have full access to mHUB resources and talent to make progress.  

During the interview process, the mHUB team can provide further insight to this question.


When will the next mPOWER program begin?

The 2024 mPOWER Women Founders cohort will be selected in January, with workshops to begin in February. 

mPOWER Program Supported by

Join an mPOWER cohort

If you’re an aspiring innovator, and have a clear product idea or solution, mHUB will help you make it a reality.