April 25, 2005 -- A program that has helped women secure over $3 billion worth of venture capital is recruiting Midwestern women entrepreneurs for a six-week "boot camp" in which they will polish their pitches and, hopefully, find investors.

The Springboard 2005 Midwest Venture Forum, co-hosted by Springboard Enterprises and Northwestern University's Center for Women Entrepreneurs in Technology (CWET), is a six-month program that offers women-led companies a combination of intensive training as well as networking opportunities.

Participants will have the opportunity to work with a team of experts, including investors, accountants, lawyers, bankers and business development professionals. After intensive coaching, the women will give their polished presentations to an audience of potential investors.

Nancy Sullivan, executive director of CWET, said that the "boot camp" is especially helpful to entrepreneurs in tech sectors who often have difficulty making their business ideas easy to understand.

"We teach the women how to do the dance," she said.

Amy Millman, Springboard's founder and president, said the event also offers women the opportunity to break into the male-dominated world of venture capital. A study produced by Growthink Research and Re:invention, Inc. found that in 2003 women-led firms received a mere 4.2% of venture capital.

"We find a lot of women just aren't involved with the networks," Millman said.

Women entrepreneurs interested in applying for the forum can find entry information at Springboard Enterprises.

Published on: Apr 22, 2005