Diverse marching band.
Good news for diverse communities. Photo: Pixabay.

UBS and The Fourth Floor launch new scholarship program

This new educational opportunity is aimed at diversely founded pre-seed and early-stage startups.


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UBS and The Fourth Floor, a market network dedicated to getting more women on the boards and capitalization tables of companies of all sizes, recently announced the launch of “The Fourth Floor x UBS,” a scholarship program with which they will support 50 pre- and early-stage companies founded by members of diverse communities, as well as 120 interns who are candidates for diverse boards.

The financial entity, which also joined as the most recent Greater Impact Partner of The Fourth Floor, committed to advancing at least 170 women's careers on for-profit boards through the Pay It Forward initiative, highlights that this it is the first scholarship program of its kind.

“Our platform, supported by a digital board seat exchange, investment club, job board and membership community, powers an incentive framework designed to get more women in the boardroom and on cap tables, funded and writing checks. Considering UBS’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, we know they will be a perfect partner,” said Breen Sullivan, Fourth Floor’s founder.

Data to Take Into Account

From the program, the following figures stand out regarding the inclusion of diverse women in corporate boards of directors:

  • The U.S. market continues to lose $4.4-4.5 billion a year by not adequately investing in women from diverse communities.
  • These figures come after a maximum of five years in VC funding.
  • Black-founded startups received just 1.3% of all growth and venture capital funding in 2021.
  • Latino founders saw 2% of all U.S. venture capital investments.

Changing the Landscape

The new fellowship program will focus on developing and leveraging early-stage and advisory boards and connecting diverse founders with a deep bank of experienced advisors to facilitate growth and funding opportunities. All startups considered should be interested in adding at least one of these advisors to their advisory or governance boards.

“Creating strategic partnerships to support business owners, particularly at their early-growth stage, is a priority. And board diversity for these companies is a business imperative. We’re excited to partner with The Fourth Floor to drive inclusive growth and expand opportunities for BIPOC and women founders through the Fellowship Program while furthering UBS’s mission to meaningfully engage all investors through their wealth journeys,” said Jane Schwartzberg, Head of Strategic Client Segments for UBS.

The year-long program includes a dedicated board boot camp, four main events and the UBS Monthly Matching Program, scheduled to run from October 2022 to May 2023. Recipients will also have access to The Fourth Floor Job Board and resources.

In addition, candidate board members and founders/co-founders of participating companies who identify as female or non-binary will be invited to join The Fourth Floor's private membership community of more than 1,450 entrepreneurs, executives and investors. Membership includes access to exclusive programming, resources, templates, dedicated industry and professional forums.

“Participating ventures will post advisory and governing board opportunities, recruit for, and be matched to diverse advisory board members, directors and observers by leveraging The Fourth Floor’s AI-powered Board Seat Exchange and pool of 900+ qualified candidates. Participating board candidates will have the opportunity to search for and be matched to over 700+ potential board opportunities with participating ventures and across all 500+ ecosystem companies,” it is highlighted.

The application period for interested businesses is now open and will close on September 1.

About Fourth Floor

The Fourth Floor is a marketplace network dedicated to bringing more women onto the boards and capitalization tables of companies of all sizes, including startups, as a way to start or advance their board careers. It also supports women and entrepreneurs from diverse communities, angels, aspiring limited partners, and women-led funds through access to financing and growth opportunities by leveraging governance and advisory boards and the Back Room Investment Club.

About UBS

Offering impactful investment solutions, products and thought leadership, UBS is the leading global wealth manager, providing large-scale and diversified asset management, focused investment banking capabilities, and personal and corporate banking services in Switzerland. The firm focuses on businesses that have a strong competitive position in their target markets, are capital efficient, and have attractive prospects for structural growth or long-term profitability.


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