Athena Initiative

Athena 2021


Female Founders Pitch Competition

Applications Due: 10/4/21 | 11:59 PM PST



Information Sessions:

Wed, 9/15 | 12-12:50 PM | JFF 239

Fri, 9/24 | 4-5 PM | Zoom

Register here:



Ventures can be from any industry. Entering teams must have at least one of the following:

  • Current USC student (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Current USC faculty or staff
  • USC Alumni less than 5 years from graduation
  • Your teams must have a female founder or co-founder that fits the criteria mentioned above



1st Place: $10,000

2nd Place: $5,000

3rd Place: $2,500

Every year, the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC Marshall, in partnership with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC Marshall Master of Science in Entrepreneurship & Innovation program, host the Athena Women's Entrepreneurship Summit -- a Fall semester event at which female founders and allies meet, present, share, and connect. In conjunction with the Athena Summit, we also run the Athena Women's Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition, a two-month long program that allows female-led companies to gain awareness and seek funding; the finals of Athena Pitch are held at the Athena Summit itself.

 The Athena Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative is designed to:

  • build networks for women entrepreneurs -- helping create the lasting relationships and connections that help founders succeed
  • increase the number of women founders -- providing the environment, mentors, and resources essential to launching successful USC-affiliated, women-led (or co-led) businesses.
  • provide access to funding and mentors -- supporting women entrepreneurs as they develop skills, seek funding, and explore the various additional needs of an emerging business
  • foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem at USC -- connecting mentors, founders, investors, executives, and resources in a way that benefits everyone on campus