Doyenne Evergreen Fund Overview

Please note: all funding remaining in the current evergreen fund is only available for equity investments for women-owned ventures in the Milwaukee, wi region who meet the requirements and are approved by our investment committee.
additional information about this is outlined below...


What is the Doyenne Evergreen Fund?

The Doyenne Evergreen Fund is an innovative approach to getting critical dollars into businesses that are led by women and people of color. Doyenne has raised dollars from state and city government, community organizations, foundations, and private donors. Many of these contributors have requirements Doyenne must adhere to when it comes to how and where we can distribute dollars to ventures across Wisconsin. Additionally, the Fund is paired with the Doyenne Accelerator, which provides coaching assistance to all entrepreneurs who receive funding. Dollars paired with coaching and technical support is a powerful combination!

Who is eligible to apply?

Update 4/21/2021  - Doyenne only has funding available at this time for women-led ventures headquarter in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin region who are seeking equity investments of $25,000-$50,000. If you do not meet this and the above outlined criteria we are unable to fund your venture at this time.

The Doyenne Evergreen Fund is specifically designed to support ventures led by women and people of color. The Evergreen Fund focuses on Wisconsin-based businesses that are doing something INNOVATIVE in their industry and are able to SCALE to a national level.

While Doyenne supports all-types of businesses through our professional development programs  (coaching, Triple Threat Venture Training , Iso-Learning, Learning Lab), the Evergreen Fund dollars are committed to supporting innovation and significant growth. Research shows that businesses led by women are significantly smaller than those led by men. Doyenne believes this is because women-led businesses, that have potential to scale, are not adequately funded. In an effort to close this significant gap, the Evergreen Fund focuses on innovative businesses that can scale to a national level.

Please note: This focus on innovation and scaling means that some businesses, unfortunately, will not fit the selection criteria. In particular, it will be challenging for brick-and-mortar retail stores and some service-based businesses to get funding from this particular mechanism. This doesn’t mean these businesses are not valuable, it just means they may not fit the Evergreen Fund.

Businesses must meet the following criteria to apply for Doyenne funding. Only entrepreneurs who can answer “YES” to all of these questions, will be granted access to the full application.

  • The business is 51% women and/or minority owned.
  • The business is intending, and has the potential, to scale to a national level.
  • The business demonstrates innovation in its industry.
  • The business is registered with Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI)
  • The business is registered as a C Corporation, S Corporation, or LLC.
  • The business is headquartered in Wisconsin.
  • The business has fewer than 100 employees, 51% of whom are based in Wisconsin.
  • The business has the potential to increase jobs in Wisconsin.
  • The business has been in operation for fewer than 10 years.
  • The business has not received more than $10M in private equity investment.

What kinds of funding are available?

The Doyenne Evergreen Fund offers three types of financial support to businesses, each with specific amounts:

  • Grants ($5K) - Doyenne has allotted all Grant dollars to companies at this time. All applicants, regardless of meeting criteria, who are seeking grants will not be awarded funding
  • Equity investments ($25-50K)

As a general guideline, Doyenne will not commit more than $50,000 in total to any one business, unless there are special circumstances that warrant it. If you need more than $50K in funding, we suggest you look for additional sources of funds that could be combined with Doyenne dollars.

What is the process to apply for funding?

Doyenne has designed a multi-step application process. Depending on the type and amount of funding you are seeking, the process may be more or less complex. The funding process may take a number of weeks to complete, so please plan accordingly.

Step 1: Complete the Screener Tool

To save both you and Doyenne time, we have designed a Screening Tool that, based upon your answers, will help us decide if you qualify to submit an application. Please review the selection criteria above to determine if your business is eligible for these dollars. As part of the screening process, you will be asked to review and agree to our Terms of Service (click here for a pdf version).

Step 2: Complete the Application

Only businesses that meet the criteria to apply, as indicated by the Screening Tool, will have the opportunity to complete the initial Doyenne Funding Application. We encourage you print and review the full application before you begin completing the online version. You will be able to save your application and return to it later.

Step 3: Internal & Committee Review

Doyenne staff & community members who are part of our Investment Commitee will review your initial application and follow-up with you if there are any issues or if anything seems missing. Once your application is deemed complete, it will be forwarded to the Evergreen Fund Selection Committee for review. The committee meets quarterly to review applications for funding.

Doyenne staff will contact you with the results of the selection committee review and, if appropriate, what your next steps will be. If you are applying for an equity investment AND you are chosen to move forward, you will be asked to provide additional information (pitch).

Step 4: Doyenne Accelerator

Every entrepreneur who receives funding for her business is required to participate in the Doyenne Accelerator. We know that financial support is only ONE of many types of assistance entrepreneurs need. Our Accelerator is designed to help entrepreneurs build their skills and network, all of which contribute to the success of the venture.

What happens if a business is NOT funded?

If your business meets the requirements in order to apply, but does not receive funding, we encourage you to apply again after six months. We receive lots of applications and have limited dollars available so we have to choose the businesses that best meet our goals.

Even if you don’t receive funding from us, you can still join Doyenne and participate in our programming, which can help you develop the skills and network to grow your business. We hope that all applicants join our powerful and inspiring community of entrepreneurs.

2021 Application Review Schedule


Q2 Review
May 1 – Application Opens
May 6 — Evergeen Fund Q&A Session (4:00-4:45 PM CST)               
May 19 — Evergeen Fund Q&A Session (9:30-10:15 AM CST) 
June 1 — Application Deadline
July 1 – Applicants notified of decisions and possible next steps


Q3 Review - Pending if dollars are available after Q2 reviewal
September 1 – Application Opens
September 9 — Evergreen Fund Q&A Session (TBD)
September 23 — Evergreen Fund Q&A Session (TBD)
October 1 – Application Deadline
October 31 – Applicants notified of decisions and possible next steps

Q4 Review - Pending if dollars are still available
October 1 – Application Opens 
November 3 — Evergreen Fund Q&A Session (TBD)
November 30 – Application Deadline 
December 17 – Applicants notified of decisions and possible next steps

Triple Threat Venture Training

Every entrepreneur who receives funding from the Doyenne Evergreen Fund is required to participate in our Triple Threat Venture Training Program. We understand that funding is only one type of assistance that entrepreneurs need to develop their skills and build their venture. The program is designed to provide the entrepreneur with coaching, community, and visibility. It also provides Doyenne the opportunity to track the progress of businesses in our investment portfolio.

Download PDF Version of Application

We strongly encourage you to review the application before you begin completing it online. Click HERE to download a copy of the application so you can prepare your answers. Please note that we only accept online applications. This printable version is for review purposes only.

DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION