Fort Lily in NYC!

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800 women-founded companies applied. 150 was chosen. Fort Lily was in that number. UBS Financial Services and multi million dollar "fashion-hacker" Rent the Runway came together to host Project Entrepreneur Venture Competition: a weekend intensive where women-led businesses gain the tools and insights to run bigger, better companies. Fort Lily was among women of EVERY variety: tech, sports science, fashion, health, beauty, engineering and so much more. In the end the 10 ventures chosen would pitch to win $10,000 cash and an 5-week intensive to grow their venture. Business cards flew, names were dropped, notes and ideas were exchanged, but most importantly, valuable friendships and partnerships were made. Here's an exclusive look Class of 2016..

Meet the "Chrysler" Cohorts!

Cohort teams were named after notable buildings around New York, and as far as we could tell, the Chrysler table was the place to be! At the beginning of the first day we were each given a button to write a problem we needed to solve for our ventures. We were then instructed to trade buttons with our neighbor to solve each others' problems by the end of the conference. HUGE shout out to Surya of TOSAN who got me contact information for brand identity giant LIPPINCOTT.

 The indomitable Paris Williford joined Fort Lily as our co-founder! Talk about networking wizard. Paris represented the Fort Lily Vision in ways that made us  proud ! Follow her on Instagram  here!

The indomitable Paris Williford joined Fort Lily as our co-founder! Talk about networking wizard. Paris represented the Fort Lily Vision in ways that made us proud! Follow her on Instagram here!

 Teamwork makes the DREAM work.

Teamwork makes the DREAM work.

Day 1

Welcome Breakfast: a conversation with Jenny Fleiss & Jenn Hyman, CEO's and co-founders of Rent the Runway: navigating revenue and investment return expectations in the world of venture capital. Moderated by ABC News Chief Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. Since we were at a venture competition we were here to talk money and how to graft your business into a money making machine. Jenn and Jenny gave us insight from startup to multi-million dollar company.

Two things we learned: 1. Be SCRAPPY: do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door or get your voice heard. 2. Tell the WORLD: you have to be crazy to be an entrepreneur so unless someone is as crazy as you, no one's going to take your. Don't be afraid to share your passions with others. No one else is bold enough to lose sleep over your venture the way you are.

Session 1: How Customers Can Live Your Brand Global media and branding goliath LIPPINCOTT lead the informative discussion and workshop on generating memorable engaging brand experiences. LIPPINCOTT has branded Starbucks, Walmart, Southwest Air and MANY more notable organizations. We worked with their team to workshop the branding experiences for two major hotel chains: Even and the Hyatt. This was by far, my workshop favorite.

Power Luncheon with Bethenny Frankel, (founder of Skinnygirl Cocktails) - You may best know her as the tiny powerhouse and entrepreneur on the Housewives of New York. Bethenny shared her common and no-nonsense approach to being scrappy as an entrepreneur. She has a genuine, real and vivid personality. She talked candidly about what it takes to be a entrepreneur in a man's world and how to leverage your gifts to get ahead.

Session 2: Best Practices in Digital and Social Marketing - Simple lesson here: it's not about the quantity of your followship: but the continued engagement of quality followship. Slow and steady wins the race.

Dinner and NPR's "The Moth" - Storytelling Workshop - If you're an NPR listener then you're probably familiar with NPR's The Moth: a storytelling platform for just about anyone who has the will to share. We were taught how to tell effective stories and shared in front of the cohort tables.

Day 2

Session 3: Getting it DONE - in this session we learned the tricks of the trade

The Competition: We were not allowed to record or photograph the competition. The stakes were high and the competition was REAL. On the table was a $10,000 investment and 5-week intensive up for grabs and all 10 female founded businesses did excellently! Click here watch the videos featuring the winners! You can also find a full layout of the event and videos here.

How Fort Lily does NYC

The average person is supposed to take on average, 10,000 steps per day. According to our Fitbits, Paris and I took a combined 42,000K+ steps on Friday ALONE. We explored Chinatown, Little Italy, Battery Park and the rest of the financial district. We did some major touristing on the Brooklyn Bridge, saw the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty, gallivanted around Times Square and even hailed our first taxi!


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Friday morningish we popped into the TINY yet uber popular Egg Shop where we were seated in a window corner immediately. I ordered the Steak & Egg and Paris ordered a custom Egg & Cheese. The sandwich was SO good that Paris talked about it every morning until we left New York. In Times Square we ate at Forrest Gump-themed restaurant Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and the night before we left, we were blessed with specialty hot dog spot Crif Dogs. I got a Morning Dog: a bacon egg and cheese dog that changed everything I thought I knew about breakfast..and hot dogs. We were told that the BEST donut in New York was at Donut Plant. After having a Peanut Butter and Banana cream square donut I was HOOKED.


We stayed in the Millennium Hilton located in the financial district of Lower Manhattan. Our window opened right up to The Oculus at World Trade with a stunning view of One World Trade and buildings in Battery Park. (We conferenced just down the road at the Conrad NY). It wouldn't have been a proper visit without a little sight seeing. Check out the photos below featuring the rest of our travels!