Jeannine Shao Collins took her 16-year-old daughter’s idea for a way to champion young women entrepreneurs and ran with it in 2014. Girl Starter is a reality television show that centers on 18- to 24-year-old entrepreneurs who compete for $100,000 and guidance from a network of mentors. Fresh off its first season on Discovery TLC, the show toured several cities casting for its second season in May and June.
Collins got there without funding from venture capital firms. Instead, sponsors, including Staples and Microsoft, saw a market where venture capital firms didn’t. [ USA Today ]