Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program
Under the direction of CEO Jodie W. McLean, EDENS has been a driving force behind designing and launching the Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) Program, a ground-breaking program of the James Beard Foundation (JBF).
Since the founding in 2017, WEL has empowered 105 women owning over 130 businesses across 32 states. To date, 71% of program participants have successfully raised funding for their business, reaching a combined total of $10.5 million in investment after finishing the program. In addition, upon completing WEL, many alumnae have increased employee wages, added new benefits, and gained valuable skills in articulating goals and creating long term business plans.
Now in its sixth year, the James Beard Foundation’s flagship Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program (WEL) is an advanced educational and networking program for women restaurant owners that is expanding and growing. For the first time, WEL expanded to two cohorts, September-December 2022 and January-April 2023—providing additional opportunity for 40 women fellows from across the country to receive critical leadership and business training.
Created in conjunction with Cornell University, each 10-week virtual program is open to 20 participants. The curriculum includes gender-specific training and leadership development, as well as advanced business and finance concepts. Following completion of the program, participants join a powerful community of WEL alumnae, with regular opportunities to connect with each other and the Foundation.