Maria Sharapova has pulled back the proverbial curtain on a new, titular endeavor: the Maria Sharapova Women's Entrepreneur Program.
A collaboration with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Sharapova's women-helping-women plan includes 12 months of coming alongside six NAWBO members with resources including mentorship, education, a "mastermind" working group, business scaling and more.
On this special day celebrating women, I’m incredibly honored to partner with @sugarpova and the National Association of Business Owners on an initiative empowering female entrepreneurs. The Maria Sharapova Women's Entrepreneur Program kicks off today, with a call for applicants from which up to six business women will be selected to be part of a 12-month mentorship program. All together, we will be working on creating innovative and effective change in the business culture, as well as building strategic affiliations. All info and applications @ mariasharapova.com and NAWBO.org ????????????
Sharapova's entrepreneurial streak has been cemented via her successful Sugarpova candy business, which she termed a "labor of love" in the program's official release, and more endeavors over time, including collaborations in the fashion world with Nike, Cole Haan and others. According to Forbes, Sharapova's candy company, which she started six years ago with a $500,000 personal investment, now served up its candies and premium chocolate in 22 countries.
Happy #InternationalWomensDay! Thrilled to partner with @NAWBONational on a new program for female entrepreneurs, kicking off today. Get full details and the application here: https://t.co/qYLY7amMFr #NAWBO #Sugarpova pic.twitter.com/K8RKX1SPmo— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) March 8, 2018
"Meetings with distributors from different retail chains and grocery stores, most of the time I am a female business owner in a crowded room of male professionals and CEOs," Sharapova told Forbes. She went on: "Although I do feel like I come from an angle somewhat of power, in terms of 'I have a successful product that I believe in,' there is definitely an intimidation factor as well as an age factor."
Imagine that: Sharapova, intimidated. It can happen to the best of them, and to the best of us, at times. The difference is how one responds to such situations, and Sharapova has now set her sights on aiding similarly ambitious women in surmounting that.
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9.