Sephora has relaunched its incubator program with a new focus on elevating BIPOC-owned beauty brands, according to a Tuesday (Feb. 9) announcement.

The 2021 Sephora Accelerate Cohort includes 54 Thrones Founder Christina Funke Tegbe, EADEM Co-Founders Marie Kouadio Amouzame and Alice Lin Glover, Glory Founder and CEO Alisia Michelle Ford, Hyper Skin Founder and CEO Desiree Verdejo, Imania Beauty Founder Nia Wellman, Kulfi Beauty Founder Priyanka Ganjoories Founder Megan Graham and Topicals Founder and CEO Olamide Olowe.

“Each of the eight participating founders is inspiring in their own right, and we believe wholeheartedly in their potential at Sephora; we are so excited to help shape their futures and to ultimately introduce these brands to our clients,” Sephora Executive Vice President and Global Chief Merchandising Officer Artemis Patrick said in the announcement.

The Sephora Accelerate program is geared toward offering a strong curriculum, mentorship, merchandising help, possible funding and investor connections to those who take part. It begins with an orientation in which participants will be onboarded into the company’s ecosystem. They will develop relationships with their merchant sponsors and hear from brand visionaries.

Founders will then undergo a week of learning geared toward positioning their brand for long-term success through workshops throughout each area of Sephora’s expertise, such as product development and inventory planning. After bootcamp, founders will keep working with their merchant sponsors to get their companies ready for launch and start preparation for pitch day.

Every brand founder will provide a formal presentation at the conclusion of May to industry experts, high-level Sephora leaders and investors. After pitch day, a graduation celebration will be held for all eight brands and their merchant sponsors.

Each of the 2021 participants applied to the program last autumn. Applicants had to be 18 years of age or older, have a U.S.-incorporated firm and be in the early stages of development. “In selecting finalists, Sephora also took into account each brand’s vision, innovation, and current stage of product developments,” according to the announcement.

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