TLC's Girl Starter is still finding new and innovative ways to teach young women how to be flexible, creative, and successful in a changing business world, as its first season draws to a close. The contestants still have a lot to learn, and many more can benefit from the show's emphasis on entrepreneurship. So will Girl Starter return for Season 2?
According to the Girl Starter website, a casting tour for Season 2 is taking place and will continue through June. The tour is an open casting call for young women between the ages of 18 and 24 to take part in the competition series. While TLC has not officially confirmed Season 2 for the series, the tour is a good indicator that more young women will have a chance to achieve their dreams of becoming business owners through this unique experience.
Girl Starter emphasizes mentorships with the show's corporate sponsors and gives young women the tools to build their businesses via their "S.T.A.R.T. It Program." The show encourages its contestants to engage in what co-founder Jeannine Shao Collins calls the "Starter Spirit" as they compete for seed funding and a chance to build their businesses.
In a press release for Girl Starter, executive producer Al Roker said, "What's so special about this show is that it's entertaining and fun but, most importantly, it's packed with takeaways on leadership development."
The main purpose of the show and the website is to illustrate the skills needed for young women to pursue startup funding for their businesses. Providing tips on leadership is the first step to securing support. In an interview with Parade, Jeannine Shao Collins offered "Top 5 Tips for Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs," which includes the advice to "fight like hell." Collins said, "Getting funding is tough for everyone and seemingly even harder for women. I was pretty shocked when we had more success pitching our business to investors with my husband in the room. It is certainly preferable to believe he wasn’t the determining factor, but I don’t have any way of knowing that for sure."
Collins's claim is supported by The Boston Globe. "Startups with female executives are three times more likely to receive venture funding than they were 15 years ago," the publication reported in 2014. "But all-male teams still get six investments for every one that goes to a company with a woman on the masthead."
But beyond the tangible elements of its mission, the real magic of Girl Starter is providing young women with a welcoming space where they can share ideas in order to build their business futures. The competition aspect is necessary, but by avoiding the frequent reality tendency of putting participants personally at odds with each other shows the viewer that there is a larger purpose here. Often on the show, young women are placed outside of their comfort zone, encouraging them to rely on their intelligence, instinct, and skill set, and they are also able to learn from one another.
As Girl Starter begins preparations for a likely Season 2, I hope it will continue to inspire young women to take charge of their futures.