Long Island female entrepreneurs could get a shot at fame as TLC’s “Girl Starter” reality competition show hosts auditions at Hofstra University this weekend.
The series is looking for young, business-minded women between the ages of 18 and 24 to compete in season 2 for the chance to win $100,000 in seed money to start their own business.
Season 1 winner Tiffany Carvalho, 22, of Long Island City, Queens, has used the prize money to help get her business, Tolli, off the ground with partners Darrel Kennedy and Olli Payne.
“It’s like LinkedIn meets a dating app for artists,” Carvalho says of her business, which connects artists in similar fields who are looking to collaborate. “Except instead of flirting with another person, you’re flirting with your career.”
When Carvalho impressed the "Girl Starter" judges, she had no business expertise -- only an idea.
“The experience was unlike anything I had ever been a part of,” Carvalho said of the show. “I got to meet an incredible network of people, come up with an awesome business plan, and learn so much more about myself as an entrepreneur.”
"Girl Starter," which premiered in April, works in collaboration with a company of the same name whose mission is to help women entrepreneurs who are struggling to get their businesses off the ground.
Jeannine Shao Collins, Girl Starter's CEO and co-founder, says she was inspired by her then-16-year-old daughter to create the business in 2015.
“We initially wanted to start a club,” Collins says. “But knowing that starting a club in an all-girls school on Upper East Side of Manhattan wasn’t going to do a lot, we came up with the idea to start a television show to reach a larger number of young women.”
Season 1 consisted of competitions based on six crucial steps in buisness planning: starting, planning, proving, building, branding and funding. The show's final competition involved creating a 30-second commercial to pitch to potential investors.
Sunday and Monday's auditions at Hofstra run from 12-5 p.m. in the university's parking lot, and will consist of an interview before a panel that includes the show's executive producer, a Girl Starter co-founder and contestants from season 1. Interviewees should be prepared to answer brief questions about themselves, their starter spirit and their passion to start a business.
In addition to casting calls for the next season, "Girl Starter" will also be hosting free entrepreneurial workshops onsite as part of the The Girl Starter Live tour, which will also be stopping at other universities on the east coast. The show has not yet set a premiere date for season 2.
As for advice from a pro for contestant hopefuls?
“Don’t doubt yourself -- just put your wildest idea out there,” Carvalho says. “Put out something fun, and go for it.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the dates for "Girl Starter" auditions at Hofstra.