Venus Williams is teaming with production company 3 Ball Entertainment on a new unscripted series about female entrepreneurs called “Deals in Heels,” Variety has learned.
Williams, a world champion tennis player, founder and CEO of design firm V*STARR Interiors, and founder of athletic apparel line EleVen, will appear in the series alongside a panel of other female magnates who will serve as mentors for standout businesswomen before making final investment offers.
“As an advocate for gender and pay equality, I’m thrilled to be working with 3 Ball Entertainment on this project that fosters and supports trailblazing women who are actively pursuing their professional aspirations,” Williams said.
According to a December 2016 report by Fortune magazine, by the end of Q1 2017 just 27 Fortune 500 companies will be helmed by female CEOs–a mere 5.4%. A 2016 TechCrunch study also found that only 10% of venture capital funding, over a five-year period, went to women-owned businesses.
In each episode, five up-and-coming entrepreneurs pitch the panel, and the two women whose businesses show the most promise will be invited up to the “executive suite” for a deeper dive into their companies. If their business plans measure up, the panel will dedicate one month toward mentoring the entrepreneurs on all aspects of their businesses in preparation for critical upcoming sales benchmarks. At the end of the month, the two entrepreneurs return to the executive suite to re-pitch, but after review and negotiations only one startup will receive an investment from the panel.
Williams will also executive produce the series, alongside 3 Ball executive producers Todd A. Nelson, Ross Weintraub and DJ Nurre. Also attached to the series as co-executive producers are Staness Jonekos, an award-winning television producer and CEO, and Deborah Perry Piscone, a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, author and public speaker.