More than 300 women attended the inaugural It’s Never Too Late To Start: Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference on November 14 at George Mason University’s School of Business’ Arlington Campus. Mason’s School of Business co-sponsored the event along with 30 Second Pitch and the Freedom Start Foundation.
The full-day conference offered women the opportunity to learn from those who have succeeded before them and ask questions about how to pave their way to success and navigate the obstacles facing them along the way.
“The Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference is a great example of how the School of Business serves the region,” said Anne Magro, deputy dean and senior associate dean for strategy and impact at the School of Business. “Together with our partners, Freedom Start Foundation and 30 Second Pitch, we were able to engage with more than 300 women interested in starting or growing their own businesses, and provide them with actionable advice, inspirational stories, and strategies for overcoming likely challenges. The success of these women’s businesses will contribute to our regional economy to the betterment of all.”
The event was inspired by the missions of 30 Second Pitch and the Freedom Start Foundation. Both organizations are dedicated to creating an environment of encouragement, support, knowledge, and funding opportunities to those who are looking to take the next steps in their career.
Participants had the opportunity to submit a 30-second pitch prior to the event for the chance to win $5,000 of venture capital. Top candidates pitched their businesses at the conference. The winner was Messay Derebe, co-founder and co-CEO of goArtful.
Assistant Professor of Management and Executive Director for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship David Miller, Ph.D., moderated the panel discussion on "Funding and What to be Prepared For” where speakers from a small bank and a venture capital firm, as well as an angel investor, shared their perspectives on how to be prepared when it comes to raising money.
“This conference was an amazing opportunity for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the School of Business to provide direct value and help grow our regional innovation ecosystem,” said Miller.
Mason’s School of Business has long been committed to the success of women. The Women in Business Initiative creates a supportive network of female business professionals to open doors for current female students, alumnae, and other businesswomen.
Additional speakers at the event included Women in Business board member Jen Dalton, founder and CEO of Brand Mirror; George Mason alumna Raea Jean Leinster, BA Area Studies ’92, founder and chief yuck officer at Yuck Old Paint; and Stephanie Zimmermann, BS Decision Sciences and Management Information Systems ’93, co-founder and chief box engineer at Lend A Box LLC.
Due to its overwhelming success, the group plans to run the event again next year.