Ohio University

Women Entrepreneurship Week to showcase stories of women reshaping the business world

Published: September 16, 2020 Author: Hardika Singh

Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship will commence Women Entrepreneurship Week virtually by hosting an exclusive documentary screening of “Bias” followed by a panel conversation at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21 on Zoom.

The remainder of Women Entrepreneurship Week will feature several prominent speakers and panels, focusing on entrepreneurs who are women of color and the challenges they encounter, especially due to gender and race inequity. Students, educators and the community can register for the virtual events and learn how women entrepreneurs are using their experiences to drive the narrative forward.

“Women and people of color have been underrepresented in entrepreneurship for far too long,” said Paul Benedict, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. “People need to see people who look like them so they can relate to shared life experiences and imagine what’s possible for themselves. The women entrepreneurs joining us this week are great examples of all those things to women and men as well.”

The Women Empowering Equity panel will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Panelists include Shontay Lundy, creator and founder of Black Girl Sunscreen; Candice Matthews-Brackeen, founder and CEO of Lightship, CEO of Hillman; and Chitra Panjabi, former VP of the National Organization for Women, CEO and Coach at Chitra Panjabi Coaching. The panel will be moderated by M. Geneva Murray, director of the Women’s Center at OHIO.

Attendees can hear more stories from women who founded their businesses after recognizing a market opportunity. In Kathi Howard-Primes’ case, she recognized a need in her community for affordable, quality educational services for K-12 students. The OHIO alumna and CEO of Momentuum LLC will detail at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23 how she responded by launching her own educational services business.  

“At its core, entrepreneurship isn’t just about starting companies; it’s about recognizing and acting on opportunities to solve problems, to make people’s lives better and create an impact,” Benedict said. “All of our guests this week are doing that, and all of our attendees can also do that if they put their energy and talent to it.”

Benefit corporation Sudara Inc. and its non-profit Sudara Freedom Fund were born out of a similar need. Shannon Keith, founder and chairwoman of Sudara Freedom Fund, and Lisa Flynn, CEO of Sudara Inc., will explain at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, how the company’s ethically made pajamas and loungewear provide opportunities for Indian women at risk of or recovering from human trafficking.

Keith and Flynn also invite everyone to submit T-shirt designs for Sudara and Ohio University’s first ever Tee Design Challenge. The company will produce and sell the winning tees, which will have an impact in the Athens community. Sudara will donate 15% of the proceeds to My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence agency in Athens that provides counseling and shelter to women in need.

These free events are hosted by Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, TechGROWTH Ohio and the OHIO Women’s Center. The Center for Entrepreneurship is a partnership between the College of Business and Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

In order to receive the Zoom links for these events, register here.