Last Wednesday night, Entrepreneurship@Dyson and Blackstone Launchpad co-sponsored a screening of She Started It, a film telling the stories of five remarkable female founders. The women vary in race, background, and geographic location, and the film captures their diverse struggles – from securing funding to communicating with their teams, navigating Venture Capitalists, and speaking English as a second language.
Since the film is still being edited, viewers are not allowed to disclose any specific content from the film. Prior to the screening, Director and Producer Nora Poggi and Co-Executive Producer Kelly Keenan Trumpbour offered this wisdom to attendees:
Surround yourself with those who can support you.
The male dominated culture in the technology sector prevents many women from developing the confidence, connections, and skillsets needed to launch successful ventures – in fact, women launch only 3% of tech startups. In high school, few women follow STEM paths, and many leave the path once they fail a test or two in fears of lower GPAs. Women need to consciously surround themselves with people who understand their strengths and encourage their growth.
Entrepreneurship is like athletics.
You need to train and stay active in the field. Without accepting barriers and setbacks along the way, a venture will not succeed. She Started It begins and ends with shots of one of its female founders to reiterate this message. Hackathons and pitch contests are accessible opportunities at Cornell to stay active in the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
It is alright to say entrepreneurship is not for you.
At elite universities, launching and joining startups are common experiences. Trying to affect the world through business and technology is a powerful aspiration, and one intelligent students should bear. However, the spirit and skills of entrepreneurs are needed in all sectors, from local school boards to nonprofits to the creation and implementation of government policy.