Blackstone LaunchPad hosted an event promoting female entrepreneurship and future girl bosses at the Cove @ UCI Applied Innovation on May 18. The event featured a panel of successful female entrepreneurs who shared their experiences as women in power and inspired women to launch their own businesses. The event focused on the women panel who answered questions on topics ranging from entrepreneurship and networking to gender issues and being a woman in business.
Josephine Lee, founder of The Pointe Shop
Josephine Lee opened a retail store for dancers after graduating from USC in 2010. She recognized a need for more accessible and knowledgeable pointe shoe fittings and created her traveling pointe shoe fitting company, The Pointe Shop, in January 2014. She spoke about taking risks and her piece of advice for people transitioning to entrepreneurship is that “you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Gina Heitkamp, co-founder of Middle School Moguls
Heitkamp, a startup enthusiast, co-founded Middle School Moguls (formally iBesties) as an innovative doll line that inspires technology learning and entrepreneurship for young girls from ages 6-10. Middle School Moguls is currently a tenant at the Cove. As a panelist, Heitkamp talked about her passion for her company and the obstacles she had to face.
Esosa Agbonwaneten, founder and CEO of Bulletin
Agbonwaneten founded Bulletin as a mobile platform for students to help stay organized and ahead of their schedules as they navigate through their busy academic lives. Bulletin is a current Cove startup team and successfully launched its pilot at UCI in 2015. Agbonwaneten’s big piece of advice to young entrepreneurs is, “Persistence – do not take no for an answer. If the door closes, take the window. If the window closes, climb the chimney. Do anything you can to find your answer.”
Penelope Atkinson, co-owner of Giraffe Promotions
Vice President of SurveyMe Penelope Atkinson is the co-owner of Giraffe Promotions, a marketing and promotional products company and the vice president of online survey app Survey Me. She has an extensive background in marketing, sales, training and customer service. Her advice for young entrepreneurs is to have drive and be passionate. She says, “Be authentically you, have your passion, your project, [and] your service.”