The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation recently hosted their first Women Talk Tech Forum at the Cove @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation. Women entrepreneurs gathered together to share their struggles, triumphs, advice and future plans.
Linda DiMario, executive vice president for the Greater Irvine Chamber, highlighted the resources offered by the SBDC and the value that experienced women entrepreneurs bring to the table.
“Each one of the SBDCs have areas of expertise and lanes that offer great resources to all of you that are birthing businesses and growing businesses,” said DiMario. “Seek out your colleagues, your sisters, your friends, your veterans and go forth and multiply.”
Keynote speaker Kimberly Kovacs, founder and president of MyJane Inc., a wellness community that normalizes the cannabis experience for women, expressed her thoughts on the future for women entrepreneurs and emphasized the importance of co-founding and the benefits of a gender-diverse team.
“I think with the diverse team, we get away from a little bit of the group-think, especially if you’re creating something in a women’s market. Having men at the table with you is really important, in my opinion,” said Kovacs.
The funding panel consisted of Gillian Hayes, CEO of AVIAA, a global purchasing company for business aviation; Michelle Khine, co-founder of Novoheart, a startup that develops next-generation cell-based therapies for heart disease; and President and Chief Operating Officer of Evoke Neuroscience, Marinela Gombosev.
When it comes to funding, Khine, UCI biomedical engineering professor and entrepreneur, emphasized the importance of thinking outside the box and provided her Kickstarter campaign as an example. Launched in 2014, this was UCI’s first successful Kickstarter fund and the money raised funded “A Hundred Tiny Hands,” which are educational toy kits that aim to inspire kids to become inventors and scientists.
Wrapping up the event, Shawn Dougherty, CEO and founder of EXOIO and board member at UCI Beall Applied Innovation, shared her story of co-founding mophie, the creator of the first battery case for mobile devices that has launched globally in Apple retail stores. She also provided parting advice for the audience.
“When selling your company, the buyer will, of course, do due diligence on the seller,” said Dougherty. “However, it’s equally as important for the selling party to due diligence on the buyer. It’s a two-way street, take your time and follow your gut.”
Learn more about SBDC @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation.
*Cover Photo: The featured funding panel share their startup success stories at the Cove @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation.
Photo: Michelle Mar