Celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship Day
November 19, 2020
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150 yrs ago, MIT’s first woman student, Ellen Henrietta Swallow, stepped foot on campus. In the century and a half since, the women of MIT have made an immeasurable impact around the globe. We are pleased to celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day by spotlighting some of the woman entrepreneurs who have come through the Trust Center during their time at the Institute and built companies that are changing the world.

Below are just a few of the many talented and inspiring women that were featured in a series we ran to celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Month in November on our Instagram page.

To learn more about these inspiring entrepreneurs and, more importantly, see the other amazing women yet to be spotlighted during the month of November, please follow us on Instagram.

 


Emily Young, The Okoa Project

What does your company do in one sentence?

The Okoa Project connects vulnerable communities to essential healthcare services through innovative emergency transportation solutions.

What’s the one thing you’re most proud of from your entrepreneurial journey?

Our launch in Ghana, being able to take all the lessons we learned over the past 3 years and translating that into a really successful expansion into a new country.

What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur who is female?

Being an example for young girls to inspire them to be in STEM and entrepreneurship!


Layla Shaikley, WISE Systems

What does your company do in one sentence?

Wise Systems provides AI-driven dispatch and routing software that enables the perfect delivery experience.

What are 3 words that describe entrepreneurs who are female?

Strong, fearless, multi-dimensional.

What’s one way entrepreneurs who are female can invest in themselves?

Mastering focus.


Anne Kim, Secure AI Labs

What does your company do in one sentence?

Secure AI Labs is the digital rights management company for patient records, protecting data at scale for research collaborations.

What are three words that describe your entrepreneurial journey to date?

Unexpected, comedic, educational.

Who is one member of the MIT entrepreneurship community who is female and has inspired you the most?

Megan Smith — EASY.  Her legacy from the Media Lab, General Magic, Planet Out, to the Obama Administration is awe-inspiring. The very best.


Stephanie Lambkin, Blendoor

What does your company do in one sentence?

Blendoor helps companies hire and retain a diverse workforce through AI and people analytics that mitigate unconscious bias.

What’s the one thing you’re most proud of from your entrepreneurial journey?

Meeting President Barack Obama at the first ever White House Demo Day.

What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur who is female?

Things that are rare AND high quality are inevitably more valuable.


Vyda Bielkus, current MIT EMBA student

What does your company do in one sentence?

Health Yoga Life helps individuals transform their lives and companies transform their culture through online yoga and meditation classes, wellness seminars, trainings and 1:1 personal coaching. SympSimp (my latest startup) is redesigning funeral planning to lessen the burden of planning a major event while grieving.

What are three words that describe entrepreneurs who are female?

Rockstar, The Future, Courageous.

What’s one way entrepreneurs who are female can invest in themselves?

Outsource!  Women are often tasked with the bulk of home responsibilities.  Getting help with these responsibilities is one of the best investments you can make, because it gives you time back! Time to either catch a moment for yourself (exercise, meditate, spend quality time with the people you love) or time for your business.


Andrea Ippolito, SimpliFed

What does your company do in one sentence?

SimpliFed provides tele-lactation and infant nutrition support to help new and pregnant parents get access to breastfeeding support from the comfort and safety of their own homes from board-certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs).

Who is one member of the MIT entrepreneurship community who is female and has inspired you the most?

Martha Gray. She is a tremendous mentor to me surrounding healthcare ventures. I am also in awe of what she has built with the linQ program.

What’s one way entrepreneurs who are female can invest in themselves?

For other people to invest in them. Investing in women isn’t philanthropy, it is just good business sense. BCG found that startups founded and co-founded by women return 78 cents per dollar invested versus male-founded startups, which return 31 cents per dollar invested. Also Pitchbook found in a 2019 study that female-founded startups exit faster than male-founded startups.


Cameron Cler, WellMode

What does your company do in one sentence?

WellMode is a platform helping wellness entrepreneurs create and scale their digital offerings.

What’s the one thing you’re most proud of from your entrepreneurial journey?

Pivoting numerous times but staying relentlessly focused on our customers.

What are three words that describe entrepreneurs who are female?

Resilient, empathetic, grounded.


Stephanie Rampello & Karina Akib, WellNested

What does your company do in one sentence? 

WellNested simplifies access to expert postnatal care by making it fast, simple and affordable for families to connect to the best in-home and virtual lactation consultants, RNs and more in MA and beyond.

What are three words that describe your entrepreneurial journey to date?

Intense, exhilarating roller coaster.

What’s one way entrepreneurs who are female can invest in themselves?

Remember to invest in your personal relationships; entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. Making space to be with the important people in your life can fill your emotional cup in a way thats critical to maintaining stamina for the long term.


Katie Taylor, Khethworks

What does your company do in one sentence? 

Khethworks makes portable and affordable solar powered pumps that enable smallholder farmers to grow more, earn more and provide more for their families & communities.

What’s the one thing you’re most proud of from your entrepreneurial journey?

The people we’ve gathered around us, who also believe in working in service of smallholders, to push this movement forward and make real change.

What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur who is female?

Probably the same thing as being a male entrepreneur … creating and shaping the opportunity for yourself, your team and your stakeholders to build a better future.


Annabel Springer, NRICH

What does your company do in one sentence?

NRICH provides college students with the tools they need to go from wanting to invest to starting to invest.

What’s the one thing you’re most proud of from your entrepreneurial journey?

Keeping my willingness to fail alongside my desire to succeed, even as the stakes get higher.

Who is one member of the MIT entrepreneurship community who is female and has inspired you the most?

The first person who comes to mind who has inspired me is (Trust Center EIR) Trish Cotter. She has encouraged me to keep trying, and not only did she draw me into the MIT community, she helped bring the community to me as a Wellesley student. She has been an incredible mentor.


Gabrielle Haddad, Sigma

What does your company do in one sentence? 

Sigma uses advanced real-time risk analysis and monitoring to help businesses stay ahead of risk and develop commercial relationships built on trust.

What’s one way entrepreneurs who are female can invest in themselves? 

Investing in a self-care routine that nourishes her body and her spirit

What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur who is female? 

Being able to push new boundaries of what leadership in business looks like by leading with empathy and compassion.