Ambitious women often start out as ambitious girls.
If you show these girls examples of what careers and successes real women can achieve and honestly share what it takes, then their dream of what they can achieve can become bigger and they can start mapping out their path with confidence. Or, in the words of Lupita Nyong’O with the heavy golden Oscar statue for her role in Twelve Years a Slave in her hands: “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”
That, in essence, was the motivation behind a new summer program organized by the MIT Enterprise Forum NYC (where I moonlight as Observer of the Board and creator and moderator of The Future of X Think Tank Series).
A week of entrepreneurship for high school girls — for future entrepreneurs. Everyone came together at Rockefeller Center, on the 36th floor with views of the Empire State Building (thanks to Lori Hoberman at Chadbourne & Parke for the invitation). It was a sweet mix of doing and learning.
Every day, the girls worked in groups on their own impromptu entrepreneurial projects and toward a final presentation to a jury. The business ideas these bright young ladies dreamed up and developed included a dress shoe with an adjustable heel from high to flat, a green gym that would use the kinetic energy generated by cardio equipment, a restaurant and workshop concept that would combine lunch and learning, and a tech truck that would rent out tablets, laptops and other devices around schools.
Each day, entrepreneurs shared their stories. Among them were Ouidad of Ouidad Curly Hair Products, Sarah LaFleur of M.M. LaFleur, Tammy Tibbetts of She’s The First, Nikki Robinson of Gloss and Glam, Stephanie Cion from Wellalarm, and me, Katja Bartholmess of gimmegorgeous.com.
Everyone talked about starting out without a map and highlighted the importance of networking and having people that support you and your goals. Everyone agreed that the road to entrepreneurial success is a winding one that you need to have the stomach for. But one very worth taking.
We all saw ourselves in these girls and tried to tell them what we hoped we had been told about being an entrepreneur and creating your own path at that age. That week was a passion project for everyone involved.
At least it was so for me. A true passion project.
What about you? Do you have a passion project? Would love to hear about it.
– Katja Bartholmess. Founder of gimmegorgeous.com. “It’s my passion to inspire and motivate other ambitious women with my stories and experiences from over a decade of entrepreneurship.”