Program encourages women to become technology entrepreneurs
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The second session of Empowering Women in Technology Startups, known as eWiTS, a breakthrough program seeking to educate and encourage women in technology entrepreneurship, concludes Nov. 12 with an investor pitch competition at the Florida Innovation Hub.
The event will run from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., beginning with team presentations followed by an awards ceremony.
The free, nine-week program was designed to address the lack of women in technology and business by giving participants an experiential learning opportunity with real technologies developed at UF. Less than 10 percent of venture-backed startups are headed by women. Organizers hoped to spark interest in tech startups among the participants and inspire a pool of potential entrepreneurs, the one resource always in short supply as UF seeks to commercialize research discoveries.
“This is the culmination of the second highly successful session of a program which will empower women in technology, where females are vastly underrepresented,” said Innovation Hub Director Jane Muir. “Each week we see the participants grow in both their understanding of the industry and their confidence. Everyone is very excited to see the final investor presentations after such hard work by the participants.”
The UF Office of Technology Licensing, UF Tech Connect and the Florida Innovation Hub partnered with local women technology entrepreneurs and community leaders to form eWITS. For the last two months, experienced, tech-savvy female business executives mentored 45 women on seven teams, each assigned to a technology available for commercialization from UF OTL. The mentors coached the teams through developing business plans and investor presentations. A panel of female investors will judge the teams’ presentations Nov. 12.
Participants included UF postdoctoral associates, professionals with experience in business, women with advanced degrees in science, and other talented women in the community.
The continued success of the eWiTS program was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Al & Nancy Burnett Charitable Foundation.
Visit www.ewits.org for more information.