Women’s entrepreneurship on campus
BY Staff Reporter
The Venture Development Center (VDC) for Horn Entrepreneurship is loaded with women aspiring to be their own boss — women on campus who are constantly redefining what it means to push gender boundaries in male-dominated fields.
According to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, as of 2018, there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, from 2007 to 2018 the number of women owned businesses has increased by 58%.
More women each year are entering the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, with an increase of about 200 women since 2013. The ratio of women is now only slightly less than men, with 42% female and 58% male students.
Kelly Landis, sophomore entrepreneurship and technology innovation major, hopes to start a business herself at the university by the end of this summer.
“After college, I see myself most likely working part time or full time to gain experience while still working on a startup/venture on the side,” Landis said. “For me, it’s not about rushing to find a business. It’s about taking the time to find the right business for me.”
Another sophomore entrepreneurship major, Amanda Monachelli, led a community litter cleanup while in the third grade. From that point on, she said she felt empowered.
“I had a vision of clean roads, and I did something to make it happen,” Monachelli said. “I’d say that the feeling of empowerment has made me want to be an entrepreneur. Every time I’ve made a difference, I’ve just wanted to do more and continue that feeling.”
Monachelli started a business venture on campus called “bra•vo,” and she will be staying on campus over the summer to partake in The VDC’s Summer Founders Program.
Alanna Weiss, a junior hotel restaurant and institutional management major, believes that women at the university are “breaking down barriers” by building a community of entrepreneurs that believe in equality between men and women.
Weiss says she views Sophia Amoruso, founder of successful retailer Nasty Gal, as a role model. However, Weiss and Monachelli do not agree with her slogan #girlboss, which has become mainstream lingo since her first book release in 2014.
“I am just an aspiring entrepreneur, not a woman entrepreneur,” Weiss said. “If you were to talk about a man starting a business you would say ‘as an aspiring entrepreneur,’ and there is a problem with people’s perception of this movement. I just want everyone to have equal starting lines and that’s one of my major goals.”
“I have mixed feelings about the phrase ‘girl boss,’” Monachelli said. “I love that women are taking action to empower themselves and others, but at the same time, if we want the gender divide to close, this is not the way to do it. We are bosses. What does it matter if we are girls or not? Be a boss.”
These ladies hope to encourage and inspire female Blue Hens to take on their passions and support their dreams regardless of gender gap. They continue to pave the path for more women to take on their own ventures and build their own firms by pushing through norms and not to letting anyone stand in there way.
“My message is, just do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t,” Landis said. “Find people to support you and keep them close. Let go of those who put you down or discourage you.”