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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Creating Entrepreneurs At Wofford

These+female+CEOs+shared+their+experiences+and+reflected+on+their+failures
These female CEOs shared their experiences and reflected on their ‘failures’

A review of Global Entrepreneurship Week

“Surround yourself with role models…people who fill your weaknesses,” said Meggie Williams, founder and CEO of Skipper. She, along with three other women, sat on a panel titled “Powered by Women” on Nov. 20, recounting their entrepreneurial experiences. This event was part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), which is an annual event series  hosted by The Space during the third week of November. 

This year’s GEW began with an entrepreneurship meet-up, where students were able to present their ideas and get feedback as well as develop connections. The event included a presentation by Mitchell Saum, ’17, founder of Swell Vision, which sells bamboo sunglasses as a sustainable and mission-driven organization. 

As Lynne Mullin, assistant director of entrepreneurial programs in the Space, recounted, Saum had a great message for Wofford students that rather than sitting around, thinking about an idea, they should take action and actually do something. The first step in doing something, Mullin explained, was to develop connections. 

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 “Entrepreneurship is a communal activity,” she emphasized. This concept drove The Space’s second event, which was the “Powered by Women” networking event and panel. During the panel, four women took the stage to discuss their college and entrepreneurial experiences and advice to students. The women on the panel included aforementioned Meggie Williams, as well as Jacquelyn Thomas, founder and executive of Girls Pursuing Science (GPS), Aru Anavekar, founder and CEO of Botsplashand Shennice Ckeckley, founder and CEO of Smart Cookie Coaching. 

Each woman had her own story of how she ended up in this unique position, from balancing college and a young child to having to close two businesses because of hard financial times. One common theme during the panel, however, was the value in not giving up. They emphasized that as an entrepreneur, there will be many setbacks that may feel like failures, but are really just part of the process. As a successful entrepreneur though, persistence is essential. 

From a dog-walking company to a platform promoting STEM, these women have each paved their own paths. Part of the motivation for specifically hosting this event meant for women was, as Mullin described, to increase the number of female students interested in becoming entrepreneurs. 

 She quoted a statistic from the book Girls Who Run the World, which stated that “a 2013 study of privately-held technology companies found that those with at least one woman founder have 35% higher return on investment.” 

 Mullin felt that hosting events specifically geared toward female students could encourage them to advance their entrepreneurial activities.  

The week concluded with a showing of the movie Joy, a film based on the true story of Joy Mangano, a woman who founded her own business empire based on her self-wringing mop. 

The events of the week brought students from around campus, but Global Entrepreneurship Week is not simply a Wofford tradition. GEW is celebrated around the world, with events intended to foster and grow entrepreneurial thinking with structured activities. 

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