UT Entrepreneurship Week kicks off with women empowerment — The Daily Texan

Women create only 3 percent of tech startups and run only 4 percent of Fortune 500 companies, according to the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, Growth, and Renewal.

This issue was addressed in the documentary “She Started It,” which was screened Monday by the Center and UT’s Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency to start UT Entrepreneurship Week.

“Given the current cultural, political and social climate, it’s more important now than ever before to celebrate the women and any marginalized groups that are making advances,” said Kelsi Kamin, vice president of marking and promotion for LEA.

Monday’s event kicked off the sixth annual UT Entrepreneurship Week with a screening followed by a panel discussion with experienced women entrepreneurs.

“(The hope is) students will take away from this event a sense of possibility,” said Luis Martins, director of the Center. “Entrepreneurship is a potential path for everybody, regardless of certain challenges that come.”

The documentary film showcases the journeys of five women as they start their own companies. Kamin, a corporate communications senior and aspiring entrepreneur, said the goal of the film is to empower any women who might be interested in becoming an entrepreneur.

“The film wasn’t idealized, which was more compelling for me,” interior design sophomore Taylor Mahnke said. “Everything didn’t end up perfectly. It shows that it’s not easy. It’s going to take a few tries. It’s inspiring hearing from women in a community around you. These types of events make you feel like you’re not alone, like there’s a chance.”

The panel of women entrepreneurs included Jordan Jones, UT alumna and founder and CEO of Packed Party; Chantal Pittman, COO of Unique Influence; and Amy Porter, UT alumna and founder and CEO
 of AffiniPay.

“It’s one thing to have role models, but then it’s another to have someone who was actually where you are, that was able to do something you dream of doing,” Kamin said.

Students and staff asked questions about building a business, including selecting team members and location.

“(The panelists’) advice helped me because I feel like I have a lot of ideas and I don’t know what to do with them,” sociology junior Jarne Johnson said. “Now I think that engaging with people, making that a priority, rather than just what ideas I have, that will help with my future career.”

Originally published at dailytexanonline.com on February 28, 2017.