By Ed Brennen
Members of the Manning Women in Business student organization learned how some of the area’s leading women entrepreneurs pitch their innovative startup and business ideas during a recent contest at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub.
“A Pitch of Her Own,” hosted by the iHub in conjunction with Lowell-based business accelerator Entrepreneurship for All, featured seven women entrepreneurs from across the region. They delivered “Shark Tank”-style two-minute pitches to a panel of five judges, which included Manning School of Business Dean Sandra Richtermeyer.
Senior business administration major Amy Ward, who serves as director of communications for Manning Women in Business, says events like these are an important way to get more female students interested in entrepreneurship.
“I'm proud that UMass Lowell continues to provide women with opportunities to gain resources and funding for their business ideas,” says Ward, who has gotten a jumpstart on her master of business administration degree through the university’s Plus 1 Program.
The winning project, “Yad – Painting with the Heart,” is a social enterprise that aims to empower people with disabilities by allowing them to express themselves through art – and profit from their work. Founded by Deborah Cohen, Yad manufactures unique home decor products emblazoned with artwork created by people with intellectual disabilities.
Sponsor-donated prizes included a two-month membership to the iHub.
“Events such as this align with the Innovation Hub’s mission to create opportunity for women entrepreneurs,” says Lisa Armstrong, associate director of the Innovation Hub. “We want to provide women the support, tools and knowledge they need so they can realize the possibility of starting their own business right here in Lowell and the broader region.”
The pitch contest, which was part of Lowell Women’s Week, was a collaboration between the iHub, Manning Women in Business, EforAll, Tomo360, Women Accelerators and entrepreneur Lydia Blanchard, former owner of Sweet Lydia's confectionery in Lowell.