For 20-year-old UF finance junior Ariela Steinberg, being a woman in the business world can feel like walking on eggshells.
“I feel a lot of pressure going into interviews that I don’t think men do … it’s almost like a boys club,” she said.
But a program by UF’s Office of Technology Licensing, UF Tech Connect and the Florida Innovation Hub is seeking to change that.
The program, Empowering Women in Technology Startups, takes women on a 10-week journey where they learn skills to combine science and technology with business to create products and start companies. It is set to begin its third session later this semester.
The sessions are not set in a traditional classroom environment, said Carla Buddensieg, program coordinator. Women who participate in the program are paired with a technology medium and an experienced entrepreneur to simulate creating a company. The final product is presented to a panel of female investors at the end of the program.
Buddensieg said, however, that the program goes beyond teaching women business and technology skills.
Christine Urban participated in the program’s pilot session in Fall 2012. Before eWiTS, she worked with small businesses and owned a spa. She walked away from the program feeling she could do even greater things.
She is now the acting CEO of water resource sustainability company Waterway Ecologics, based out of Tallahassee. She will be returning to the program this Spring as a mentor.
Women interested in the eWiTS program can attend an informational session on Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Innovation Hub.
[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 3/14/2014 under the headline "Sessions help entrepreneurs"]