The University of Louisville’s AWARE:ACCESS program, aimed at accelerating the success of women and underrepresented entrepreneurs, will hold its annual Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Summit on Thursday, Nov. 7.
The free event, at the Speed Art Museum’s Speed Cinema, is open to the public and boasts an agenda packed with workshops, speakers and other fun activities for aspiring and current founders.
“Our goal with the AWARE:ACCESS program, and this event, is to help entrepreneurs and startups grow,” said Jessica Sharon, director of Innovation Programs at UofL. “At the summit, we’ll have a lot of resources to help them do that, from advice on applying for federal grant funding to how to make the perfect elevator pitch.”
In addition to workshops and speakers, attendees can also participate in a “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition. They can also speak one-on-one with experts in finance, accounting, marketing, human resources and pretty much any other topic a budding entrepreneur might need to know about.
More information and registration are available here.
While the summit is open to all, the AWARE:ACCESS, or Accelerating Women and Underrepresented Entrepreneurs: Accelerate Entrepreneurial Success, program has a special focus on women and underrepresented entrepreneurs.
The program, a National Science Foundation-backed partnership between UofL and Indiana University, provides support to help these entrepreneurs submit more competitive proposals for SBIR and STTR grant funding.
Women entrepreneurs represent only 6 percent of all SBIR awardees, despite making up some 51 percent of the total population. Collective minorities represent only 10 percent of awardees, combined.
“Diversity unlocks so many new perspectives, ideas and potential innovations,” said Robert S. Keynton, interim executive vice president for Research and Innovation. “In accelerating the success of women and underrepresented entrepreneurs, we hope to improve that diversity of thought and spur new growth and opportunities for all.”
AWARE:ACCESS is one of UofL’s suite of innovation-associated awards, dubbed the “Superfecta,” to support the translation of research into viable commercial products. UofL is one of only a handful of universities in the country to receive each of these, and is the only one to receive all of them.