Academic Women Entrepreneurs

I was excited to see this initiative from Washington University in St. Louis [Equalize 2020] and its focus on creating pathways for academic women entrepreneurs. Part of the struggle I have faced as a professor-entrepreneur is a lack of community and collegiality around balancing academic life and entrepreneurial efforts. Even though I am a part of a women’s studies academic department there is little awareness around how to promote entrepreneurial thinking for faculty in the liberal arts and social sciences. There is also a serious lack of information around how to commercialize research, start a business—or if one should even dare to—while on the tenure track. While this may be obvious to faculty in STEM fields it is not the case in the liberal arts and humanities. I officially incorporated a business in 2015 but it has been a slow and daunting task to commercialize the technology and IP my team and I have built. More initiatives like Equalize 2020 is desperately necessary to encourage more women to step up to the plate, establish a community of like-minded individuals, and realize the diverse applications for their research and work.