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Applications open for UF program empowering women in tech startups

Applications open for UF program empowering women in tech startups

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Applications are now available for a new session of the groundbreaking University of Florida program called Empowering Women in Technology Startups, starting in September.

The free nine-week experiential learning program addresses the lack of female leadership in technology-based businesses by empowering women to develop entrepreneurial skills and learn about technology commercialization. Less than 10 percent of venture-backed startups nationwide are headed by women. However, statistics show venture-funded companies led by women generated significantly greater return on investment and had a higher percentage of initial public offerings.

Information sessions about the eWiTS program will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 20 and Aug. 27 at the Florida Innovation Hub at UF, 747 SW Second Ave. The program is intended for women with degrees and not undergraduate students. Organizers hope that many of UF’s graduate students and postdoctoral students will participate.

Those interested in learning more about eWiTS should for the Aug. 20 session at https://ewitsinfosession1.eventbrite.com/ or for Aug. 27 at https://ewitsinfosession2.eventbrite.com/. A brief talk by an experienced female entrepreneur will follow an overview of the program. Refreshments will be served. Those wishing to register for the free nine-week program can do so at www.ewits.org.

Last year, the University of Florida Office of Technology Licensing, UF Tech Connect and the Florida Innovation Hub partnered with local women technology entrepreneurs and community leaders to form eWITS. Experienced, tech-savvy female business executives mentor teams formed around technologies developed at the University of Florida, coaching the women on business plan development and preparing them for presentations to a panel of female investors. The participants compete for prizes.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the women in our community to acquire the skills that will give them an advantage in the highly male-dominated technological business workplace,” said eWiTS co-founder Jane Muir. “Our previous session of eWiTS was a great success, empowering women to change their lives and helping commercialize more UF research discoveries.”

One of the women who participated started a technology company and is now a tenant in the Florida Innovation Hub.

The success of the first eWiTS group secured the program a $10,000 grant from the Al & Nancy Burnett Charitable Foundation.

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“We are very grateful for the generous contribution we’ve received this year,” Muir said.  “The Al & Nancy Burnett Charitable Foundation has recognized the importance of this program and is just as excited as we are to share our mission of empowering women in the workplace.”

Organizers modeled eWiTS after Startup Quest, another collaborative effort by the UF Office of Technology Licensing, FloridaWorks and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Visit www.ewits.org for more information.

Contact: Jane Muir, jmuir@ufl.edu, 352-846-1646

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