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Ohio State program encourages women to shine as entrepreneurs

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 18th, 2018

A program at Ohio State University (OSU) is trying to close the gap between men and women entrepreneurs by helping female innovators overcome major challenges in the industry.

REACH for Commercialization is meant to provide insight into both the commercialization process and each woman’s individual management style. Participants are introduced to successful OSU female entrepreneurs and to the resources and personnel at the university’s Technology and Commercialization Office (TCO).

According to studies, female researchers are much less likely than men to obtain a patent, which is the first step of commercialization. Caroline Crisafulli, entrepreneur in residence at REACH, says that “women are less likely to start the process unless they have all the answers,” and that when it comes to entrepreneurship, “men are more aggressive about getting networks together.”

OSU grad student Ashanti Matlock says that REACH helped her resist the urge toward perfectionism and self-doubt, a trait that she believes a number of other women in the program also shared. By helping her to understand and develop her own approaches to challenges, REACH encouraged Matlock to focus on “acknowledging what I’m good at and building on that instead of what I’m not good at.”

Crisafulli adds that, because women often see things differently than men, a higher number of women entrepreneurs would mean adapting commercialization programs to their unique characteristics and challenges. While that may require some gender-specific outreach and programming, it’s by no mean an insurmountable barrier.

“Women don’t need to make themselves like men,” she says. “We need to embrace the wonderful attributes that we have. My personal opinion is that women can be phenomenal entrepreneurs.”

Source: Science

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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