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Connecting Reno’s Female Entrepreneurs

The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Nevada, Reno, is launching its Women’s Initiative. Reno Public Radio’s Natalie Van Hoozer has more.

A group recently gathered at the Innevation Center in downtown Reno to mark the start of the new project. It aims to connect local business owners with aspiring student entrepreneurs and build mentoring relationships.

“Really the biggest goal is to encourage not only young women on campus but women in the community to engage with the entrepreneurial process,” said Kylie Rowe, the Assistant Director of the Ozmen Center.

She said a driving factor for the effort was the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition this spring. Several teams competed for $50,000 to grow their startups, but one thing stood out: none of the finalists were women.

“We were so shocked by that actually because when you look at this amazing community of women, there are so many women that are engaged in entrepreneurship,” Rowe said. “We just felt like that was not reflective of the real community.”

Business students like 21-year-old Melissa Perez Rios agree: “The entrepreneurial landscape is just dominated by men, so it’s nice to have something in the university supporting women creating new businesses.”

The Ozmen Center plans to hold similar events in the future as well as build the center’s academic course offerings at UNR.

Natalie is a freelance journalist and translator based in Reno, Nevada, who reports in English and Spanish. She also works for the nonprofit SembraMedia, supporting independent, digital Spanish-language media in the United States.
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