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Young Women Entrepreneurs

Posted by: John Tozzi on July 11, 2008

Ever have to write a business plan, take it to New York, and present it four times in one week, including to folks from Goldman Sachs? That’s what 20 teenage girls are doing next week at an entrepreneurship camp run by the nonprofit Girls Inc. and sponsored by the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

For the third year running, young women ages 15 to 18 worked in teams of five to develop detailed business plans, complete with market research, cost estimates, financial statements, and marketing plans. The top four teams were selected from 13 groups competing to go to the free camp. Over the next seven days, they’ll meet with women business owners in New York, get training and mentoring, and refine their business models.

“It’s just putting them on that path just thinking about entrepreneurship and thinking about what goes into it,” Girls Inc.’s Cheryl Messer told me.

The four teams come from Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas. Their business ideas include digital yearbooks; an interactive venue for parents and young kids to play and learn together; green accessories made from recycled supplies; and an eco-friendly salon with organic products.

The goal isn’t to get the young women to actually launch these businesses, but rather to get them to think about entrepreneurship as a career. Women owned less than 30 percent of all U.S. businesses in 2006, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research, and while the number of women-owned companies is growing faster than the total number of firms, sales and employment growth is much slower than the total. The preparation offered by Girls Inc. (and other groups) can only help even that score.

Reader Comments

Lindsey Pollak

July 11, 2008 3:02 PM

Thanks for writing about this program, John. Most women entrepreneurs I know often say that their only regret is not starting a business sooner. I'm glad that Girls Inc. is helping more teenagers learn about this career option. I'm involved with a similar program, Make Our Daughters a Million, sponsored by Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence -

Does the Girls Inc. program have a website?

Thanks for a great post,
Lindsey Pollak


July 13, 2008 1:30 AM

Sounds like it might be effective, but why only one big company and so few participants? Is there a similar program for young men in same age-group I can look into?

Carol Frohlinger

July 14, 2008 4:57 PM

One thing I never did while raising my daughter was to help her to decide whether she was an entrepreneur.

Programs like this one will help raise awareness that starting a business can be a very good choice - particularly for women!

Carol Frohlinger


July 18, 2008 5:40 PM

This is fantastic for these young girls. Placing young people in that sort of environment is very stimulating and can really influence future success. Also getting the right mentors is extremely important, especially if you are a young, inexperienced entrepreneur... look at this here...


July 29, 2008 8:57 AM

The fact that Girls Inc. can coach young women in aspects of business planning and entrepreneurship is impressive indeed! I wish my daughter's had had this opportunity!! Keep up the good work!


August 5, 2008 6:56 PM

This is an excellent opportunity for girls who might not normally identify with the term 'entrepreneur', to start doing so - earlier the better!!

Ruthie Collins
Women's Enterprise Ambassador (UK)
The Hip Girl's Guide to Being an Entrepreneur

Find a mentor

August 11, 2008 10:00 AM

It's great to hear that there are more women becoming entrepreneurs everyday. Which is why I'd like to suggest a great website! Http:// is a site geared towards helping women entrepreneurs emerge through mentorship and guidance from successful business women. If you are a female entrepreneur looking for guidance or to become a mentor and help other women, definitely check out the website.

Michelle Dunn

August 12, 2008 5:50 AM

This is a great program! What better way to help women feel empowered, smart, confident and strong. Every girl should know that being an entrepreneur is an option for them and this program is really helping them to see that and to learn how and what to do if that is the path they want to take. Girls are scared to take these steps and I believe this program helps them face that fear and take leaps they never would have.

women entrepreneurs

November 17, 2008 1:03 PM

What a fantastic opportunity for these young women entrepreneurs. Kudos to Goldman Sachs. Keep up the good work!

Karen Hunt Barker

December 30, 2008 3:36 PM

I love this article, and I currently work with an inner city teen girl program, and will suggest that the Director add this to the business development workshop to the program.

Sharon Wilson

January 14, 2009 12:23 AM

This is a wonderful opportunity for young women. It is never too early to start your life plan and goals. Goldman Sachs you are a Champ!

March 19, 2009 10:50 AM

The New US Woman just launched on March 1, 2009 and will give women 21-25 a leg-up with a FREE database listing. Too many states in the US do not have, create or share info about women in their state who own businesses. We are working to "change the face of CEO" to that of a WOMAN.

The New TN is our first state site, and the other 49 states will be modeled after it, with philanthropy that uplifts women and activism that improves her status....the outcomes desired. The TN site has a section called "JUST FOR TEEN WOMEN." I will add your link to my site today!

Rosanne Ferreri-Feske, CEO
The New US Woman
The New TN Woman

Barbie Flores

June 19, 2009 3:46 AM

I am so impressed to hear of our young leaders being shown that truly "you can be and do anything you want." Myself, along with many other women have taken to, later in life, a road we never had heard of...working for ourselves. A good friend of mine has an internet/radio show that follows this subject as well as it being what she too is doing. I am so inspired by all the women around me making a difference not only in their own self-preservation, but also that of other women, girls, and people in general. Putting power back in OUR hands. I hope you visit RoRo Radio, I think she has something to say. I will put her links below. I'm bookmarking this site :).

-B. Flores

RoRo Radio
Roberta G.
Radio Producer/Host


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What's it like to run your own company today? Entrepreneurs face multiple hurdles new and old, from raising capital and managing employees to keeping up with technology and competing in a global marketplace. In this blog, the Small Business channel's John Tozzi and Nick Leiber discuss the news, trends, and ideas that matter to small business owners. Follow them on Twitter @newentrepreneur.

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