As an entrepreneurial community flourishes across the Research Triangle region, young female leaders – including Ms. Susanna Choi, a graduate student in the nutrition department at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health – are blazing a trail via a new Women’s Innovation Council.
The council’s ultimate goal is to accelerate the local pipeline of female innovators and provide a model that can be replicated and expanded throughout the state and beyond.
Ms. Choi is one of five UNC-Chapel Hill students nominated to participate in the inaugural council cohort. Prior to her graduate studies at the Gillings School, she received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, was a consultant at Deloitte and worked for a number of technology startups in the Bay Area.
“Although I have a business background, I knew I needed the public health education to equip myself with the tools, diverse perspectives, and network to build a solid company and be an effective leader,” Ms. Choi said.
She plans to combine her background in business with her nutrition education to launch a social enterprise.
“As female entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs-to-be, we face barriers, stereotypes and biases in the male-dominated world of startups,” shared Choi. “In 2017, 98 percent of venture capital funding went to male-founded startups.”
Yet, Ms. Choi sees evidence for optimism in the work that’s underway with the council.
“As dismal as that statistic is, data also show that startups founded or co-founded by women are performing better than male-founded startups over time,” she added. “This reaffirms that women are just as capable, if not more so, than their counterparts when it comes to building and running successful companies.”Friday Letter Submission