It’s difficult enough to launch a business, but women and people of color face bigger obstacles.
Yet diversity and inclusion among entrepreneurs can expand their markets, and building relationships in diverse groups can influence entrepreneurial networks and grow new opportunities.
That’s the subject of an upcoming panel discussion, “Why Diversity in Entrepreneurship Matters,” to be held virtually at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
Entrepreneurship has largely been dominated by white men, says Martin Gahbauer, executive director of the Russell G. Weigand Center for Professional Excellence (WCPE). “For women and minorities, the hurdles to building and network and raising capital are much higher.”
The panel is the second event of WCPE’s Elmhurst Entrepreneur’s Initiative, which provides resources to students interested in starting businesses. The program offers a speaker series, a pitch competition, an entrepreneur-in-residence and more.
Entrepreneur-in-residence Patrick Yanahan ’94, MBA ’10 will moderate the panel on diversity. Yanahan serves as president of USA Strategies in Wheaton and has expertise in sales, marketing, operations, data analytics and ad digital content development.
The panelists, all successful entrepreneurs, are:
- Christina Hamilton, owner-operator of Mr. Dave Music in Chicago, a performing art studio specializing in music and movement for preschoolers. Hamilton earlier worked at Elmhurst University as director of annual giving and director of admission marketing.
- Melissa Villanueva, CEO and founder of Brewpoint Coffee in Elmhurst, which has worked on projects with Elmhurst University business students and has employed University student interns and graduates. Villanueva also serves on the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission.
- Angela Howard, MA ’13 industrial/organizational psychology, vice president of people development and human experience at Dober, a chemical company in Woodridge; founder of ARH Clarity Consulting, a boutique consultancy in human resources; and a career coach. She has served as an adjunct professor of industrial/organizational psychology at Elmhurst University.
No RSVP is required to join this Oct. 7 virtual event.