Every Fall, the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, along the USC Marshall Master of Science in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism bring together Athena.
Athena is a program comprised of a pitch competition and a summit. The goal of Athena is to:
Increase Women Founders. We want to increase the Number of Women (Co)Founded Companies at USC and provide them with the environment, mentors and resources they need to launch successful businesses.
Increase Women Investors. We are aiming to increase the number of women investors at USC so there will be more women in the investment ecosystem who are more likely to invest in women-(co) founded companies. Currently, only 4% of VCs are women. About 4% of women-(co) founded companies receive VC dollars.
Provide Access to Funding Capital and Mentors. We provide our women entrepreneurs and investors with carefully selected mentors to help them develop their skills and networks. We also provide access to funding sources and prepare them to seek funding.
USC ATHENA FEMALE FOUNDER'S PITCH COMPETITION
The Female Founders Pitch Competition is made possible by a gift from USC alumnus Jake Medwell, founding partner of 8VC venture capital firm. The competition is limited to current female USC students, faculty, staff or alumni less than five years from graduation, with a prize of $10,000.
ATHENA SUMMIT: STRONGER TOGETHER
The Athena Summit is a day-long conference that celebrates women business leaders and their entrepreneurial journeys. The Athena Summit will amplify their stories as well as their challenges, and create a vigorous and intentional arena for relationship-building and future collaboration.
The 2018 Athena Summit brought together more than 500 guests from a variety of industries and backgrounds. The daylong event featured a welcome from Dr. Wanda Austin, USC interim president; a conversation with GOOP founder and CEO Gwyneth Paltrow; and remarks by Dr. Sumun Pendakur, chief learning officer of the USC Equity Institutes, as well as panel discussions. Panel topics included “Growing Your Business,” “Investing in Women-Led Companies” and “Purpose-Driven Business.”
Associate Director, Jeymi Choi