Elizabeth Liddy, dean of the School of Information Studies (iSchool), will serve as a panelist at the “Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs” event, set for Thursday, September 8 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Syracuse University’s Bird Library.  

Liddy, an entrepreneur who founded software startup company TextWise in 1994, will join five other women entrepreneurs for the discussion, moderated by Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University.

The other panelists include students Kristina Taylor ’17 and Kyla Brown ’16, co-founders of their own venture, Melux; alumna Gabriela Escalante ’16, founder of EB Active; Leanne Hirshfield, a research associate professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and founder of Brainview Technologies; Natalie Hansen and Jennifer Walls, co-founders of a community venture called The Sweet Praxis; and Nicole Samolis, president and creative director at local SBA-backed venture Sky Armory.

In addition to the panel discussion, the event features Tameka Montgomery as keynote speaker, and Syracuse University Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly, who will offer opening remarks.

Montgomery leads the Office of Entrepreneurial Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), spearheading programs that serve more than 1.5 million entrepreneurs and small businesses nationwide. She oversees the SBA’s Office of Small Business Development Centers, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, and the Office of Entrepreneurship Education.

“I am delighted that Syracuse University is able to host this conference dedicated to promoting and supporting female entrepreneurship,” says Provost Wheatly. “In today’s marketplace, business start-ups are one of the most powerful drivers of economic growth and professional success, and yet women still lag significantly behind men in launching new business ventures. This conference is an opportunity for them to learn from one another and to build and nurture those critical connections that have been found to be so important to women’s success as aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners.”

The event was planned to provide a framework for aspiring women entrepreneurs who want to explore how to launch an idea. It is being coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad, a new cross-campus entrepreneurship resource center at Syracuse University, funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Open to students, faculty, staff and alumni, the Blackstone program provides support for ideation and venture development, connects entrepreneurs to Syracuse University’s robust innovation ecosystem, and offers access to national and global resources through Blackstone’s network. 

The program for the event begins at 4 p.m. with a networking session at the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library. At 4:30 p.m. the event will move into the adjacent Peter Graham Scholarly Commons for the keynote speaker and entrepreneur panel. It concludes with a resource fair featuring campus and community connectors. The event is free and open to the campus community – registration is requested by e-mail to LaunchPad@syr.edu.