Temple Times Online Edition
    DECEMBER 2, 2004
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Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference focuses on opportunities, challenges of launching a business

Photo courtesy The Fox School of Business and Management
(Left–right) Executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office and Temple alumna Sharon Pinkenson, Fox School Dean M, Moshe Porat and Tracy Davidson of NBC Channel 10 participated in the League for Entrepreneurial Women hosted its fifth annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference in November.

According to a 2004 study by the Center for Women’s Business Research, women own 50 percent of privately held firms in the Philadelphia area.

To address the challenges and opportunities women entrepreneurs face, Temple’s League for Entrepreneurial Women hosted its fifth annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference on Nov. 18 at the Great Court in Mitten Hall. The conference was co-sponsored by The Fox School of Business and Management, The Fox School’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management and the School of Communications and Theater.

Said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat, “The Women’s Entrepreneurial Conference is one of the many reasons that The Princeton Review recently chose Temple University as one of the top 25 entrepreneurial campuses in the U.S., a great honor.

“I want to congratulate the women who had the foresight to start the conference five years ago, Monica Treichel [assistant professor in The Fox School] and Betsy Leebron [professor in the School of Communications and Theater], and others who have joined in the effort — Julie Cropp [associate director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute], who works day in and day out to make it come to life, and Betsy Barber [associate dean of the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management].”

This year’s conference, attended by a nearly 400 participants, a record number, featured Tracey Davidson of NBC Channel 10 as the moderator, and Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office and a Temple alumna, as the keynote speaker.

Professor Betsy Leebron, one of the co-chairwomen, opened this year’s conference by focusing on how the League for Entrepreneurial Women and the conference act as catalysts for success for women entrepreneurs.

“We don’t want to see you just survive. We want your business to thrive,” Leebron said, urging participants to use Temple’s rich resources such as the League for Entrepreneurial Women and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute to help their businesses grow.

Echoing this message at lunch, Fox School Vice Dean Raj Chandran offered that either he or Porat would be willing to speak to any group or individual in attendance on entrepreneurship and would also be glad to share Temple’s resources for entrepreneurship.

Sharon Pinkenson, the keynote speaker, inspired the audience of entrepreneurs and students by sharing the story of her success. Since 1992, when then-Mayor Edward G. Rendell appointed her executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, the Philadelphia area has earned more than $1 billion in revenue from films and video produced in the Philadelphia area. Pinkenson’s lessons for entrepreneurs include:

“Hammer through any roadblocks and do it with a smile.”

“Don’t be afraid to change course.

“Be open to opportunity.”

“Love what you do.”

“Learn all you can learn about everything — current events, finance and more.”

“Talk to everyone. Network.”

Tatiana Sivak, a Fox School undergrad, who won the conference-sponsored essay contest about entrepreneurship, said of Pinkenson’s talk, “I found it inspiring. It made me think I should stay in this area and start a business here, and it also made me think about encouraging my classmates to stay here too.”

The conference also featured panels on “Growing Pains: Stories From Young Businesses” and “Coming of Age: Etiquette & Networking for Success,” as well as the induction of two alumnae into the League for Entrepreneurial Women’s Hall of Fame: Carole I. Smith (B.S. ’70, education), Workforce 2000 Initiative; and Carol Ann Kell (B.A. ’76, communications and theater), Kell & Associates.

The league’s Hall of Fame, now in its second year, recognizes alumnae for their achievements as innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders in the Philadelphia region and beyond.

Said Fox School assistant professor Monica Zimmerman Treichel, co-chairwoman of the league and the conference, “We created the Temple University League for Entrepreneurial Women to empower women business owners with critical resources to overcome any obstacles they may face at each stage of the entrepreneurial process.”

Established in 2000, the League for Entrepreneurial Women, a collaboration among Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, School of Tourism and Hospitality, School of Communications and Theater and School of Liberal Arts, advocates and addresses the challenges and interests of women entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia region.

In addition to its annual conference, the league sponsors workshops throughout the year on timely topics that affect entrepreneurial women such as networking, funding and time management. Also, the league provides a mentor network for entrepreneurs and business professionals to interact. Mentors advise students as well as provide opportunities for early-stage entrepreneurs to learn from seasoned entrepreneurs. The league also conducts and highlights research on women entrepreneurs and women in business.

Sponsors of the Temple’s League for Entrepreneurial Women’s conference included PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Kauffman Foundation, The Coleman Foundation, Legg Mason and Blank Rome LLP.

- By Lisa Z. Meritz