Raising Entrepreneurial Girls

The Startup Squad + Girls Inc. of NYC = 100inspiring100 to Empower Underserved Girls

Here’s how you can join a campaign to support underserved girls

Last fall, while learning about entrepreneurial education, I attended a conference of entrepreneurship educators that was organized by Entre-Ed, The Consortium for Entrepreneurial Education. Entre-Ed is an amazing group that helps teach entrepreneurship to kids in Appalachia and rural communities where towns are being decimated by closing coal mines and the opioid crisis.

Entre-Ed’s belief is that by teaching entrepreneurship to these kids, they’ll at the very least grow up to be more resilient. They might even become entrepreneurs themselves and bring jobs back to their communities. The educators I met also spoke of the need to find role models for these kids–successful adults who the kids can relate to and emulate. I was deeply impacted by the stories of these educators and the struggles of their communities.

After the conference, I was reading Inc. Magazine’s 100 Female Founders issue and realized that, in my hands, was a list of 100 amazing female role models–100 successful women who would probably be interested in the plight of these kids and underserved girls in communities throughout the U.S. That’s when the initiative 100inspiring100 was born.

Before I continue, let me first tell you how I even got to this place–and about how The Startup Squad was born.

I was inspired by my own two daughters to create The Startup Squad. I wanted them to have reading material that made them believe that the possibilities for their futures were limitless. Too many of the books I saw for young girls their ages pigeon-holed girls into certain gender stereotypes, and I wanted my girls to have a much bigger view for what they could be or do someday.

Ultimately, I believe that girls who develop an entrepreneurial mindset will have a better chance to succeed in life, whatever their passion. So, I set out to create a book series and brand that would embolden girls for success. The Startup Squad’s mission is to empower girls to realize their potential, whatever their passions. It promotes the entrepreneurial mindset as a way for girls to learn important life skills and be inspired to chase their dreams with confidence and conviction. Part inspiration, part information, and part aspiration, The Startup Squad book series about friendship and entrepreneurship will be released by Imprint (Macmillan) on May 7.

One of the most exciting things I’ve noticed during this journey is that nearly 90% of girls who read a version of my book said it made them more interested in running their own business. What’s better: A number of them have already started! So, I know that my hopes and dreams for what The Startup Squad can accomplish are already being realized.

But, of course, I want every girl to have this opportunity, not just those who can afford to purchase the book. So, I’ve teamed up with Girls Inc. of NYC to launch 100inspiring100, a program to have 100 female leaders each donate copies of The Startup Squad to 100 underserved girls through Girls Inc. of NYC, inspiring them through entrepreneurship to realize their potential and follow their dreams and passions.

Girls Inc of NYC is a wonderful organization which helps girls discover their intellectual and emotional strengths. But the majority of these girls come from homes that could use our financial support; 65% of the girls who attend their programs come from families with annual incomes of $30,000 per year or less.

While our goal is to find 100 female leaders and role models for these girls, we recognize that so many other people might want to support this project. So, we say, please do! If you’re passionate about empowering young girls, we welcome your support, regardless of gender. This isn’t just about giving books; it’s about inspiring young girls to be the best version of themselves.

To give the girls more than the just the inspiration to start their own entrepreneurial journeys, we’d also love to provide these girls some tips before they open their first business. So we’re collecting tips and advice for girls opening their first lemonade stands.

With a book that teaches them to reach for their goals, some practical advice to get them started, and the support of female role models who care about their futures, these girls will have a head start in life that they wouldn’t otherwise enjoy.

Please join me in giving a book to a girl and helping to change her story.

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