The W.E. Cornell program helps STEM women commercialize their innovations and overcome the challenges of leading a growing technology-based business. Combining a proven entrepreneurship curriculum with a focus on leadership development and empowerment, participants will finish the program prepared to take the next steps in their entrepreneurship journey.

The Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on researching the entrepreneurial climate in the United States and supporting entrepreneurship programs, identifies some of the key barriers facing women entrepreneurs:

  • Mentors are in short supply
  • Implicit biases exist against women entrepreneurs
  • Lack of access to venture capital 1

The W.E. Cornell program is a guided entrepreneurship and leadership program that helps women in STEM overcome these challenges. Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Meet experienced mentors
  • Build your network
  • Hone their market fit and customer base
  • Launch their innovations and pitch investors and community members

A Call to Action: New Climate Tech Track

Women Entrepreneurs with innovations in ALL STEM FIELDS are encouraged join W.E. Cornell. Yet, as we review the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and its more precise forecasts for the 21st Century warning of increased severe weather devastation, we strongly encourage women and other diverse leaders to respond to this “call to action” and apply their innovations to help solve our local, national, and global climate challenges. Tied to this, we are excited to announce a climate tech “track” focused on empowering founders in this arena with additional mentorship, coaching, and resources.

Program Structure

Fall- Phase 1

Applications are open to all STEM women, including women-identified and non-binary students at Cornell.

The program will require an estimated time commitment of two hours per week during the school year. Participants will be expected to:

  • Participate in 6-7 interactive workshops
  • Network with 5-10 potential mentors

Winter and Spring- Phase 2

A select group of participants from the Fall will progress to complete the Winter and Spring phases. This smaller cohort will be expected to:

  • Participate in an National Science Foundation I-Corps Regional Course
  • Participate in 6-7 interactive workshops
  • Network with 5-10 potential mentors
  • Practice pitching with mentors
  • Present to the Advisory Board at a closing celebration and demo day

At the end of the program, participants will work with mentors to identify subsequent entrepreneurship resources at Cornell and in the community. They will graduate with a clear focus on next steps and a strong support network of fellow entrepreneurs.

Epperson Entrepreneurship Fund

The Epperson Entrepreneurship Fund provides summer funding for STEM women entrepreneurs working to advance their innovations. Learn more about the Epperson Entrepreneurship Fund.