It is no surprise that Minneapolis has been named one of the best cities for women entrepreneurs, according to a study conducted by NerdWallet, a financial literacy website. Here’s just a small sample of women entrepreneurs who’ve come out of the Opus College of Business and launched successful businesses.
Julie Steenerson, ’99 M.B.A. is co-owner of Sapor Café, “an elegant option for those looking for a satisfying meal in the North Loop,” says Heavy Table. “The seasonally based menu keeps diners interested with new dishes popping up frequently, and the range of small and large plates and flavors makes it easy to customize the meal to your appetite.”
Solome Tibebu ’12, is the founder of Cognific, a service-based software that will offer mental health “homework” in a gaming format for young adult patients, as well as an analytics platform for psychotherapists. Tibebu also started the website Anxiety In Teens, which is supported by more than 45 UST Learning Through Service students.
Emily Pritchard ’11 and Martha McCarthy ’11 founded The Social Lights in January 2011. To date, they’ve helped more than 30 companies (ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies), craft their social media strategy in a way that leaves a lasting brand impression on their loyal fans and followers.
Kate Herzog ’09 M.B.A. founded House of Talents, a company that works with the craftspeople of Ghana to produce hand-made soaps, woven baskets, and jewelry.
BreAnna Fisher ’13 is a social media expert who is revolutionizing gift-giving over smart devices with her new Web-based application, DoDrinks.com. DoDrinks is currently incubated at the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship and took first place in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards regional competition last year.
Susan Wuollett, ’11 M.B.A. and her husband Michael Wuollett ’11 M.B.A. launched Protégé Biomedical and the Styptic Fibrin Bandage (a product that rapidly stops bleeding in minor cuts and other wounds). They took first place in the Fowler Business Concept Challenge, received funding from the Norris Institute, filed for international patent protection and conducted the first set of animal trials in the last 2 years. From interested angel investors to advisory board members to a host of helpful mentors and industry contacts—UST connections have paved the path from business concept to medical device company.
NerdWallet found that the city’s low unemployment rate and educated workforce make it a great place to start a business. These findings were based on number of businesses per residents, percent of women-owned businesses, median income, unemployment rate, and the percent of residents 25+ with a Bachelor’s degree.
Minneapolis came in fourth on the NerdWallet top ten list, behind San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Minneapolis has the dual benefits of having a very low unemployment rate and an educated workforce. Additionally, women own almost a third of businesses in Minneapolis. Minnesotan businesswomen can meet each other and network at quarterly events at Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota. The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) of Minnesota is very active, providing networking and other events, and nearby twin-city Saint Paul-based WomenVenture offers loans and transitional career services.
Other top cities on the NerdWallet list include Portland, Atlanta, Austin, Raleigh, Denver and San Diego.