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Budding Entrepreneurs Gain First-Hand Experience

Budding Entrepreneurs Gain First-Hand Experience

A group of 19 rising juniors and seniors kicked off their summer at Dana Hall’s Girls Summer Entrepreneurship Program (GSEP). The business-minded participants had many opportunities to learn and work collaboratively. Under the leadership of Program Director Michele Kiehl and Associate Head of School Rob Mather P24, 26, the week-long curriculum included creating and presenting a business plan; gaining exposure to the process for developing product and service concepts; learning financial and marketing basics; and strengthening problem-solving and innovation skills.

Activities on campus included a visit from Neeve Prendergast from The Castle Group, a public relations and events firm, who led participants through a media training and storytelling session, then consulted with each team on their product pitch. In addition to sessions at Dana Hall, the participants visited Harvard’s Innovation Labs, the New Balance Sports Research Lab, where they met with alumnae Katie McCully Murphy ’05 and Amanda Keator ’14, and Babson’s Blank School of Entrepreneurial Leadership.

“While it is always important to introduce our students to accomplished women, having Dana Hall alumnae role models made it especially meaningful for them,” Mather said. “Introducing them to women mentors is a key element of GSEP.” 

The program culminated with a “Shark Tank”-style pitch presentation, known as the Dragon's Lair. Working in five teams, the students shared their plans for new apps — MVP (Making Valuable Progress), Silverlink Software, Hungry Helper, Foodilicious and Your Closet — ideas that ranged from helping seniors navigate technology and services to pairing existing clothing into new outfits to guiding students to determine their learning style and more. 

In the end, the alumnae panel of Lisa Issacs Iannucci ’04, Sara Remsen ’08 and Marynee Pontes ’12 selected Foodilicious, an app that will identify recipes and meal ideas for users based on items they have in their homes, as the winning proposal.

Sara Remsen ’08, Marynee Pontes ’12, Lisa Issacs Iannucci ’04

Neeve Prendergast from The Castle Group hosted a session on media training and storytelling.

A group worked on app prototypes in Babson's Weisman Foundry.

Participants visited Harvard Innovation Labs

The winning group, Foodilicious, gave their pitch in the Dragon's Lair.