Using their entrepreneurial talents, seniors Courtney Bickley and Abby Wollschlager are empowering women to get involved with business and innovation, such as creating new business models and products.
Bickley and Wollschlager received first place at the 2019 Innovation Expo in Sioux Falls on Oct. 10 for their business pitch. The pair pitched “SafeRun,” a portable, discreet device worn by exercisers to work out without worrying about their safety.
The Innovation Expo is an entrepreneurship conference series that emphasizes connections between entrepreneurs, innovators and investors. Students that participate in the expo are narrowed down to six finalists who then present their pitch in front of the entire audience of the expo. Students also hear from successful businessmen and women from the Midwest to learn about future opportunities in innovation.
Wollschlager and Bickley said they made sure their product would stand out from the other competitors.
“When preparing for the Innovation Expo we had to really determine who are target market was, along with how we were going to stand out,” Bickley said.
Along with the Innovation Expo,
Bickley, a business administration major with a minor in entrepreneurship, said she looks to change the world around her with her talents in business leadership and pitching.
“I am wanting to change the world one step at a time and through entrepreneurship,” Bickley said. “I believe I am capable of doing that.”
Wollschlager, an innovation and entrepreneurship major with a minor in marketing, said entrepreneurship opens her to a world of opportunities as a woman, she said.
“Being a woman, I have a different outlook on many issues than a man and as such bring a new perspective to the business world,” Wollschlager said.
The pair said they see being a woman as an opportunity in entrepreneurship and problem-solving.
“Women’s role in entrepreneurship is important due to the fact that women tend to think differently than your average male entrepreneur,” Bickley said. “Women entrepreneurs tend to have a more creative outlook and vision on things, being able to expand the quality of a company’s culture in different businesses.”
As seniors, Wollschlager said she hopes to run her own business one day and Bickley said she hopes to go back into her family business after college.
They said they hope that their success at USD with entrepreneurship will continue to cultivate future female business and entrepreneurship leaders across campus.