Women’s Initiative Speaker Series features inspiring women entrepreneurs

The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship focuses on strengthening the alliance of women business leaders in the community

The College of Business and the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship will host a Women’s Initiative Speaker Series throughout the month of May.


4/27/2017 | By: Nicole Shearer |

The Women's Initiative Speaker Series, featuring female entrepreneurs throughout the month of May 2017, is designed to inspire and connect students with local business and community leaders. The events, hosted by the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno and the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship, will focus on celebrating and promoting women in entrepreneurship.

Three "Coffee and Conversation" meetings will include local business women as guest speakers. Each of the events are free and open to the public.

Brianna Bullentini
10-11 a.m. Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Bullentini will share the story behind building Rawbry, Chomp and Escape, businesses all located at The Basement. To RSVP visit bullentini.eventbrite.com.

Sandra Rentas (A bilingual conversation)
10-11 a.m. Tuesday, May 9, 2017
As a business development advisor for the Nevada Small Business Development Center, Rentas will head the first bilingual event featuring local Latina entrepreneurs. In addition to offering her own advice from years of serving the Reno community, she will share the business essentials needed to follow through on an idea. To RSVP visit rentas.eventbrite.com.

Joey Mares
10 a.m. Tuesday, May 16, 2017
When looking for feet beneath bathroom doors to find a vacant stall, Mares became determined to come up with a solution to this awkward problem. After two and a half years of research and product development "Peep No More" was born. In this talk, Mares will discuss how she successfully brought her product to the market.

The final event of the month will be from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 24 with renowned leadership expert Joelle K. Jay. Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, who made a proclamation at the last Women's Initiative event, will give remarks and introduce Jay. To RSVP for this event, visit jayevening.eventbrite.com.

"Our aim with this speaker series is to highlight female business achievements in and around the community," Liset Puentes, manager of the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship, said. "Since last year's Women's Initiative event, we have successfully fostered female-driven business initiatives throughout the year and we look forward to uncovering new opportunities and connections this year."

According to Puentes, last year's Women's Initiative inspired the creation of The Professional Network of Women, a collaborative community of female University students interested in professional pursuits. The Ozmen Center also sponsored two University students to attend last fall's Women as Change Makers event and sponsored high school students to attend Girl Empire. The effort to find ways to connect students with female leaders also inspired "Next Big Thing," a luncheon designed by the College of Business and The Ozmen Center to encourage students and community members to bring forward their ideas in front of a mostly-female panel.

As part of its mission to create a space for students to learn and pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors, faculty and staff at the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship are looking to create a more inclusive space for business-minded women to pursue their dreams. The idea for the Women's Initiative began after members of the Ozmen Center noticed that no female teams made the final round of the 2016 Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition, a program of the University's College of Business.

Women own 36 percent of all businesses according to the 2012 U.S. Census - a jump of 30 percent over 2007. However, there is still a lack of representation and engagement among the growing segment of female entrepreneurs. Community leaders such as Schieve, a business leader in her own right, acknowledged that women face a separate set of challenges than men when it comes to starting a business. At last year's event, she said she sees the Initiative as an excellent way to bridge the gap and propel the city's economy forward.

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