Montclair State University joined more than 160 universities and colleges last week in the celebration of Women Entrepreneurship Week (WEW). Throughout the week, universities at their respective campuses hosted multiple events featuring women entrepreneurs and sharing stories about women empowerment in the business market.
The Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship, part of the School of Business, kicked off their fifth annual Women Entrepreneurship Week Conference, at Montclair State last week.
The week’s celebration of events for WEW kicked off on Oct. 15 with a focus on women entrepreneurs in the fashion industry. On Oct. 15, WEW started its all-day conference, beginning with networking and a continental breakfast to introduce the panel of speakers to the students of Montclair State and the international visitors who traveled to attend the conference.
WEW, which originated as a creative idea in a cubicle at Montclair State in 2014, was the first of its kind held. North Jersey universities participated to show the growth and innovation of women in business.
The objective of the WEW conference is to push students and women to become more involved participants in the economy by inciting a network of women leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs to create economic expansion in communities.
The conference featured a variety of successful women as part of its slate of events. In 2016, it even featured New Jersey former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
Guadagno expressed her passion in a statement to NJ Advance Media about the importance to advocate for women in the workforce.
“It is vital to continue to empower women in the workforce and to remain advocates for one another in all walks of life,” Guadagno said in the statement in 2016.
Montclair State University, which received praise from women’s organizations, is one of many universities in New Jersey that will be taking part in hosting WEW-related events this year that highlight women of excellence in business.
With the expansion of the WEW conference from Montclair State to the inclusion of other universities, like Rutgers University’s Newark and New Brunswick campuses, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Berkeley College, the WEW conferences have continued to become an epicenter for creativity and innovation.
Mike E. Vega, sophomore at The College of Education and Human Services, voiced his interest in the WEW conference.
“I really don’t know too much about the conferences, but I think it is very important that we learn and take advantage of the limitless knowledge that the guest speakers will give,” Vega said. “I’m excited.”
The WEW conference had four keynote speakers at Montclair State: owner and designer at Fabiola Arias LLC Fabiola Arias, owner and designer of Golftini Susan Hess, founder and CEO of Suuchi, Inc. Suuchi Ramesh, and cofounder and chief creative officer of Argent Eleanor Turner. The moderator of the panel was business reporter Meg Fry from ROI-NJ.
Each panelist discussed their beginning journey and later successes in navigating through the business market at the conference.
Freshman French major with a minor in entrepreneurship Berline Delinois voiced her interest in the WEW conference as she signed visitors in to the event.
“I find this event brings women together from all backgrounds,” Delinos said. “This conference is a wonderful opportunity to learn, ask questions from professionals in the field, and to network and receive internships, which I have seen happen with students who attend the event.”
With the widespread critical acclaim from the groundbreaking success of 2014’s WEW conference, this year’s conference hosted by Montclair State has one goal for the conferences in mind, which is to empower women and female students.
Mackenzie McLaughlin, a graduate student studying business administration, expressed her affinity for the WEW conference.
“I can honestly say I am so happy the university hosts these events,” McLaughlin said. “I get to meet such strong independent women who make me want to strive for something far greater than myself.”