This is a story about entrepreneurs. What follows is a roll call of dreamers, doers, and people not afraid to climb onto a limb to chase an idea.
What they all have in common is they went to Babson College, the home of entrepreneurial leadership. They’re also a group of risk-taking, rule-breaking, status-quo-shaking women. Their ventures offer excellent examples of business ideas for anyone with an entrepreneurial hankering.
Interested in launching your own business? Peruse this wide-ranging list, which covers ventures from virtual reality and STEM, to pet food, jewelry, and textiles. Then find your own passion and make it into reality. Heed the wise words of Oprah Winfrey, someone who knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship. “If you don’t know what your passion is,” says Winfrey, “realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it.”
The Idea: Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety
While in high school, Sree Dasari ’23 took a class that required a lot of public speaking. Noticing that she became sweaty and nervous every time her turn came to speak in front of people, Dasari wondered if there was a way to simulate that public speaking experience for practice.
The end result was Vadati, a company that aims to help others overcome public speaking anxiety by using virtual reality. “It’s reinventing the way you train,” she says.
The Idea: Reusing Textile Waste
The family of Prabaarja Bedi MBA’20 owns a textile business in India, and she often has thought about the tremendous amount of waste the textile industry creates. “I realized there is a lot of waste, but it’s in usable form,” says Bedi. “I saw it as an opportunity.”
Bedi launched UNfabricated, which produces furnishings, apparel, and accessories from textile waste. The venture also seeks to empower impoverished women. All of the company’s products are made by rural women working at an all-female production house that provides skills and fair wages.
The Idea: Exposing Children to STEM
Bryanne Leeming MBA’16 studied cognitive science in college and always had an interest in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math.
To expose children to STEM, her company, Unruly Studios, created what are known as Splats. Durable and programmable, these interactive learning devices are made to be stomped on and played with. Children can control Splats using code.
“I don’t think every kid needs to become a programmer or go into a technical role,” says Leeming, “but the early exposure to STEM can change how they think for their whole lives.”
The Idea: Feeding Our Furry Friends
Emily Lagasse MBA’15 adopted her dog, Fenway, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo. When she returned to the States, though, Fenway had trouble eating any of the dog food brands available. So, Lagasse took a dog-food cooking class, and after she started making Fenway’s meals with natural ingredients, the change in her pet was dramatic. “He immediately started eating again, which made me so happy,” she says.
That experience led Lagasse to launch Fedwell pet foods, and, ultimately, she would open her own store, Petwell Supply.
The Idea: Selling Jewelry from Your Homeland
People always asked Angela Sanchez MBA’11 about the brightly colored jewelry she wore. Made from seeds, berries, and other natural ingredients, the pieces had been created by women artisans in her native Colombia. Each time she returned home, Sanchez visited these women in small business and bought their jewelry for herself and others.
Sanchez eventually launched Artyfactos, which sells this jewelry around the world. “I am proud that I am able to help create jobs for women in Colombia, who didn’t have the same exposure and opportunities as I did,” says Sanchez.
The Idea: Empowering Artists
Many of the women on this list work to empower others. Debbie Cohen ’19 is no exception. She has long had an interest in helping people with special needs and volunteered for years at an art center for people with intellectual disabilities. She went on to found Guatemala City-based Yad, which sells home decor products in Central America that showcase the artwork of artists with intellectual disabilities.
“They have so much potential that people don’t know about,” Cohen says of the artists Yad works with. “I want to empower them.”
Posted in Entrepreneurship of All Kinds