City College has partnered with Standard Chartered Bank to create a program that targets women entrepreneurship in technology. The initiative, the Women Entrepreneurs Resource Center, is within the college’s center, Zahn Innovation. The collaboration was launched in the fall of 2014 and aims to build more opportunities for women in business.
Zahn’s executive director, Lindsay Siegel says that Standard Chartered Bank approached them last year and a relationship was formed. Zahn enables entrepreneurs to develop startups by taking classes, participating in competitions with a $30,000 prize and attending a startup boot camp. Standard Chartered is committed to serving as Zahn’s banking group as they generally do for businesses.
One of the organization’s students, Carrie Evans, expresses her gratitude for being selected and getting to work in a creatively-driven atmosphere.
“It’s been a whirlwind experience. The program has been fast-paced and we are constantly being propelled forward,” she says.
The students are given anything needed to implement their ideas, from seed money to pro bono and IP lawyers, accountants and mentors. There are also weekly meetings with the program’s directors and students.
Evans, who is a Theater major and a mother, has been working hard to execute her cloth diaper business called Cubbies. She admits to lacking a business background prior to the program, but has since discovered solutions for easing the process of cloth diapering and making her business mainstream. When she spotted a flyer for the Zahn Competition, she jumped at the opportunity and has been satisfied ever since.
“It’s exciting to be one of the new Standard Chartered Business Women. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s so fulfilling,” Evans adds.
Chris Teo, the head of Standard Chartered’s Business and Corporate Communications, says the bank offers various programs to bring diversity.
As a team, Zahn and Standard Chartered foster a community that executes their mission to revolutionize women in the tech industry. The goal is to culturally shift a society where gender diversity is often misrepresented.
Siegel says the expansion is still in its early stages, though in the near future they have more planned, including specialized courses and a mentorship program.
“The response from students has been great,” she adds. “Entrepreneurship is not only important for women, but for any student, it is a good idea.”