Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Follow SDSU  Follow SDSU on Twitter Follow SDSU on Facebook Follow SDSU on Google+ SDSU RSS Feed

A recent gift from MUFG Union Bank aims to increase the number of startup ideas from women majoring in the STEM disciplines. A recent gift from MUFG Union Bank aims to increase the number of startup ideas from women majoring in the STEM disciplines.
 


Gift Supports Women in STEM Entrepreneurship

MUFG Union Bank is supporting the ZIP Launchpad in an effort to increase startup ideas from women majoring in STEM disciplines.
By Corey Polant
 

“SDSU stood out for its capacity to cultivate innovation and entrepreneurship, especially for young women who historically have not entered entrepreneurship at the same rate as men.”

The Zahn Innovation Platform (ZIP) Launchpad has received funding to develop strategies for recruiting and engaging women in STEM entrepreneurship.

A recent $37,500 gift from MUFG Union Bank aims to increase the number of startup ideas admitted into the ZIP Launchpad from women majoring in the STEM disciplines at San Diego State University.  

“SDSU stood out for its capacity to cultivate innovation and entrepreneurship, especially for young women who historically have not entered entrepreneurship at the same rate as men," said Kathy Patoff, chief operating officer for MUFG Union Bank Foundation.

This is the first gift of its kind from the San Francisco-based MUFG Union Bank to the ZIP Launchpad. While the ZIP Launchpad has been successful recruiting students from all disciplines during its seven-year history, this funding will provide specific resources to strategically recruit and engage women in STEM to entrepreneurship, something not yet explored by the campus incubator.  

A goal of this initiative is to develop a deeper connection to a community underrepresented in entrepreneurship and recruit women in STEM to apply with ideas for incubation. The ZIP Launchpad will use a variety of channels, including social media, events, classroom presentations, conferences and partnering with student organizations, to connect with new students. The ZIP Launchpad will also hire a student intern to create strategic relationships with campus partners, such as faculty and staff from the College of Engineering and College of Sciences, to assist with efforts.

“The partnership with SDSU on the ZIP Launchpad entrepreneurship program is directly aligned with MUFG's Inclusion and Diversity plan, which is focused on increasing the innovative and creative solutions through the engagement of our diverse workforce and to help develop and give back to the communities we serve,” said Alison Gavin, head of Inclusion and Diversity at MUFG Union Bank.  

The future

Over the next year, the ZIP Launchpad aims to build out a framework for the initiative and solicit applications from women in STEM majors. As this initiative grows, the ZIP Launchpad strives to diversify the overall applicant pool and continue creating a community for ideas to thrive.

“Entrepreneurship is an amazing experience for anyone to be active in, but especially women because of the empowerment it gives you," said Sophie Chance, a sophomore electrical engineering student.

Last month, the campus welcomed the opening of the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex, dedicated to research and innovation at SDSU. Within the William E. Leonhard Entrepreneurship Center is the new home to the ZIP Launchpad, ZIP Idea Lab and Lavin Entrepreneurship Program. This hub for entrepreneurial activities on campus is expected to attract students from diverse disciplines and create synergies between research and entrepreneurship.