On Monday evening, May 22nd, over 60 members from UCI, Team Kids and the Orange County community gathered to attend the UCI ANTrepreneur Center’s third Girlboss event. Julie Hudash, founder and CEO of Team Kids, the keynote speaker of the event, shared her experiences as a female entrepreneur and starting her non-profit company, Team Kids. Girlboss also featured six other female entrepreneurs that shared their different perspectives and insights working with their own startups.
Hosted at The UCI Cove, guests from an array of different backgrounds came streaming in through the doors. Elementary school students, parents, Team Kids volunteers, UCI Students, and members of the Irvine Police Department and Orange County Fire Authority were in attendance. After a brief period of networking and light dining, David Ochi, the Executive Director of the UCI ANTrepreneur center, kicked off the third Girlboss event of the academic year.
To demonstrate the importance of entrepreneurship, David began by posing a question to the audience: “What are the odds that this graduating class will be self-employed within the first five years after graduation?”. Answers from the crowd ranged from 20 to 30 percent.
Then, he announced the staggering statistic: “48 percent”.
This statement moved many of the aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience. It became apparent that it is necessary start building the fundamental skills and leadership abilities to be a successful entrepreneur. Next, David introduced Michael Dennin, Dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education and Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning. He started off by asking the spectators to take-part in his selfie by holding up the Anteater symbol and shouting out, “Zot zot zot!”.
“It’s always exciting to be a part of these events, and it’s great to have the ANTrepreneur Center in partnership with the Division of Undergraduate Education” he remarked.
Shortly after, Julie Hudash began her keynote and spoke about the factors in her life that led her to pursue her passion and starting a non-profit. During her senior year of college at The University of Southern California, she was discussing with her friends a question all students are familiar with: what they were going to do after they graduate. “All of us had degrees, but none of us knew what they meant,” she noted.
“I am going to make a difference in the world. I have no idea how I’m going to do it, but I am going to figure it out”. The premise and purpose behind launching Team Kids was to build a program that mentors and empowers elementary, middle, and high school students through youth councils, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship.
Julie has extended her nonprofit across 40 different schools including 12 cities within Orange County, and insisted that it is critical to reach these children before they give up on their dreams. She believes in the notion that empowered people empower people. Future plans for Julie and Team kids involve driven growth and expansion through partnerships with large corporations like Starbucks to leverage their reach. With recognition from the LA Times, OC Register, and the Orange County Business Journal, there seems to be nothing stopping the movement of empowering kids across the country.
Following the keynote, Girlboss featured six female entrepreneurs, who shared their businesses with the attendees of the event.
Gabrielle Wilson, founder of PeekooBox, created a monthly subscription-based delivery program for feminine hygiene products. “This idea was inspired from realizing that it was a nuisance to have to go back and forth to the store without having a car”, she commented.
Cynthia Kirkeby, founder and CVO of Adaptifyed, is currently based in the UCI Center for Applied Innovation and has been working with her patented system to monetize downloads. Natalie Sweis, inspired to promote the safety for anyone in a threatening situation, founded an app called Failsafe. Bulletin, founded by Esosa Agbonwaneten, is a productivity app for students to help them stay organized and updated.
Kristie Lin, CMO of InstantCustom, handles the marketing strategy and operations for her custom printing startup. Crystal Sanchez, created a panic button called Guardian Locket to alert loved ones and police when the wearer feels endangered, built for safety and peace of mind.
The event concluded as the guests finished making their way around the different booths. Many aspiring entrepreneurs were able to gain insight and inspiration from listening and speaking with the established startups. We hope to see these inspired individuals make an appearance in the future Girlboss events to come.
Watch Julie’s keynote in full here.
Article by ANTrepreneur Center Student Consultant Keene Do.