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SDSU Hosts Second Annual Women in Entrepreneurship Lecture

Entrepreneurship was once considered a male-dominated domain, but the tide is turning.  

Today, women own more than 9 million firms in the United States. These companies employ nearly 8 million people and generate $1.5 trillion in sales, according to data from the National Association of Women Business Owners.

The “Golden Age” for women entrepreneurs has finally arrived and women now make up 40 percent of new entrepreneurs in this country, said Tamara Romeo (’92, communication), chair of San Diego State University’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and the founder and CEO of San Diego Office Design.

In an effort to capitalize on that growth, the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at SDSU’s Fowler College of Business and its affiliated student organization Entrepreneur Society, hosted the second annual Women in Entrepreneurship Lecture Series on Thursday, Feb. 22.  

Photo of panel

Eight local women entrepreneurs were guest panelists

Attendees at the event were the first to hear the announcement from Steven Osinski, SDSU marketing faculty member and former chair of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, that the Osinski Family Trust would be making an endowed gift of $250,000 to continue the Women in Entrepreneurship lecture series.

Osinski’s gift will be matched through an endowment made in 2016 by Ron (’05 LHD) and Alexis (’93, MS accounting) Fowler, raising the total to $500,000.

Osinski Family

From left: Julia, Ellen, Steven and Allie Osinski

“Although things are changing for the better, I still believe that the scales are not fully balanced for supporting women in the workplace,” Osinski said. “Having two grown daughters of my own, I am more aware of this than ever before. For that reason, my family is honored that our endowment will support, develop and enhance SDSU’s program of Women in Entrepreneurship & Leadership in perpetuity.”

This year’s lecture, which drew a near-capacity crowd, featured Romeo and seven other female entrepreneurs and industry trailblazers. They discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by women who want to start their own organizations.

In addition to Romeo, the panelists for the 2018 event were:Kathy David, president and CEO of IT TechPros Information Technology

  • Felena Hanson, founder of Hera Hub Workspace for Women
  • Gail Naughton, founder and CEO of Histogen BioTech (and former Dean of SDSU College of Business)
  • Kimberly King, co-director of StartR and mystartupxx
  • Samantha Madhosingh, founder and CEO of ElevateHER Mindfulness
  • Amy Shelby, vice president of digital marketing for CW Television Network
  • Lydia Krasner, owner of Mitzvah Event Productions

The panel also discussed how women entrepreneurs face challenges not typically encountered by their male counterparts, such as difficulties securing financing, along with societal and social barriers.

“As women, we need to train ourselves to ask for help and not be afraid to take a seat at the table,” Romeo said.