Girl Scouts offer young NYC girls entrepreneurship opportunities
Krystal Brown | 7/18/2013, 2:51 p.m. | Updated on 7/18/2013, 2:51 p.m.
Starting this summer, the New Girl Scouts of the Greater New York’s Girl Scout Leadership Institute (GSLI-NY), in partnership with Barnard College’s Athena Center, is giving a rare opportunity to 51 girls, grades nine to 12, from low-income communities to develop socially responsible business ideas and have them evaluated by some of New York’s brightest women entrepreneurs.
The 10-day summer intensive will be held at the Girl Scouts Camp in Dutchess County and on the Barnard campus in July. It will continue throughout the 2013-14 school year.
During the intensive, the participants will break into small groups to share their business ideas and gain critical problem-solving skills as public speakers, entrepreneurs, marketers and storytellers. Some of New York’s top entrepreneurs will be offering workshops like “Developing a Business Idea” and “Getting Funded,” the latter of which will also include site visits to start-ups throughout New York.
Some of the workshop instructors will include Rachel Braun Scherl, co-founder of SPARK Solutions for Growth; Vanessa Hurst, a data-focused technologist turned social entrepreneur and the founder of CodeMontage; Grace Ng, entrepreneur, designer and co-founder of Lean Startup Machine; and Broadway actress Elise Hernandez (“In the Heights”).
Other workshop courses will include:
Storytelling: Students learn the craft of storytelling and will be able to tell the story of their business in a enjoyable and compelling way.
Market Research: Students will learn strategies for designing a business idea and understand how to cater to the needs of their audience or customer.
Personal Finance: The Girl Scouts’ goal is to instruct girls how to be financially fluent at an early age.
The summer intensive will also be holding a Pitchfest on Thursday, July 18, during which, for a five-minute time period, each girl will sell her idea to a panel of established entrepreneurs and other students as well as leaders representing Barnard College and the Girl Scouts.
The GSLI-NY summer intensive features an entrepreneurial program from Barnard’s flagship pre-college program, “Entrepreneurs-in-Training,” which was designed by Nathalie Molina Niño, a consultant to the Athena Center, who is teaching entrepreneurial strategy.
“For young women to succeed in entrepreneurial ventures, they need to learn differently and be encouraged to use their creativity and talents, whatever their ideas might be, because women have skills that may be different from the ‘norm’ of the business world,” said Ann Dachs, director of Barnard’s pre-college programs.
The goal of the GSLI-NYC summer initiative is to focus on closing the leadership gap for girls and women and to expand its service from 28,000 to 60,000 girls. “A gender leadership gap continues to persist, and there is an urgent need for action to close it. To ensure that women can advance, we believe that intervention must begin early in a girl’s life,” said Barbara Murphy-Warrington, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York.
“With GSLI-NYC, we are taking a major step toward realizing that potential. The impact this institute will have on the lives of these 51 young women reflects our commitment to reshape the leadership landscape for today’s girls and to ensure that they receive the support and encouragement they need to make a difference in their communities and the world,” she continued.
The fall school year program will be made of three different leadership development courses:
Leadership in the Workplace: This features career exploration opportunities through workplace visits and offers girls the opportunity to become interns.
Leadership in the Community: Girls will participate in leadership and public policy-related workshops.
Leadership in the World: Girls will participate in workshops about global issues and advocacy, as well as to have the opportunity to attend the annual Athena Film Festival at Barnard College, a festival about the celebration of women and leadership.
To participate in the 2014 selection process, you must attend an optional information session on May 7 or May 9 at the Girl Scouts of Greater New York on 43 W. 23rd St. Participants will also be able fight for their community issues through designing and implementing a Take Action Project. By doing this, they will become part of a network of powerful women as well as earn a Girl Scout Gold Award.
Select participants in the Leadership in the World module will have the chance to join a virtual twinning partnership with girls in an international member organization of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.