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Women in Entrepreneurship Inspire at Networking Night

Woman and man shaking hands on Rev balcony at Networking Night.

Women in Entrepreneurship Inspire at Networking Night

On Thursday, June 13th, Rev: Ithaca Startup Works celebrated women in entrepreneurship and provided them the space to connect with other members of the local entrepreneurship and innovation community. Harmful gender stereotypes often prevent women from accessing critical business networks and resources, and female-founded startups don’t receive nearly as much venture capital investment as men’s. Despite challenges, female entrepreneurs in Ithaca are crafting an inspiring future through their innovation and alternative business models. 

The 84 attendees grazed on Mediterranean fare from Ba-Li Cravings, local beverages, and products from female-pioneered regional businesses, including Hazy Fudge, SeenNutrition, and Via’s Cookies, before turning their attention to business pitches and a panel of local female CEOs. 

Candice Reeves presented her self-care brand, WAVVY, which specializes in natural and sustainable bath soaks. She asked the audience to relax for relaxing’s sake: “We envision a world where everyone can practice self-care guilt-free,” she said. 

Afterward, Ithaca college graduate and author of Baking with Baddies, Olivia Carpenter, pitched Via’s Cookies, her baking startup with a vision. “I founded my business to be an arbiter of change,” she said. Carpenter shares the proceeds from her bakes to help offset costs for struggling BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students. The fervent creator asked the audience to “think: what does life mean if we are just pursuing a 9-5, and not the beauty in life,” and to imagine a more just world for everyone.  

During the panel, moderator Deborah Streeter, Faculty Director Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell, asked CEO panelists Chelsey Kingsley and Andrea Ippolito to discuss how they navigate the “Double Blind” effect: the expectation on women from all genders that women are supposed to be nice.  

“As a woman in a non-traditional role, I’ve had customers come in to ask questions; I answer the questions, and they still only look at our male employee,” CEO of Kingsley Quality Woodworking Chelsey Kingsley says. To combat others’ preconceptions, Kingsley had to confront that she’s never considered being “pushy”, and draw from a new part of herself. “Being a CEO is about being able to go with the flow, read the room, read the situation, and pull from all different ways of being to take care of customers,” she says. 

Andrea Ippolito, CEO and Founder of Simplifed, a maternal health care at home platform, reported a message her coach had delivered to her before attending an investing event: “You are worthy; you are invited to be there.” She advised women not to count themselves out due to imposter syndrome in male-dominated spaces.  

“I bring something different. I bring something different because of who I am,” Kingsley said. “I bring something different because I’m a woman, I bring something different because I’m a first-generation family business.” 

Join us on August 1st for Networking@Rev: Hardware Demo Day to witness pitches and product demonstrations from the teams in the 2024 Prototyping Hardware Accelerator! Space is limited — RSVP today