Empower 2023, Celebrating Women Academic Entrepreneurs, April 26-28, 2023

Watch Empower 2023 sessions now

Day 1: Launching a Startup

Welcome from Princeton

Hear from Princeton's Vice Dean for Innovation Craig B. Arnold and Donald R. Seitz, Associate Director, Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, as they officially opened Empower 2023.



Keynote: Katie Rae and Sydney Thomas in a conversation between two leading female VCs

This fireside chat between two exceptional venture capitalists with a focus on two different but complementary sectors, each driving significant societal impacts, kicked off the Empower Conference and amplified the conference themes of providing knowledge, resources and connections for women entrepreneurs.



From Innovation to Impact: I-Corps | Grants | Accelerators

This panel with a broad range of responsibilities and experiences discussed resources available during the earliest stages of an academic startup.



Tech Transfer and Licensing Strategies

Leaders from various university technology transfer offices discussed their impact on building entrepreneurial momentum on campuses across the nation and the roles they serve in support of academic entrepreneurs.



Workshop: Customer Discovery

I-Corps lead instructor Christina Pellicane led this workshop, discussing techniques and tools to validate one’s proposed solution by gathering customer feedback and fine-tuning the product-market fit. 



Sector Focus: Women Founders and Investors in the Physical and Material Sciences

A panel of women leaders will describe what attracted them to their fields, discuss their entrepreneurial journeys and describe their pathway from academic to startup environments.



Day 2: Funding a Startup

Closing the Funding Gap: Insights to Empower Women Entrepreneurs

Gwen Edwards of Golden Seeds reviewed some of the most recent startup investment trends as captured in the latest ARI (Angel Research Institute) The Halo Report. Ilene H. Lang, former CEO of Catalyst, shared her perspectives - gained from a career as a startup CEO and advisor to large corporations advocating for women in leadership roles - on ways to combat these data trends.




Sector Focus: What You Didn't Learn in English Class -- Exploring the Intersection of Entrepreneurship and the Humanities

A fascinating conversation among four women leaders highlighting the differences and similarities of humanities-based and social impact ventures with more typical STEM-based spinouts and startups. Moderated by Ann Kirschner



Keynote Address: Kate Goodall

Kate Goodall, CEO and Co-Founder of Halcyon discussed the momentum of impact funds and incubators to support founders driving societal change.



Workshop: Elevating Your Pitch Through Storytelling

Workshop leader Josh Tobiessen will share skills and techniques - informed by skills used by theatrical performers - to help differentiate one’s pitch when raising money, hiring key employees, and/or gaining early customer commitments.



Day 3: Scaling a Startup

Keynote Address: When Women Lead featuring Julia Boorstin, Angel Brunner and Heidi Patel

Julia Boorstin, Author of "When Women Lead: What We Achieve, Why We Succeed and What We Can Learn From Them", was joined by two exceptional women entrepreneurs - social impact venture investor Heidi Patel and community development leader Angel Brunner - to discuss with each about their views on leadership skills and women in leading business roles.



Workshop: Building a Strategy Map to Create a Path to Sustainable Success

How to build Strategy Maps and how they can enable focused, high-impact realization of your strategic objectives over the long term.



Sector Focus: Exploring Investor-Founder Fit in Biotech and Digital Health Startups

Two experienced biotech and digital health investors are joined by two early-stage founders to discuss their journeys, lessons learned, and both product-market fit and investor-founder fit.





Celebrating Women Academic Entrepreneurship

  • Explore the path to entrepreneurial success and positive societal impact for academic-driven innovations by faculty, graduate students, postdocs and other founders in deep tech, social sciences, arts and humanities.
  • Engage with experts across the three stages of university startups – launching, funding and scaling – and learn valuable skills and resources to tap as your entrepreneurial journey unfolds.
  • Network with fellow founders and investors in the commercialization of university-developed intellectual property.
  • Celebrate with some of the nation's best academic spinouts during a pitch competition in which presenting companies will compete for significant cash and in-kind prizes.
  • Online, April 26-27-28








Stay connected

Join our mailing list for updates on the Empower 2023 Conference.



Empower is a Princeton University entrepreneurship conference hosted by Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, part of the Office of the Dean for Research and a partner of Princeton Innovation.

For more information about the Empower conference and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Don Seitz, Associate Director, Princeton Entrepreneurship Council.