Women Entrepreneurship Week Draws Record Crowd

The fourth annual 2017 Women Entrepreneurship Week (WEW), titled “Women Changing the World,” harnessed the energy of women doing just that – making change in business, politics, education and the arts.

The first day of the conference, held in October at University Hall, featured a “fireside chat” with Evelyn McGee Colbert who discussed the founding of the Montclair Film Festival, which began as a simple festival and expanded into an organization with year-round programming and 10 full-time staff members. Other first-day events included a panel of female entrepreneurs who started businesses that grew beyond their wildest imaginations; and a panel of C-suite executives, who explored how women can be entrepreneurial within a large company or organization.

A panel of female entrepreneurs speaking in front of crowd.
A panel of female entrepreneurs discussed immigration, education, finance and film at a packed house.

The second day featured an evening panel of female social entrepreneurs discussing the areas of immigration, education, finance and film, in what was a called a powerful and inspiring event.

Women Entrepreneurship Week started at Montclair State in 2014 and four North Jersey universities held events during the same week. This year, the event grew to involve 76 universities and nonprofits in 22 states and 15 countries that hosted events celebrating women entrepreneurs. At Montclair State alone, a crowd of nearly 450 people broke attendance records.

“Universities want their young women students to see positive role models up on stage telling of their entrepreneurial journeys and how they got to where they are,” says WEW manager Sharon Waters, the program manager for the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship. “As long as women are underrepresented as entrepreneurs, the need for this type of celebration remains.”