Promote, Support, and Celebrate female entrepreneurship with Project Eve
Today's featured startup, Project Eve, is a social media platform supporting, promoting and celebrating female entrepreneurship and women-owned business.
Project Eve's global social media platform helps female entrepreneurs and business owners connect across cultural, social and geographic barriers to interaction. They currently offers an online social network, an opt-in newsletter, “Caffeine Break,” and a business directory. Read the following interview with co-founder, Kim Oksenberg.
What inspired you to start your company?
The idea for Project Eve emerged from Kim Oksenberg's (one of our co-founders) failed attempt at launching a different startup. Meridith Dennes, Eve’s other co-founder, recognized that while many of Kim’s difficulties were universal to the entrepreneur experience some problems were more acute for the female entrepreneur. Together, we came to believe that the time-stretched female entrepreneur would like an online resource to network and build relationships with other like-minded entrepreneurs; a place to ask questions, learn and help each other. When we couldn’t find that resource available, we set out to build it ourselves.
Tell us something unique about you and your co-founder(s)?
We are frequently mistaken for sisters. In fact, we are both only children. Meridith grew up in New York and Kim grew up in Michigan. We met in business school at NYU when we were both in our twenties. We quickly became fast friends and made up for lost time appearing in each other’s wedding parties, as godparents to each other’s children and now as business partners.
What problem does your product or service solve?
Despite the exponential growth of women-owned businesses, the professional leap into entrepreneurship is, for women, often an isolating one. For many women, entrepreneurship represents a major career shift where a completely new cross-industry network needs to be developed. Many women elect to start their businesses as "solopreneurs." This choice offers vast independence but also heightens isolation, fear and uncertainty.
What are your startup's three biggest challenges to growth?
We are currently bootstrapping. One of our biggest struggles is over how to best allocate our funds. Allocating our time is also a challenge. There aren’t enough hours in the day for us to do everything so we spend a considerable amount of time figuring out what we should outsource and who we should hire. This leads directly to our third challenge (one that Project Eve is trying to solve for its members as well), which is developing a network of resources to draw on when it comes time to outsource. Most startups do not have a developed network and outside their main industry and need to find people and resources to form a robust organization. Project Eve’s members can get a jump on that process by going to our site to ask questions, do research and make connections with other members so they are better informed when they start interviewing vendors.
How does Startup America help you overcome these challenges to growth?
Our participation in Startup America’s group on LinkedIn has already raised our profile and helped us to add members. We anticipate that a dynamic relationship with Startup America will help us grow, keep costs down, and add new skills and connections as our business evolves.
What Startup America Member Benefits have you used?
We have used the LinkedIn Group, Startup America's Blog, and Discounts. We've scheduled sessions in the Learning Series and can't wait! should startups join Startup America?
What is the startup culture like in your City/State?
Project Eve is based in New York City and San Francisco. As you might expect, both cities have extremely robust startup communities. It is great to be able to feed off of the energy and innovation that an environment like that fosters. The challenge in these kinds of environments is figuring out which opportunities and events to take advantage of since we can’t do it all. It is also more of a challenge to get noticed amid a sea of other new enterprises.
Project Eve launched its site five weeks ago and just added its 1100th member. Our growth has been almost entirely via word of mouth. Although the membership is predominantly U.S.-based we are truly global. Our membership also includes women in Brazil, Kenya, Australia, India the U.K. and Sweden. We believe this growth represents the pent-up demand among female entrepreneurs and woman business owners. We’d like to invite all female entrepreneurs to join and help us in create a vibrant community where we can help one another learn, grow and excel.
The Starting Block is a new rapid fire segment on StartoTV where startups have 3 minutes to pitch their startup and why it matters. They also give some "words of wisdom" to other entreprenuers. In this installment Eli Regalado talks to Kim Oksenberg about Project Eve.
Learn more about Project Eve:
Startup America Member since April 2012
Region: California and New York
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