Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Review
Volume 7, June 2022
The Skandalaris Center remains committed to a diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial and innovative community at Washington University and in the greater St. Louis region.

Our website explains our approach and commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our entrepreneurial community and in our own center.
In response to our changing world, we hosted events to help minority and women entrepreneurs of all ages and from a variety of disciplines. All of our events are open to everyone, even if the topic is aimed at a particular population. Events included:

Our panelists inspired and encouraged attendees to turn their passions into successful ideas. At this workshop, students got the opportunity to hear how our panelists moved their passions forward into entrepreneurial ideas, and how their knowledge and skills can contribute to society while doing what they love. Panelists included Jo Otey, Gabriela Ramírez-Arellano, and Jerry Rosen.

A special virtual IdeaBounce® for Ervin, Rodriguez, Danforth, Langsdorf, and Deneb Scholars. We heard plans for the New Year and provided a space to reconnect with other scholars.

Founders from across St. Louis discussed the importance of diversity in entrepreneurship. Panelists included: Mike Bynum, Principal at FedTech, Angelica Harris, founder of Test Prep Toolbox, Lisa Hu, founder of Lux & Nyx, and Funda Yilmaz, founder of BestCoach Global.

Skandalaris’ Nancy Nigh facilitated a low-key, fun session of improv games where we explored three main concepts of improv and enhancing the entrepreneurial mindset.

The purpose of this meeting was to develop a community among Black student entrepreneurs on campus and discuss shared goals for navigating entrepreneurship on campus. This event was organized by Najjuwah Walden, Ph.D. in Public Health Sciences student.

The Skandalaris Center invited entrepreneurs to meet and connect to focus on women entrepreneurs during the month of March. Sweet treats were provided and new connections were made to support female entrepreneurs.
We are excited to support the achievements of entrepreneurs from all backgrounds within the Washington University ecosystem. Recent highlights include:
  • 59 WashU students received internship stipends, funded by the Skandalaris Center and Olin’s Weston Career Center, to work at startups over the summer. Some of these will even be working on their own startup ventures, along with founding team members. All of these interns are invited to use the Skandalaris Center in Mallinckrodt as their summer co-working space.

  • On April 14th, we held The Washington University Innovation & Entrepreneurship Awards and honored students, alumni, faculty, and entrepreneurial community members for their efforts and dedication to the WashU entrepreneurial ecosystem. With over 80 people in attendance, the Skandalaris Center awarded nearly $75,000 in non-dilutive funding to WashU startups. Read about the winners on our blog.

  • We published the Fall 2022 Curriculum Guide which describes the wealth and diversity of the entrepreneurship curriculum available at Washington University.

  • We recognized 34 Washington University graduates who earned Honors in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the Skandalaris Center. During their time at WashU, these students participated in entrepreneurial organizations, held leadership positions in student groups, completed pre-orientation, owned their own businesses, competed in Skandalaris and national entrepreneurship competitions, and shared their ideas through the IdeaBounce® platform.

  • A new student group, BLACK FUTURES, was started by Najjuwah Walden (SW ’23) a third-year doctoral student specializing in women’s health and the founder of her own startup, and Cyril Loum, Assistant Director of Venture Development in the Skandalaris Center. “The purpose of this group is to develop a community among Black student entrepreneurs on campus and discuss our shared goals for navigating entrepreneurship on campus”, quotes Najjuwah. Skandalaris is excited to support the BLACK FUTURES organization this summer by sponsoring six ventures to enroll in the Entrepreneur Business Basics (EBB) JUMP! program for early startups. EBB is committed to training and equipping entrepreneurs of color.
We're continuously connecting our community to external opportunities and competitions that could have a significant impact on their path to entrepreneurship, such as the NIA Healthy Aging Start-Up Challenge and Bootcamp to Foster Diversity and Accelerate Innovation, DEBUT Challenge, Capital Innovators Fall 2022, and Your Jewish Future Challenge.

For summer and fall 2022, Skandalaris is planning a variety of events to educate and assist entrepreneurs, including monthly lunch webinars, IdeaBounce® events, a hackathon, pitch workshops, StEP business workshops, info sessions, networking sessions, and more. Keep an eye on our events page as we add things to our calendar!

We are looking to connect startups with the right recruitment opportunities this year. If you are a startup venture looking to hire talented Washington University students for internships or full-time positions, fill out this form so we can connect you.

Please help us tell the story of our entrepreneurial community! In a short survey, we invite you to share what you've been up to during your entrepreneurial journey, especially if you've started or helped start a company, non-profit, social enterprise, etc.