GUILD Women in Entrepreneurship Program

DWIH San Francisco welcomed an inaugural cohort of 100 women who took part in an eight-week hybrid program (April 1, 2024 – May 24, 2024) for entrepreneurship that focused on German researchers. The program encouraged them to develop their business ideas into commercially viable initiatives together with a community of diverse entrepreneurs.

Although the number of women entrepreneurs is slowly rising, there are still structural barriers. DWIH San Francisco, with its aim to foster German-American research and innovation, designed this program in collaboration with the GUILD Academy. It offers German scientists and researchers an opportunity to develop their business skills and join a network of women-entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Participants had the opportunity to refine their ideas in the first eight weeks of the program and submit a pitch for an opportunity to participate in a one week, in-person summit in the San Francisco Bay Area. Modules include developing a business model, prototyping, marketing, funding a business, and pitching. Anne Cocquyt, founder of the Academy, held weekly office hours for individualized coaching, and invited guest speakers from industry and research to inspire the cohort.

Of the one hundred participants, we invited ten finalists who will come to the San Francisco Bay Area from September 2nd-6th for the in-person summit. They include Christina Port (2NA FISH), Komali Valishetti (BioBeacon), Mariana M. (Reprochip), Micaela Piscione (HeidiMed), Imene Abid (Goodle), Camila Quintero (MediOwl), Svenja Zihsler (Mentalee), Dana Pietralla (paged), Doreen Kästner (Familia), Dorothea von Griessenbeck (GRANTORING).

The in-person summit will feature personalized meet-and-greets with investors and startup leaders and help them deepen their understanding of the innovation ecosystem in our region. This visit catalyzes the exchange of ideas and knowledge between the participants and successful women entrepreneurs who transitioned from scientific backgrounds to lead innovative tech companies and startups and build their transatlantic network. Participants will have lifelong access to the GUILD network.

The outcomes of the program include a cohort of women empowered with an entrepreneurial mindset and equipped with the knowledge to navigate commercialization strategies in Germany and the United States. Participants joined an established network, cultivated connections with successful entrepreneurs and gained exposure to cutting-edge innovations in Silicon Valley.  In addition, they have an improved understanding of their career opportunities as founders and realize the potential of their innovation to create female-led businesses with the capacity to employ talent and add to the GDP.