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Women Entrepreneurs Talk About Startups  

entrepreneur Who are the happiest, most productive and energetic professionals working today? Women entrepreneurs top the list! Women start business at 1.5 times the average rate, and new ventures with at least one female founder have more than quadrupled in the last five years. Plus, women entrepreneurs rank their happiness at nearly three times that of women who are not entrepreneurs. 

How do they do it? Find out at “Innovative Women: Three SHU Alumnae Speak About Their Business Startups,” a panel discussion on Tuesday October 20 at 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Beck Rooms, lower level of Walsh Library. The event features Luciana Contuzzi, ’12, founder of zest, Earlene Cruz ’14, creator of The Kitchen Connection and Maura Kolkmeyer, ’12, founder of Seton Student Sitters.com, now part of UniversitySitter.com.

The session, sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Entrepreneurship Club, is being organized as part of Women Entrepreneurship Week. Sponsored by Montclair State University, Women Entrepreneurship Week is a series of events featuring women entrepreneurs being held from October 19 through October 23. For more information, click here».

Ms. Contuzzi, who graduated with a B.S. in Finance and Information Technology, and was part of the Stillman School Leadership Development program, initially took a job in marketing at an Information Technology firm. But this foodie with a passion for health, fitness and cooking, left the corporate world to launch “zest" in September 2014. Zest caters corporate and private parties, and specializes in serving fresh, organic snacks, meals and treats. Zest products can also be purchased at local cafes and online at by clicking here».

Ms. Cruz graduated with a double major in management and French and a minor in international business. She participated in a “Semester at Sea” during her junior year and also studied French at La Sorbonne in Paris the summer before her senior year and is a world traveler who has visited more than 35 countries. Indeed, her travels gave her the idea for The Kitchen Connection, an online social media community which links people from all over the world through live video sessions to either cook together, eat together, or share tips — all while contributing to the alleviation of global hunger through its partnership with Action Against Hunger. Ms. Cruz won the 2014 "Most Innovative Pitch" award from the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers E-Business Specialty Program. Kitchen Connection has also been recognized by BreakThru Radio and Yahoo Finance.

Ms. Kolkmeyer holds a B.S. in Diplomacy and Internationl Relations, with a secondary major in Economics and a Spanish minor. As Creator/Owner of Seton Student Sitters.com, now part of University Sitter.com, she connects families with college student babysitters. As a student sitter herself she had the privilege to care for many families in the local area. Seton Student Sitters, is building a mobile platform that will provide users real time capability to coordinate child care.

In addition to being an entrepreneur, Ms. Kolkmeyer is a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she currently provides business analysis and strategic planning support to Headquarters United States Air Force efforts to design a future Air Force base.

All students, faculty and alumni are invited to the Innovative Women panel discussion. For more information, contact Susan Scherreik, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, at scherrsu@shu.edu

Categories: Education

For more information, please contact:

  • Susan Scherreik
  • (973) 275-2251
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