Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

Academic Women Inventors: Apply to Equalize 2024 to Advance Your Startup!

Academic women inventors have until this Friday—November 17, 2023—to apply to Equalize 2024, a pitch competition and symposium program. Established in 2020 by Nichole Mercier of Washington University in St. Louis with Kirsten Leute of Osage University Partners, this comprehensive program seeks to equalize the pathway for academic women who want to be entrepreneurial and commercialize their innovations.

Equalize Startups
This program and others like it are important because according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), women account for less than 13 percent of U.S patent holders though women make up half the workforce.

Candidates for Equalize 2024 must hold an academic appointment (tenured, tenure track, or research) or a post-doc or graduate student position at an academic research institution as well as have a pending or issued patent or copyright. Topic categories this year are medical technologies, therapeutics, and physical sciences. Once selected, participants receive a field-specific mentor, regular mentor and cohort meetings, and access to networks that drive new entrepreneurial connections. Activities are primarily virtual, which allows for participation across the United States.

The deadline to apply is November 17, 2023. Participants will be announced in December, and virtual mentoring sessions begin in January 2024. This year’s program includes an in-person learning day in late April 2024. The program culminates in a virtual pitch event June 20, 2024. There’s lots of information on the Equalize website, and you can watch pitches from past competitions here.

Mentorship is a key cornerstone of the program. Each participant is matched with a mentor (or a pair of mentors) to meet with for six months and dig into the business idea. Participants will develop a pitch deck that they present at the competition to hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, university tech transfer professionals, and supporters of university startups. In addition to the competition, participants gain connections and a knowledge toolkit about selling their ideas in the startup world.

Encourage academic women inventors that you know to apply to this excellent program!

Equalize Startups