Women’s Entrepeneurship at
Northeastern University

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative was founded in 2018 with a mission to create space and meaningful opportunities for undergraduate women and alumnae in Northeastern’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. As an integral part of Women Who Empower, our work celebrates women-led ventures, emerging and established; supports female entrepreneurs through events, mentorship opportunities, resources, scholarships, and more; and facilitates connections for enterprising women.

Our impact

Women continue to receive an unequal level of support and access to capital in the entrepreneurship space. Companies founded solely by women received just over two percent of all U.S. venture capital investment in 2022, according to PitchBook, despite representing 47 percent of new business ventures during the same period.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative was created to address such disparities, and to expand access to entrepreneurial opportunities for women at Northeastern and beyond. Since 2018, we have supported the dynamic student-led organization the Women’s Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship (WISE), launched the Innovator Awards in collaboration with Women Who Empower, and sponsored panel discussions, networking events, summits and treks that have put our students both in the room and at the table with some of the world’s premiere female founders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers.

examples of our recent success include:
  • In five years, the student-led organization WISE has established a robust presence on three Northeastern campuses across two continents, with active chapters in Boston; London; and Oakland, California.
  • To date, WISE has launched more than 75 ventures, created more than 40 leadership positions for women and non-binary students per semester, fostered more than 140 mentorship pairings, and hosted 190 events and more than 100 speakers at workshops, panel discussions, and our annual summer program for high school girls.
  • In 2021, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, in collaboration with Women Who Empower, launched the inaugural Innovator Awards—a program to celebrate the boldest, most creative changemakers in Northeastern’s vast entrepreneurial ecosystem, and provide them with financial resources and recognition to elevate their ideas, products, businesses, and brands. To date, the Innovator Awards have received more than 400 applications and distributed $820,000 to 69 recipients.
  • The annual WISE summit is a women’s entrepreneurship conference open to all disciplines and backgrounds. For the third summit in 2023, WISE hosted more than 240 student attendees including participants from Universite Paris-Saclay, Dartmouth College, Bridgewater State, Boston University, University of Massachusetts Boston, and others.
  • During the inaugural WISE Trek to San Francisco in 2023, 16 student leaders visited the Bay Area for five days of company tours, breakfasts, workshops, and networking events at Bain & Company, California Caviar Company, Equator Coffee, NextGenJane, PairTeam, Contrary Capital, Curated, PayPal, Poshmark, Defy VC, and Sequoia Capital.

Emma Jepsen, DMSB'25

WISE has played such a pivotal role in my college trajectory, and has allowed me to discover and foster my passion for startups in a safe and supportive environment. The community is truly unparalleled to any organization I’ve been part of before, and I’ve met some of the most accepting, inspiring, and empowering individuals!

Natasha Ibori, SSH’18

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be amongst such wonderful businesses that are doing so much for the world. It’s amazing to feel like somebody is believing in what we’re doing.

Meet the team

Betsy Ludwig

Executive Director, Women’s Entrepreneurship

Laura Huang

Distinguished Professor and Faculty Director, Women’s Entrepreneurship

Ashley Olafsen

Assistant Director, Women’s Entrepreneurship

Communities and Resources

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative strives to create lasting, meaningful change by connecting our community members to opportunities, resources, and networks that help them thrive.

Sari Finn, E’24

WISE is so special because it is the very organization that made clear to me what my purpose is, and where my present and future impact lies in an ever-evolving society. Coming from an engineering background, WISE empowered me to embrace my strength of leading and innovating in a people-oriented way, as well as making the idea of being a CEO one day a reality.


The Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative supports and encourages Northeastern’s student-led organization the Women’s Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship (WISE). The women and non-binary members of WISE work to inspire and encourage others to explore entrepreneurial curiosities, and to employ innovative approaches to realize their ambitions.


Using the real-world work experience gained through either Northeastern’s signature co-op model or pursuing their own business venture as undergraduates, our female entrepreneurs forge their own paths and strive to be their most authentic, successful selves. Regardless of where our alumnae are in their career trajectory, these accomplished, ambitious changemakers always have access to Northeastern’s robust innovation ecosystem and countless resources to help them take on their next endeavor.

Ecosystem News

The latest updates and features from across our dynamic network.




Our Ecosystem Partners

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative at Northeastern University is immensely grateful to the following organizations and groups for their crucial support of our mission.


Make a Gift

Invest in women, invest in the future. By making a philanthropic gift to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, you will help pave the way for women entrepreneurs at Northeastern.

Become an Advisor

We are always looking for global thought leaders, key executives, and influential founders who have the power to help our female entrepreneurs reach new heights.