Business People and Community

Launch Pad program motivates women entrepreneurs

Women Making Moves, an initiative offered by The Launch Pad, offers support, mentorship, resources, and a collaborative environment where women can flourish in their businesses.
Women Making Moves
Samantha Palmer-Shields, assistant director of Women Making Moves, at The Launch Pad's new location on the Coral Gables Campus.

Starting a small, successful business can be a daunting process to navigate. It can be a long, meandering road with roadblocks and pitfalls without the proper guidance or mentorship, especially for some women. 

That’s where University of Miami’s The Launch Pad steps in to assist. Samantha Palmer-Shields serves as the assistant director of Women Making Moves, a program which aims to build a support program for women entrepreneurs by offering them mentorship, resources, and a collaborative environment. 

“We provide women with a platform where they can connect, build relationships, and take their business leadership skills to the next level. I wanted to create a program that was all about pushing students who want to start their own business in a safe space,” said Palmer-Shields. 

To be a member of the group students must be willing to commit to weekly meetings, be a self-starter who is also a team-player, and abide by The Launch Pad’s policies and practices. The group is open to anyone who identifies as a female. 

Paige Golding, a graduate student in the live entertainment program in the Frost School of Music, recently launched Golding Theatrics, a live entertainment producing company. She joined Women Making Moves to receive help establishing and organizing her business finances. 

“I’m very thankful for Women Making Moves. Not only are they a major reason for me starting my own venture, but also they have been able to connect me with other like-minded people,” said Golding. “Being an online student, it’s nice to be able to collaborate, share ideas, and receive constructive critiques, and have supportive conversations about our goals.”

Joining the group gave Golding the opportunity to receive hands-on help with her business that she said she would not have received from anyone else.

“It makes a world of difference with someone simply saying, ‘Here, use this app, it will take care of everything you need it to do,’ ” she said. “Having someone share the tools they have tried that I wouldn’t have known about unless they told me makes The Launch Pad a great resource.”   

Determined to increase the visibility and success of female entrepreneurs, Palmer-Shields said The Launch Pad has guided several clients through various aspects of business development since its inception, including developing mobile applications, creating business plans, and providing sponsorship for conferences.

The Launch Pad was created in 2008 and is committed to recognizing and representing the startup community within the University. Directed by Brian Breslin, the office aims to educate, advocate, and pave a way for entrepreneurs to thrive. The team of professional staff members and students are trained to assist with a wide range of support from financial models to pitch guidance. 

Palmer-Shields invites women who are interested in this semester’s cohort to apply. Most recently, The Launch Pad relocated to Lakeside Village on the first floor next to Lobby A. 

“If you are even just thinking about starting a business, or don’t know where to begin, Women Making Moves is a great place to start,” said Golding.