grl power

A panel of female entrepreneurs discussed to the audience about their personal experiences of creating their own brands. 

With an increasing emphasis on entrepreneurship at JMU, more opportunities are beginning for women to succeed in business. The entrepreneurship minor was created last fall, and nearly 82 percent of those enrolled in the minor are females. As a result of more entrepreneurship programs arriving following the completion of the College of Business Learning Complex, women are preparing to take advantage.

Even though women dominate the entrepreneurship minor, 60 percent of the students in the CoB are males. Because the Flanary Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship that’s opening in the new CoB will work with students across JMU’s campus, which is about 60 percent female, women may have a stronger presence in the CoB going forward.   

“The way I look at it, entrepreneurship is for everyone,” Michael Busing, dean of the College of Business, said.

On Tuesday, HER campus and PINK collaborated to hold an event in Grafton Theater called “GRL POWER PANEL.” The panel included seven women who are student entrepreneurs on campus, ranging from social media gurus who own their own companies to a future second lieutenant of the U.S. Air Force.The purpose of the GRL POWER PANEL was to convey that even though young women are faced with adversity, they can still be successful entrepreneurs. All the panelists expressed how various opportunities on campus have helped them grow their professional skills and become entrepreneurs.

Panelist Lucy Smith, a junior communication studies major who runs her own lifestyle and fashion blog, is a student ambassador and holds an executive position in her sorority. She’s also in the process of starting her own private clothing like. Smith said her leadership experiences at JMU have given her the confidence to continue being an entrepreneur.

“Coming to events like this, getting conversations going, making contacts and talking to people  are all ways to grow female entrepreneurship at JMU,” Smith said. “Also standing on your own two feet, shooting an email to someone is worth it and will help that entrepreneurship grow here.”

Another panelist, Angelika Johns is a senior media arts and design major who runs her own photography business. Johns began pursuing photography when she was in high school and now travels around the country to take photographs for weddings,engagements and portraits. Johns says the contacts she’s made at JMU have allowed her to become a more successful entrepreneur.

“Finding community is so important when getting started,” Johns said, “When I came to JMU I scoured all of the organizations I could, and I joined the Society for Entrepreneurs to find like minded people. I would suggest knowing what you are saying no to and yes to are important … and respecting your own business hours.”

With the amount of women in the entrepreneurship minor, the panelists emphasized that more events like GRL POWER PANEL will spread the message that women can achieve their entrepreneurial goals at JMU.

Contact Carley Welch at For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.