CSUSB’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Week event brings distinguished alumnae to campus
Office of Strategic Communication
Four established Cal State San Bernardino alumnae gathered on campus for the first Women’s Entrepreneurship Week panel event on Oct. 18, where they discussed their experiences of starting a business and the challenges they have had to overcome to get where they are today.
Francisca Beer, professor of accounting and finance, and director of the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration’s Office of Inclusion and Engagement, opened the event. She acknowledged the joint effort between the office, the Department of Marketing, and the CSUSB Inland Empire Women’s Business Center, and talked about women in the economy.
“The more I read, the more I realize that people talk a lot about the economy, but now we are more talking about the she-conomy,” said Beer, who followed her statement with a list of facts about the challenges women are forced to face in the workforce.
“Looking at these facts, I am hoping that we will have many, many, many Women’s Entrepreneurship Weeks, and that every single year, I will be able to report … more positive statistics,” she said.
The four distinguished alumna panelists, who all graduated with a degree in entrepreneurship and own their own business, included:
- Mariatu “Tu” Browne, a hairstylist who discovered her passion for hair at age nine while braiding in her native Sierra Leone, West Africa, and owner of Tu Organics Salon and Spa, the only organic beauty salon of its kind in Rancho Cucamonga;
- Maritza Gomez, who founded MG Custom Printing with her mother, a promotional products and printing company specializing in digital decoration of marketing products and personalized gifts;
- Rachel Jimenez, a money expert who teaches foundational financial education through keynote presentations and a foundational financial fitness e-course; and
- Mai Temraz, co-founder of Gaza Geekettes, former head of Gaza Sky Geeks’ women’s programming, TechWoman fellow, former startup founder, and certified mentor. She is the first Palestinian female licensed amateur radio operator. She was also awarded the best entry-level STEM Executive at the Women in STEM conference in Dubai.
Each panelist explained their business, talked about their overall experiences they have had as business owners, and offered advice to the audience.
Temraz highlighted the benefits of creating a business plan. “It’s an important skill. Maybe it’s not going to be important for you personally to follow as there are other tools you can use, but it is a very important skill because banks still need a business plan, other organizations still need a business plan, so you still need that skill.”
“You do want to create a business plan because it’s going to allow you to do the research … and you want to know if you are going to marry that business, if it’s going to grow,” she said, and urged the listeners to be realistic. “A lot of us want to make a billion dollars in one year, and realistically, a business is going to make probably about $10,000 because the first year all of your money is going into fees.”
In the middle of the event, Michelle Skiljan, executive director of the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center and moderator of the panel, highlighted the profound perseverance, competitiveness and passion that all of the women on the panel shared.
For Jimenez, she knew from a young age she wanted to be an entrepreneur. “When I was ten years old, my favorite toy was the cash register,” she said. “I was always fascinated by money and passionate about that.”
And for Browne, she refused rejection. “I never take ‘no’ for an answer,” she said when describing her tenacity in getting a loan to start her business. “It’s been exciting and a very tough road, but every day I look forward to getting up and going to my business because it’s mine. I walk with pride, knowing that Tu Organics is mine, and I’m looking forward to what the future is bringing.”
To learn more about the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, visit its website at jhbc.csusb.edu.
For more information about the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center, visit iewbc.org.