Mad, Bad & Dangerous Women’s Entrepreneurial Summit, a conference designed to inspire women to “ditch expectations and start something” returned to Chattanooga in March, with even bigger success than its inaugural 2015 event. The event was expanded to two days, including a community luncheon with Lori Grenier as its keynote speaker.
Conceived by Dr. Autumn Adkins Graves, head of Chattanooga’s Girls Preparatory School, her desire to get women in her community to “feel inspired and supported as they consider turning their ideas into real business ventures” certainly succeeded in the Scenic City.
Now MBD is scaling up. This time, this free entrepreneurial conference for women, girls and the men who support them will be hosted by Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and will take place in downtown Knoxville on May 7. Author and investor Kelly Hoey, Ita Ekpoudom, founder & CEO of Tigress Ventures, and StyleBlueprint CEO Liza Graves will be the keynote presenters, along with educational workshops for the “mad” entrepreneur and the “bad” businesswoman. (Startup Southerner founder Ayumi Fukuda Bennett will also be at this event as a moderator of a panel on Multi-Generational Business Builders.)
In addition, the day will include a women’s marketplace of more than 20 vendors with a focus on women’s services and products, and a Tech Tinkering Lab that features hands-on experiences, enhancing creativity and idea generation.
We recently spoke with Emily Skaar, director of entrepreneurship at the KEC, about getting Mad, Bad & Dangerous.
Why did the KEC want to be the host for this event?
For more than a year KEC has hosted a monthly coffee group for women in entrepreneurship. We are constantly searching for more ways to empower and encourage more women to start something. Mad, Bad & Dangerous is a perfect way to motivate women to pursue their dreams by hearing from others who have gone down their own paths and by connecting them with local resources to use in their own adventure.
We love the multi-generational component of this event. Why is this important?
We are hoping that at least 25 percent of our attendees are girls due to the huge impact this could have on their futures. Growing up, I was exposed to entrepreneurship through my mom, who had her own business. I was able to see the hard work, long hours and constant problem solving it took to keep her business running. At the end of the day, I learned how valuable hustle is in entrepreneurship. Hopefully we are able to instill this same fire to work hard and hustle in young girls today so that they can reach incredible heights in their future!
Are you looking forward to any particular part of the program?
Mad, Bad & Dangerous has so many exciting parts, that it’s hard to choose just one. My favorite would have to be the 24Hour Generator: Girl Edition, where local high school girls will solve the problems of real companies and pitch the solutions in front of the MBD crowd on Saturday for a chance to win a cash prize. I wish that I had done something like this in high school!
Are you mad, bad and dangerous?
Each day, I choose to be Mad, Bad & Dangerous through the challenges I am willing to tackle both at work and at home. I’ve done everything from roller derby to wood-burned art. MBD is a way of life!
Tickets for the event are free, but registration is required.