Athena Initiative

ATHENA Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit

On March 3rd, the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism present ATHENA - a day for women founders, thought leaders, and the larger entrepreneurial community. 

We are incredibly excited to feature stories and address issues that impact and are shaped by women. It will be fun, fast-moving, and feature conversations with prominent female founders in all stages of growth. 

Thursday, March 3, 2022
USC Town & Gown


1:00 PM                           Student Dance Performance | Kaufman School of Dance

1:10-1:20 PM                  Welcome 

1:20-1:30 PM                 ATHENA Pitch Competition Winners | Update

1:30-2:00 PM                Fireside Chat: Candace Parker & Willow Bay

2:00-2:10 PM                   Networking

2:10-2:50 PM                Intentional Funding: Reassessing VC

2:50-3:00 PM               Musical Performance | Thornton School of Music

3:00-3:40 PM               The Future is Now: Understanding the Metaverse

3:40-4:00 PM               Reflection & Closing Performance USC Sirens

4:00-5:00 PM              Reception


Gold Sponsor: First National Bank



     Every year, the Greif Center, in partnership with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC Marshall Master of Science in Entrepreneurship & Innovation program, hosts the Athena Women's Entrepreneurship Summit an event at which female founders and allies meet, present, share, and connect. In conjunction with the Athena Summit, we also run the Athena Female Founders Pitch Competition, a two-month long program that allows female-led companies to gain awareness and seek funding; the winners of the Female Founders Pitch Competition are presented at the Athena Summit itself.

     The Athena Initiative seeks to:

    • build networks for women entrepreneurs helping create the lasting relationships and connections that help founders succeed,
    • increase the number of women founders  providing the environment, mentors, and resources essential to launching successful USC-affiliated, women-led (or co-led) businesses.
    • provide access to funding and mentors –  supporting women entrepreneurs as they develop skills, seek funding, and explore the various additional needs of an emerging business.
    • foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem at USC connecting mentors, founders, investors, executives, and resources in a way that benefits everyone on campus.


    Women's Entrepreneurship Summit

    The Athena Summit is for the current Academic Year is scheduled for March 3, 2022, We are hoping to hold this event in person, though the schedule will change to virtual if necessary. More information about the event will be forthcoming in early 2022.

    Female Founders Pitch Competition

    The Female Founders Pitch Competition finals for AY21-22 were held in Fall 2021. The presenting finalists:

    • Assisted Living Solutions | Lexie Jackson | Marshall School of Business
    • Attune | Erika Ismailyan | Marshall School of Business
    • College Thrifts | Patricia Garcia | Viterbi School of Engineering
    • DMW Chocolates | Issy Berkey | Marshall School of Business
    • Doralia Tech | Laura Conde Canencia | Marshall School of Business
    • Remedy | Isha Sanghvi, Hanna Lee, Vivianna Camarrilo | Dornsife School of Arts & Letters
    Finals Image 1 Finalist A Finalist B


    • Helena of Troy Award (1st prize): $10,000
    • 2nd Place: $5,000
    • 3rd Place: $3,000



    Ventures can be from any industry. Entering teams must have at least one of the following:

    • Current USC student (undergraduate or graduate)
    • Current USC faculty or staff
    • USC Alumni less than 5 years from graduation
    • Your teams must have a female founder or co-founder that fits the criteria mentioned above