March's featured article
Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium – A Day of Information and Networking
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the United States Women's Chamber of Commerce (USWCC) hosted a women’s entrepreneurship symposium March 11, which focused on women entrepreneurs, the importance of intellectual property protection for their innovations, and how to leverage economic opportunities for women-owned businesses. The symposium was held at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Va., and was attended by nearly one hundred participants.
U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, chair of the United States Senate’s Small Business Committee, served as the symposium’s keynote speaker and engaged the audience with words of encouragement for entrepreneurs and the importance of their role in the economy. Additional symposium speakers included newly appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Teresa Stanek Rea, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce Margot Dorfman, and experts in intellectual property law, government leaders and successful entrepreneurs.
Patent holder of 105 U.S. patents and president of For Your Ease Only, Inc., Lori Grenier energized the audience by sharing her experience in taking an invention from idea to marketplace and the importance that patents and trademarks play in that journey. As a 15-year veteran on-air talent for QVC, Inc., Grenier has had great success in selling her inventions to a wide audience and is know throughout the world for her many patented products.
The women’s entrepreneurship symposium was perfectly positioned to celebrate women’s history month and the accomplishments women have made through time while also giving support to today’s entrepreneurs in the marketplace. “Women-owned businesses make a significant impact on the U.S. economy and more attention needs to be given to identifying opportunities that support and encourage women to become entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration, 7.8 million firms were owned by women in 2007, accounting for almost 30 percent of all non-farm, privately held U.S. firms. Women-owned firms had total receipts of $1.2 trillion that year, and firms with paid employees employed 7.6 million workers.
The symposium offered networking opportunities with experts in the intellectual property field as well as government and industry representatives, who helped help attendees gain insight into all facets of the business cycle. Agenda topics included intellectual property in the global marketplace, strategies to leverage intellectual property assets, accessing financial resources, driving business growth by leveraging business relationships, and federal contracting. The USPTO hopes to hold similar women’s entrepreneurship symposiums in other U.S. geographical locations, as well as offer future webinar and continuing education programs on related topics. In order to determine topics of interest, the USPTO foresees holding a public roundtable to explore the issues and barriers surrounding women entrepreneurs’ effective use of their intellectual property to launch and grow business.