Mission: Educate, inspire and empower women to pursue leadership roles in technology-based companies worldwide

Vision: A world in which gender issues are neutralized

Empowering Women in Technology Startups (ewits®) provides educated women with hands-on entrepreneurial training and skills that will empower them for the rest of their lives. Many think of entrepreneurs as business people, but entrepreneurs come from all walks of life.  Launched in 2012 by the University of Florida  Office of Technology Licensing, UF Tech Connect® and the Florida Innovation Hub, the program offers opportunities to women of diverse professional backgrounds, from science and engineering to business functions such as marketing and finance. Ewits® leverages women’s unique skills and perspectives for new business creation and transforms them from employees to employers. In the past five years, more than 250 women have benefited from this life-changing program.

Each team works with a real technology, writes a real business plan, and goes through a simulated exercise of creating a company. While there is no guarantee or expectation that participants will work with a technology company after the program ends, they will have many opportunities and benefits as a result of their participation in Ewits®. We recognize that not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but a key component of the program is the creation of teams that are mentored by an experienced entrepreneur who will capitalize on the individual skill sets of each participant.

You will gain

  • A unique opportunity to experience the technology commercialization process – a critical element of current & future economic growth
  • Access to the resources, intelligence and tools required to form a technology startup, should you wish to do so in the future
  • New skill sets and knowledge for resume-building and broadened career development options
  • The ability to integrate the science and technology of an innovation with the business elements needed to transform it into a product

Ewits® IS

  • A hands-on “laboratory” experience in researching and understanding the commercial opportunity of an innovation
  • A chance to “create” the company elements needed to move an innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace in a simulated environment
  • A program that includes mentoring by experienced women entrepreneurs
  • A chance to network with mentors, speakers, fellow participants and investors
  • An opportunity to learn about barriers to entry for women and strategies for overcoming them
  • A program where you can acquire new skill sets and knowledge for resume-building and broadened career development options
  • Fun!

Ewits® IS NOT

  • A traditional classroom entrepreneurship course
  • A job placement program that results in an interview or employment
  • A guarantee of any company being formed
  • A guarantee of any technology being licensed
  • A counseling group or source of personal counseling assistance

Read about previous sessions here: 2012 Mentors and Schedule; 2013 Mentors and Schedule; 2014 Mentors and Schedule



During Jane Muir’s three decades in business, the world changed.

But at the meetings she attended, she was still, more often than not “the only person in the room wearing a skirt.” Seeking to right this imbalance, Jane brought several colleagues together for a lunchtime brainstorming session in the spring of 2012. This group became the leadership team of Empowering Women in Technology Startups.

eWiTS leadership team photo

Ewits Founding Team (listed below from left to right)

  • Kathy Sohar, Ph.D., serves as the Coordinator for UF Tech Connect® at the University of Florida Office of Technology Licensing, where she draws upon her years of experience to build strategic relationships with entrepreneurs, investors and inventors to increase the number of technology-based companies launched annually. Read more…
  • Sarah Gravina
  • Meghan Meyer is a Marketing Associate at the UF Office of Technology Licensing, where she markets university researchers’ discoveries to a business audience with assistance from a talented team of interns. Read more…
  • Jane M. Muir’s career spans three decades with a broad range of professional experiences in marketing, sales, management and technology transfer. Read more…
  • Carla B. Mroz
  • Gayle Dykeman is the Manager of the Florida Innovation Hub at UF, where she manages the day-to-day operations of the facility. She oversees all the functions of the building from conference room scheduling to autoclave and boiler maintenance. Read more…