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Heed Marilyn Carlson Nelson's Advice: Think Big!

I've been reflecting on a conversation I had with Marilyn Carlson Nelson at the Minnesota Cup Women's Entrepreneur Event earlier this month. Marilyn shared such wonderful insights and advice with the audience. However, one item particularly resonated with me - while women own almost 30 percent of firms, their firms account for less than 7 percent of total employment.

According to Marilyn, to fix this, women need to start thinking big.

Fortunately, the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Minnesota, with our Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at its core, is among the best in the country for women. And exciting new initiatives stand to introduce women to the vast possibilities of entrepreneurship.

Last month we launched SPUR events, which are social gatherings that connect Carlson School female students with prominent women business leaders to get advice on blazing an entrepreneurial path. The Minnesota Cup is also putting additional emphasis on encouraging, supporting and mentoring women entrepreneurs this year and the event with Marilyn was a wonderful kickoff for that push.

While we've seen plenty of female finalists and some fantastic women (Julie Gilbert-Newrai and Marie Johnson in particular) win the Minnesota Cup, only about 25 percent of participants are women. It's time to change that.

So many women like Julie and Marie are ready and willing to serve as mentors to help the next generation of women achieve success through this year's competition. Registration opens Monday. Think big and fill out an entry.

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