Entrepreneurship is Budding: Bossgirls 2023 Recap

Representing diverse neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey, 26 high school students can now proudly proclaim themselves Bossgirls and join this ever-expanding entrepreneurship community as the seventh cohort. Sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank’s Futuremakers Initiative and powered by the Zahn Innovation Center, Bossgirls teaches high school girls and non-binary students about entrepreneurship utilizing an experiential learning model.

On July 5, we kicked off our first fully in-person program post pandemic, back on the historic campus of The City College of New York. In room 107 of Shepard Hall, where numerous ideas and talents had burgeoned, we warmly welcomed a new cohort of Bossgirls with an introduction to the program and the problem sets that they were going to tackle within five weeks. Bossgirls learnt about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the UNDP and goals from the OneNYC 2050 Strategic Plan. Eventually, students formed teams based on shared interests around the top four OneNYC goals voted on by the cohort, which included A Vibrant Democracy, Equity and Excellence in Education, Healthy Lives and A Livable Climate.

During the first three weeks, the program laid a solid foundation of entrepreneurship for participants. Instructors and guest facilitators delved into crafting problem statements, conducting research, interviewing potential customers, understanding finances and the market, analyzing competitors, creating unique brands and marketing strategies, developing MVPs, generating future development plans, delivering impactful pitches and more. Students quickly applied their newly acquired knowledge and skills to their business and nonprofit ideas facilitated by a series of team and individual assignments. Their hard work, commitment to the program and support to each other enabled the transformative growth within a short period of time. Judges at the two round robin sessions held in the last two weeks were impressed by the diversity of ideas and the comprehensiveness of their pitches. 

Role models are instrumental to personal and professional development, especially the ones whom those seeking inspiration can identify with. We invited three founders, Ashonda Sanoguet from Piggy’s Repair, Sanjana Khan from Laal and Tameka Ridely from I AM LIT, to share their entrepreneurial stories. Hearing directly from small business and nonprofit founders, bossgirls got to see how these enterprises began and how they got to their current stages. Lively Q&A sessions with the founders gave students a chance to ask more about what they were interested in and struggled with. 

Learning can take place everywhere, even outside the classroom. Taking advantage of NYC’s prime location, we took the girls on two field trips. The visit to Mastercard’s office allowed the girls to see cutting edge artificial intelligence technology, hear from a panel of current employees representing diverse professional, educational and cultural backgrounds, and get a feel of working in a corporate setting. Locally, we toured Harlem, visiting The Oma Shop, a Black woman owned business, exploring the collections at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and enjoying signature shakes at the Harlem Shake.

Mentors, family and friends, attending the finale on August 3, at the Standard Chartered New York headquarters, celebrated the achievements of our bossgirls . Following enlightening remarks by representatives of Standard Chartered and the Bossgirls staff, the teams pitched their ideas and gracefully addressed questions from the audience.

We applaud the accomplishments of all of our bossgirls, and appreciate their dedication and commitment which made the program a rewarding one for themselves, mentors and staff. Please find more information about our Bossgirls 2023 cohort below.

Team Name

OneNYC Goal

Team Members

Project Description


A Vibrant Democracy

Arianne, Melanie, Mimi, Katherine

With a lack of diversity and inclusion within the media and the government, the youth are less likely to vote. Altaire offers a platform to encourage youth from all different backgrounds to talk about their experiences freely, get access to voting resources, connect with diverse and like-minded individuals, and even have the chance to connect with their local representatives to share their concerns. 


Equity and Excellence in Education

Mandy, Nabila, Parneet, Qiutong, Reyn

Low-income students often face disadvantages when applying to colleges due to the lack of resources being provided to them. With limited guidance, they are less likely to pursue higher education.


Equity and Excellence in Education

Gemma, Jennifer, Jessi, Rashi, Sara

Many students don't have access to resources to learn about finance, so our mission is to provide all students with resources to learn about financial literacy, inside and outside of the classroom.

Health Yourself

Healthy Lives

Daphne, Ingrid, Zena

There isn't enough education on maintaining physical health, specifically diet and inactivity, for customers to know whether a product is healthy for them (also in terms of its ingredients) and to allow them an opportunity to have a good relationship with food and exercise.


A Livable Climate

Hayden, Kelly, Prapti, Rebecca, Ziying 

Many entrepreneurs strive to appeal to the sustainable product market, yet shy away from such values due to the impracticality that’s often present when trying to achieve an adequate target audience, while still maintaining a revenue. High schoolers, in particular, often aren’t able to have a direct impact in the sustainability market because of the cost of being eco-friendly and finding an audience that adheres to similar beliefs.


A Livable Climate

Alicia, Kate, Mariana, Shao

ReBed is a sustainable, small business that uses recycled clothing and fabric and upcycles them into durable and affordable bedding for young adults in NYC.

The program could not have been made possible without the support of our sponsor, Standard Chartered, and the Standard Chartered mentors who coached the Bossgirls, founders who shared their entrepreneurial journeys and judges who provided feedback at round robin sessions. We would like to acknowledge and thank everyone for making this summer an inspiring experience for our 2023 cohort.



Guest Facilitators

Katie Olives

Chantele Pereira

Christina Torres


Ashonda Sanoguet, Piggy’s Repair

Sanjana Khan, Laal

Tameka Ridley, I AM LIT

Industry Mentors

Chris Bobko

Joe Borrello

Amy Chen

Jessica Fields

Tasha Garcia

Esmeralda Herrera

Yan Lawrence

Deborah Metts

Malcolm Paul

Gina Ramcharan

Standard Chartered Mentors

Martha Adeline

Ganesh Asirvatham

Abigail Copeland

Olivia Cortopassi

Brian Heiman

Ethan Hsu

Eashna Kumar

Cora Maclean

Mariana Naccarato

Chantele Pereira

Jonathan Rothberg

Richa Sardessai

Kathleen Tynan

Mea Vesci


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