Female entrepreneurs honored in U-M roundup

Shannon Beeman
March 31, 2015

In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, the University of Michigan’s Innovate Blue blog recently recognized 15 female U-M student innovators to keep an eye on this year.

Among those named were several female entrepreneurs associated with the Zell Lurie Institute.

Jordana Schrager, an undergraduate student in STAMPS Art + Design, has a business minor in the Ross School of Business and was particularly inspired by an entrepreneurship class with Professor Len Middleton. Thanks to her experiences at the University of Michigan, Jordana has grown the customer base for her companies, SKICKS and Sneakers by Jordana, and has sold custom sneakers to celebrities such as Nick Cannon, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez and Pink. You can read about her on the ZLI blog, and Crain’s Detroit Business.

Lamees Mekkaoui and Sushmitha Diraviam are helping their users manage their anxiety and stress with Change of Mind, a mobile/web application that aims to fill the gaps between formal treatment appointments and emphasizes social support for its users. The team is in talks with clinicians at U-M’s Depression Center and hopes to launch trials of the app soon. Mekkaoui and Diraviam, along with their team members Sean Ma, Evan Gennrich, and Aaron Schippert, are part of TechArb, U-M’s student accelerator, and competed in the Michigan Business Challenge.

Alexandra Pulst-Korenberg and Heather Ray are trying to make life just a little more comfortable for hospital patients and their healthcare providers with EasyIV, a device that organizes the usually tangled mess of medical lines and cords. Pulst-Korenberg is also the co-founder of Women Who Launch, an initiative to promote women in entrepreneurship, and a member of the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund. She and Ray have also pitched EasyIV at the Michigan Business Challenge and received two Dare to Dream grants.

Camille Merritt has created an online platform and mobile app called Graduate that helps students and parents keep track of graduation requirements so that students can graduate high school in four years. With her partner Eric Katz, Merritt hopes Graduate will help students meet college admissions expectations and plans to one day expand Graduate’s scope to higher education. Graduate has also won an Outstanding Presentation award at the Michigan Business Challenge and was awarded a grant through the Dare to Dream program. You can read about her on the ZLI blog.

Also a co-founder of the Women Who Launch initiative, Marianna Kerppola is the woman behind BetterHope, an online marketplace that curates products made with dignity so that customers can be sure their purchases support safe and sustainable jobs. She has won a Mayleben Venture Shaping grant, was a Social Impact Finalist at the Michigan Business Challenge, participated in the Marcel Gani internship program and has been a member of TechArb.

To find out more about each of these projects and the rest of the 15 featured women, read the full story on Innovate Blue.