Entrepreneurs Showcase Innovation at Women In Bio Start-Up Challenge, Co-Sponsored by Marshall Gerstein
On September 10, 2020, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP co-sponsored the Women In Bio (WIB) Chicago Chapter’s Start-Up Challenge, an annual competition where six finalists from women-led Illinois biotech companies give a short pitch about their companies’ technology and products. The finalists receive real-time feedback from local experts, including women investors, entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical representatives and other life sciences innovators. Liv Labs, Inc., which is developing a convenient and comfortable self-treatment to combat female stress urinary incontinence, took home top honors and a cash award of $3,000 at the virtual event.
This year’s Start-Up Challenge featured remarks from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. In recognizing participants for their leadership, Mayor Lightfoot drew connections to the competition and her commitment to expanding opportunities for businesses led by women. She further emphasized the life sciences industry as a key part of her 10-year economic development strategy.
“You should each be immensely proud of yourselves. You created technology and products that will leave a lasting impact on our city, and you are living proof that when women lead, we have the power to change communities across the world for the better,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Now, especially as we seek solutions to COVID-19, we need the hard work and leadership of women entrepreneurs like you. Events like the Start-Up Challenge are crucial to elevating the visibility of our city’s women-founded healthcare startups and investors. By doing the invaluable work to uplift women in the life sciences, Women In Bio has helped create a thriving ecosystem of women entrepreneurs, the heart of which is found right here in our great city.”
Mayor Lightfoot also commended the Start-Up Challenge sponsors. “Marshall Gerstein has decades of experience helping life science and medical tech clients,” she said. “Their support has not only been critical in making this competition possible, but it has built and opened doors of opportunity for professional development for talented women across our city. It’s this type of public-private partnership that makes our city so great and builds the foundation we’ve laid for a more inclusive and innovative Chicago that women like you will be the leaders of.”
“We love being a part of the Start-Up Challenge,” said Heather Kissling, partner and prosecution practice chair at Marshall Gerstein. “Each year, the finalists raise the bar for life sciences innovation and demonstrate excellence in developing new products and technologies. Moreover, the Start-Up Challenge represents the vibrant community, woman-to-woman mentorship and leadership that makes Women In Bio a leading authority and organization for women in life sciences. Events like this help women, in every stage of their career, rise to the top and advance the industry.”
Women In Bio was established in 2002 to help women entrepreneurs and executives in the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia area build successful bioscience-related businesses. The mission expanded several years later, with a vision to grow it to an organization with a national footprint that would impact the careers of women in all sectors of the life sciences industry. That vision has now become a reality, as there are now 13 chapters throughout North America, led by more than 624 volunteers and a membership base of more than 3,000. Thousands of women attend WIB events each year, and continue to grow the organization through their ideas, activities and donations. WIB has become a community that represents one of the fastest growing and most influential organizations for women in life sciences.