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Women Mean Business - nCourage


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Women Mean Business host Leisa Holland-Nelson, president of ContentActive, interviews the extraordinary women investors of nCourage, sponsors of the Courageous Women Entrepreneur Award at the Rice Business Plan Competition.

Video and Full Interview Text

Leisa: Hello, I'm Leisa Holland-Nelson and welcome to another edition of Women Mean Business where we're going to take you up close and personal with extraordinary women doing extraordinary things. This is a special edition of our show coming to you live from the 2012 Rice Business Plan Competition. As you can see, I'm not alone and I don't have just one guest; here with me are the women from nCourage, a very special group. I'm gonna let them each introduce themselves individually and then we'll find out what nCourage is all about.

Lamar: I'm Lamar Matthews with Falcon Partners; I'm a long term serial entrepreneur.

Leisa: Welcome.

Cindy: Hi, I'm Cindy Boyd, President and CEO of Sentigy and I also have a brand new startup called CBM Enterprise Solutions

Winnie: Hi, Winnie Hart from The H Agency. I'm also on the Global Communication Committee for The Entrepreneur's Organization.

Lynn: And I'm Lynn Kirkpatrick; I'm CEO of Ensysce Bios Siences, developing cancer drug delivery here in Houston, Texas.

Shelby: I'm Shelby Scarbrough based in Washington, D.C., Practical Protocol, twenty years of experience putting businesses in the global market.

Leisa: I guess you could say these are extraordinary women on their own, but meanwhile they've put together a group called nCourage to give a Courageous Woman Award. Cindy, tell us about nCourage.

Cindy: Well, we came together as a group to award a prize for the Rice Business Plan Competition and really what we were looking for were courageous women entrepreneurs. We were a group of entrepreneurs ourselves, and we really wanted to award those courageous women entrepreneurs on these teams.

Leisa: Does there need to be a certain number of women on a team to win the award?

Cindy: It's not so much a certain number. What we're really looking for is that significant contribution, where the courageous woman really is making a difference on that team.

Leisa: So she's leading the team or own - or is there a majority of them?

Cindy: Leading the team, a significant contribution.

Leisa: Okay.

Cindy: Could be an owner, you know, having ownership percentages; we kind of look across the board at what is the contribution - a significant contribution.

Leisa: Okay. This business plan competition, for those of you who don't know, is the richest one in the world and this is our first year to actually have over a million dollars in cash prizes and another two hundred and fifty thousand in in-kind, which includes rent, websites, all kinds of wonderful things. Winnie, how did you get involved with this group? What made you want to be part of it?

Winnie: Well, just being a part of a group of women that support other woman, there's no question that that's just a wonderful opportunity.

Leisa: And was it a big financial contribution on your part or is it more time or - or how are you engaged here?

Winnie: I'm thrilled to be able to provide support and mentorship to women and in terms of financial, I think our pri-our prize is twenty thousand this year.

Cindy: That's right

Leisa: That's really fabulous.

Winnie: Yeah, yeah.

Leisa: That's really fabulous. So I'm gonna come back to you because nCourage is pretty encouraging to me certainly. What are you gonna do next? What's your long-term strategy?

Cindy: When you get a group of entrepreneurial women together, things are gonna happen. We really are very energized, that's the one thing that's very common about participating. And that energy is translated in s-some - some big plans for the future. We know that we really like the early stage investment, that - that we can really have an impact through both the financial award, but also the mentoring that we're involved with. Lynn is on the - on the Board of Directors on one of our previous investments.

Leisa: Oh wonderful, wonderful.

Cindy: Yes and so there have been contributions both from financial as well as the mentoring. So we know that this aura will grow; we're involved here at Rice but we do have plans to work with other organizations across the - the globe.

Leisa: My guess is many will want you to attend their business plan competitions, for sure.

Cindy: Um, their, eh, we love business plan competitions. It's very - it's exciting to see at the early stage.

Leisa: Thank you so much. There you have it, extraordinary women doing extraordinary things. I'm Leisa Holland-Nelson, President and - and Chief Marketing Officer for ContentActive, Houston's leading web and mobile technology company. You can find me at or follow me on Twitter. We'll be back again next week with another edition of Women Mean Business.

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