One school of thought says that entrepreneurship just sort of happens when a brilliant idea, born out of genius or creativity, collides with that certain “thing” that launches it into the sphere of success. Okay, there’s the other school of thought that says “necessity is the mother of invention,” and a good invention is the beginning of a successful business. Stanford’s Entrepreneurship Dorm is an idea based on the thinking that entrepreneurship thrives in dorms. Well, it actually thrives when you assemble groups of brilliant entrepreneurial thinking people together – in a dorm or a house. From there the ideas will percolate and with Stanford in the heart of Silicon Valley, ingredients such as funding and advisors are nearby to nurture entrepreneurship. After all, companies from FedEx to WordPress to Facebook, and College Hunks Hauling Junk were all launched from dorm rooms.
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Will Stanford’s model lead to more women entrepreneurs? Possibly. It certainly can’t hurt. However, that doesn’t mean that more women entrepreneurs are launched in formal settings. Women entrepreneurs can come from anywhere. This week Sara Blakely made news for joining Forbes list of billionaires. She serendipitously invented a shapewear line. It started when she cut the feet off a pair of pantyhose in order to look better in a pair of white slacks. Before that Oprah made the list for amassing a fortune in her media ventures. One could argue that Oprah creates women entrepreneurs because her “blessings” have launched any number of women in business, from food companies to books and even Sara Blakely’s shapewear. Before Oprah, there was Mary Kay with her cosmetics company that also empowered women. Hard Candy cosmetics launched when two sisters mixed nail polish colors in their bathroom sink. The Guinness Book of records cites Madame C.J. Walker as the first woman to become a millionaire with her own hair care line.