Today we’d like to introduce you to Marie Meslin.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Marie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was always interested in people and in the creative process. I married the two by briefly studying Art & Design, then Social Anthropology. But, it was living in the Middle East and Europe that ended up giving me a focus on innovation and impact. When I moved to the US, I moved to the non-profit world (focusing on education and women’s rights) into an Innovation Consultancy group called ?What If! Once in Boston, I helped grow a small business before coming back to the non-profit world with The Capital Network. Supporting founders in reaching their goals has been really rewarding but there is plenty of work to be done when it comes to entrepreneurs having access in the first place – which is why we created fellowships for female founders and are looking at growing initiatives that can help the ecosystem as a whole be more inclusive.
Has it been a smooth road?
It’s never a smooth road – nor should it be. I’ve weaved in and out of opportunities, putting everything on hold and moved across the Atlantic twice because we needed to support and be there for difficult family moments.
Starting over in a new place and growing a support system takes time but I love the weird and wonderful people I’ve been able to grow into a family network all over. Moving every 3 years takes a toll – but it also gives you perspectives and chances you would not have been able to have otherwise.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
At The Capital Network – we teach entrepreneurs about the fundraising process and help them build their network of allies, mentors and potential investors through our programming. We’ve created programs that help early-stage entrepreneurs understand what they need – and don’t need – to grow their business. We’ve been around for a long time – so we’re really invested in the community. As a non-profit, we also focus on the entrepreneurs and their needs first.
We’ve created a female founders fellowship to include and support a wider variety of female founders in the Boston area and we’ve been so pleased with the support we’ve received from people wanting to support this initiative. We want to be purposeful in creating access and support for a wide set of startups and entrepreneurs. We also just joined 100% Talent Initiative, created by the Boston Women’s Workforce Council to reduce the wage gap in Greater Boston. As a women-led organisation – this is important to us.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
This startup ecosystem has so much going on – world-class universities, research facilities, organisations, corporations, accelerators and more. There is no shortage of events and resources going around – so finding your group can take a while. However – it’s also clear there is a gap in access to these resources.
For Boston, to achieve its full potential it needs to create access and opportunities for ALL of its residents. We need to support some of the resources that help entrepreneurs that aren’t backed by elite colleges and grow the pool of investors looking to support businesses led by more diverse founding teams. Why? Because it’s 2018 and because it makes financial sense.
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