14 UVA Darden Female Founders Capture the Spotlight on Twitter

By Dave Hendrick

It can be hard to keep track of the ventures created by students and alumni of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, particularly as the number grows with each new class. Some entrepreneurs come to Darden with the goal of taking their venture to the next level. Others launch new ventures at Darden, often influenced by world-renowned thinkers like Professor Saras Sarasvathy, and grow their plans with the aid of courses such as “Venture Velocity” or incubators like the Batten Institute‘s VP(x)2.

In 2019, Entrepreneur named Darden the No. 6 graduate entrepreneurship program.

In an effort to shine a light on some of the ventures and entrepreneurial efforts founded by Darden women, Senior Associate Dean for Professional Degree Programs Yael Grushka-Cockayne recently spotlighted 14 female founders making a difference.

Read about Coco Woeltz’s (MBA ’21) experience in Damon DeVito‘s “Venture Velocity” class.

Read more about the entrepreneurial journey of Claritza Jimenez (EMBA ’21) as she launched InColorStock.

Read more about Jing Xu’s (Class of 2022) kombucha for coffee lovers.

Read Hillary Lewis Murray (MBA ’13) recount seeing her cold-pressed juice sold in grocery stores nationwide just months after graduation.

Learn more about Gretchen Pace’s (MBA ’22) entrepreneurial journey.

Relish CEO Sarah Rumbaugh (MBA ’15) spoke to Poets & Quants in 2018 after her company acquired the complementary Transparent MBA.

Christine Davies (MBA ’09) said she founded Poligage to help modernize the government affairs industry.

Rong Wang (MBA ’05) explained in 2020 how the Darden network helped her education startup get off the ground.

Meg Pryde’s (MBA ’19) Brandefy closed a $1.7 million investment round earlier this year.

Allison Shimamoto (MBA ’19) founded Oemi Botanicals out of dissatisfaction with the hair products available on the market.

Read about Mala Bawer’s (MBA ’79) journey from Darden to sub-Saharan Africa.

Read about how Rhoback founders Matt (MBA ’16) and Kristina Loftus (MBA ’17) pivoted to produce vitally important facemasks at the start of the pandemic. Even former President George W. Bush is a fan!

Leah Sparks (MBA ’01) launched the company after seeing a gap in the health care system around the needs of pregnant women.

Elizabeth Blankenship launched Coton in part to fight the massive amount of waste involved in luxury fashion.

Interested in entrepreneurship at Darden? Read about the Batten Scholars program, one of many efforts aimed at growing the School’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

David Hendrick
Associate Director, Editorial & Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia