Team Enlighteners story
When Elysia Oh, Megan Luu, Xiao Qi Lee and Maheswari Bajji created Enlighteners for Intuit’s inaugural Social Innovation Challenge, they were tasked with finding a way to support minority entrepreneurs and small business owners. Upon discovering that only 23.8% of women entrepreneurs receive funding compared to 33.9% of men , they took it upon themselves to change things.
“After researching the problems causing the disparity in funding, my team and I chose to improve the number of women in business by creating a place where women can come together to learn about business basics, secure funding, and meet potential teammates,” Maheswari said. Interviewing aspiring female entrepreneurs and harnessing customer-driven innovation, a concept they learned during the challenge, the team came up with their durable competitive advantage: they would offer both the educational and social aspects of business to an often overlooked audience – women entrepreneurs. As a result Enlighten was born.
The team wanted to create a platform that created value for both novice and established entrepreneurs. The website comprises three parts: an entrepreneurship education section, a membership page to meet other teammates, and a forum to connect and ask for or give funding. To measure the efficacy of their online business course, users took a pre-test, averaging a score of 63%. After taking the course, learners’ scores improved substantially, reaching an average score of 93% –a 47% increase.