Editor's note: Opus College of Business is highlighting Schulze Innovation Scholars, recipients of a four-year, full-tuition scholarship and participants in a premier academic program. Read the rest of the profiles.
Katie McDonald's idea to make the fashion industry more equitable advanced her to the finals at a global pitch competition for social entrepreneurs.
What's been an impactful experience for you? How has it supported your pursuit of entrepreneurship?
Over J-Term, I developed LABLE with five fellow students in the St. Thomas gALPHA program. LABLE is an e-commerce platform that enables people living with disabilities to find accessible clothing without compromising their individuality.
After months of refining our idea, we pitched it at the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge. We conducted empathy interviews, collaborated with mentors, practiced pitching, and researched the adaptive clothing market intensively.
Every business idea in the competition had to address one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I felt honored to compete in the finalist round with teams from around the globe. Young people are truly capable of making a positive impact!
The competition exposed me to social entrepreneurship at its finest and opened my eyes to issues around the world. Whether you're starting a business or making decisions at a company, everyone can choose to be socially conscious of their actions.
What is keeping you busy right now?
This past summer, I worked as the marketing and operations intern at Giften Market. It's an e-commerce startup that simplifies gift shopping. We source unique and thoughtful gifts from over 150 emerging and under-represented entrepreneurs. I had the pleasure of working alongside founder, CEO and Tommie alumna Martha Krueger.
The Schulze Innovation Scholarship has helped me grow so much as an entrepreneur and human. It's given me friends who have become family and a chance to turn my visions into a reality.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I'm truly living my dream.Katie McDonald '24