Mass Challenge

Innovation Blog

Morning Jo: Meet Joanna!

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I work as the Senior Director of Operations at MassChallenge, the worlds largest startup accelerator, and I am an entrepreneur, the founder and former CEO of Snip-its, a franchised chain of hair salons for kids. I am inspired every day by the women in MassChallenge and the awesome challenges they are conquering. We have a woman creating a faster way to detect bacteria in blood and water (Fluid-Screen), another making Greek iced tea (Zoos), another developing an app to connect music lovers with live shows (Trill), and many more! They are amazing, one and all!

I wish I had a resource like MassChallenge when I was starting Snip-its. I literally had never even read a business plan before, let alone research and develop one from scratch. I was an African Studies major in college, so seriously, no relevant experience or education. I guess what I had going for me was blissful ignorance and optimism. I had no inkling that there was even a remote chance I would fail. That was 18 years ago, and although now I can call myself an expert in both the franchise and hair care industry, I came perilously close to disaster at least a dozen times! Luckily I did not make the one fatal mistake that will sink a startup: I did not run out of money.

I tell entrepreneurs at MassChallenge and around Boston my one piece of advice, which I stole from Ringo Starr: You gotta pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues, and you know it dont come easy. Seriously, it takes more money, more time, and more heartache than anyone ever expects, and that holds true for every single startup I have ever encountered!

Ill pass on my knowledge and interview other female founders to pass on their insights. It is my hope that through this blog, you will find some pearls of wisdom, a bit of humor, and maybe a friend to help you along your entrepreneurial journey. Until next week

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