Live, online entrepreneurship academy advances social and
emotional health during COVID-19 pandemic
BLOOMFIELD, Conn. – September 30, 2020 – With COVID-19 continuing to impact teen mental health and social connections, Cigna (NYSE:CI) is providing financial support to Girls With Impact, the nation’s only live, online entrepreneurship program for young women.
Studies show that students have experienced higher depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an overwhelming majority — 81% — saying they were experiencing increased stress. Yet the vast majority of parents – 85% — are seeking full or partial online learning.
Even prior to the pandemic, Gen Z placed mental health third among their top worries, with young women experiencing greater concern over their state of mind, according to the report, What’s Inside the Minds of GenZ?
“Girls With Impact helped me keep a schedule of something to do during quarantine,” said graduate Victoria Navarrete,17.
“Girls With Impact is playing an instrumental role in advancing the social and emotional health of girls while preparing them for future success,” said Hollie Ward, managing director for leadership development at Cigna. “We are pleased to support their programs, which help girls become future business leaders and entrepreneurs who will help build healthy and vital communities.”
Girls With Impact operates a unique, live, online, instructor-led business academy. Students are guided by their business coach over 10 weeks, moving from venture idea to business plan and pitch. Graduates have developed ventures to address teen depression, suicide, and Alzheimer’s.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the nonprofit trained 2,500 girls from across the country through its signature Entrepreneurship Academy and workforce readiness workshops.
“The program helped me get my idea launched,” said student Neha Shukla, 15, who developed SixFeetApart, a wearable sensor device to keep people safe from the COVID virus. “The network, support and collaboration with other girls has been so helpful.”
Cigna’s contribution will support Girls With Impact’s 2020-21 goal to serve 2,000 low to moderate income girls. The organization has made diversity a core pillar since inception with over 60% girls of color.
“Whether girls are facing crises on the home front or the typical challenges of building a business, we’re playing a pivotal role in their development,” said CEO Jennifer Openshaw.
Cigna will also be making Girls With Impact’s Entrepreneurship Academy and Future Skills Workshops available to Cigna employees at a discount – providing a convenient solution for working parents who are seeking a proven remote learning opportunity for their daughters.
The program drives college prep and workforce readiness outcomes in areas that have long been barriers to women’s success. For example:
- 85% of graduates report improved confidence
- 50% feel better collaborating with people online
- 93% feel more college ready
Programs are offered year-round, each quarter. To learn more, go to www.girlswithimpact.org.
About Girls With Impact
Girls With Impact, a 501c3, is the nation’s only live, online mini-MBA for teen girls, offered year-round. The live, online after-school Business and Innovation Academy moves girls from ideation to a business plan and venture pitch, driving improvements in confidence, leadership, college readiness and professional skills for success. The organization started in 2017 when the World Economic Forum, in Davos, brought attention to the need to increase the number of women in leadership. Girls With Impact partners with corporations and foundations who make our work possible. Watch this.