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2018 Circular Summit Inspires Women Founders to be Extraordinary

March 05, 2018

More than 300 high-growth female founders, investors, policy makers and ecosystem builders gathered in Washington, D.C., for the 2018 Circular Summit. Hosted by Alice at the United States Institute of Peace, the third annual summit inspired women entrepreneurs to accelerate their growth, empower each other and break the traditional roles that often hold women back from achieving their full potential.

The summit featured a lineup of more than 20 speakers – including successful women founders and CEOs who are using the summit as a platform to share their stories and inspires others.

Melissa Bradley, managing director of Project 500, was one of the featured speakers at the summit. Speaking from her own experiences as a woman founder representing a variety of underrepresented groups, Bradley highlighted why it is important for women founders to celebrate each other’s successes. According to Bradley, the success of one woman helps clear the path for others to follow in her success.

This message resonated with summit participants, including GIST alumna Raji Borthakur, CEO and founder of TerraBlue XT. Borthakur said celebrating the success of women founders is important, because it shows other women that they too have the power to start their own ventures.

“So many women that I know of, and people that I read about, they are capable of doing extraordinary things,” said Borthakur. “It’s just that they’ve not got that opportunity, or they have not got any kind of support from anyone, to feel that they have it in themselves.”

Borthakur’s own company, TerraBlue XT, is the direct result of her efforts to overcome tough challenges facing her family. Borthakur’s son, Tejas, suffered from epileptic seizures so violent, he was going to the hospital every month. Determined to overcome the emotional and physical toll of her son’s illness, Borthakur developed a glove with sensors that can read small signals in the body. Linked up with a processing hub through the cloud, the glove searches for patterns that can predict when a seizure will happen and provide real-time health updates to doctors.

Borthakur named the prototype glove TJay, after her son, and founded TerraBlue XT in order to test the glove and bring it to market. Since she founded her company, Borthakur has developed a second prototype that monitors anxiety, competed in the GIST Catalyst pitch competition at the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit and is now enrolled in the PeaceTech Accelerator at the U.S. Institute of Peace. She attended the Circular Summit, she said, because she saw it as another opportunity to help scale her business and find inspiration in the success of others.

“Don’t wait for a bad event to happen, for you to understand your potential,” Borthakor said. “If you feel you’ve got something within you, don’t wait for somebody. You have to be courageous enough to explore it yourself.”

Alice, the host of Circular Summit, was co-founded in 2015 by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore. Alice is the world’s first artificial intelligence platform to help business growth by providing founders with curated content, tools, experts, communities and opportunities based on the unique profiles of their companies. The goal is to create and lift up more women and minority founders. This is the same driving force behind the Circular Summit.

“Alice is a movement to broaden the startup ecosystems in a way that strengthens all small business owners and creates real change in the number of women and minority-owned business that are succeeding big,” said Rodz. “Just as Alice connects financial and intellectual capital to business owners in the digital world, Circular Summit translates that mission into real-life experiences.”

To learn more about Alice and the Circular Summit, click here. To learn more about TerraBlue XT, click here.