The Simon Initiative

Established in 2018, The Simon Initiative is a multi-stage, collaborative initiative sponsored by Washington University’s Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation & Entrepreneurship to expand diversity and interdisciplinary approaches to entrepreneurship.

Andrew and Andrea Simon

Andrew and Andrea Simon. Source: The Simons

Thanks to the generous support of alumnus Andrew Simon (LA63) and his wife Andrea, the Skandalaris Center has launched the Simon Initiative to develop a distinctive ecosystem of women entrepreneurs, advisors, mentors and investors.



This initiative aims to broaden the diversity of entrepreneurial activity to include more women and under-represented populations across a broad spectrum of disciplinary sectors (liberal arts, humanities, creative arts, social as well as tech, medicine and life sciences).

  • BUILD a Professional Network of experienced women entrepreneurs, innovators, advisors, mentors and investors spanning all disciplines and sectors
  • CONNECT women in the Washington University Community (undergraduate students, graduate students, professional students, post-docs, alumni, faculty, staff and community members) to the Professional Network
  • EMPOWER women to be confident in their ideas and explore their possibilities
  • TRAIN women to identify opportunity and turn it into a viable venture concept
  • LEVERAGE existing Washington University-related initiatives to amplify support of women’s entrepreneurship

HER Summit is a day all about community-building and empowerment amongst female entrepreneurs, helping them rise above gender and cultural norms as they build their dream empires. Free and open to the public.