As an investing member of the Sophia Business Angels (Sophia Antipolis France) Marilyn was one of the founders of the Venture Academy, formed to coach entrepreneurs to become investment ready. The SBA Venture Academy hosted an international group of entrepreneurs from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Spain, Bahrain, France, Russia, and UK as well as from France.
Marilyn coached entrepreneurs to move a great idea through the process of team selection, business model formation, presentation development and eventual delivery of their “pitch” to angel investors.
Marilyn is active coaching student entrepreneurs and judging business plan competitions at Tufts University Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
She works with the Demeter Entrepreneurs Support Network as a Personal Advocate – participating in the Momentum at Tufts' Fletcher School for students considering an entrepreneurial career in Low Income Countries; and coaching entrepreneurial teams.
Marilyn delivered a seminar on team selection and best team practices for the finalist teams for the Hult Prize 2015. She coached team dynamics and mediation practices with five of the final teams. One of these teams won the $1M prize at the Clinton Global Initiative Award competition.
French University Entrepreneurial Seminars
Entrepreneurs Support Network Demeter
In France Marilyn presented Leadership seminars in the International MBA Entrepreneurial Programs at French universities: IPAG in Paris, SKEMA in Sophia Antipolis and EDHEC in Nice. She coached students and judged business plan competitions.
Start up Entrepreneurial Story
Marilyn has experienced firsthand the thrills and challenges of entrepreneurship. In the early 1990s with her late husband, Michael Rogosin, founded Whycroft Industries, designing, manufacturing and marketing a dog walkers' accessory, Bagtime.
Bagtime won the Best New Product award at the National Pet Supply Trade Show. There was great interest from buyers at the trade show as well as excellent press coverage, including articles in the Washington Post and the Boston Herald.
They launched the first pet supply “shopping mall” on the Internet and gave seminars on Internet shopping opportunities at the National Pet Supply Trade Show. Their innovative Whycroft offered a mall with boutiques from an international client base.
But it was not a sustainable business model.
Marilyn and Michael moved to Europe to take up positions with firms
that left them no time to maintain Whycroft. They discontinued
operations and distributed the large inventory to charitable
organizations in Boston.
Some of the mistakes they made are common to many of the
entrepreneurs that Marilyn coaches.
They thought that winning prizes and getting great press coverage
made the business viable – but they were wrong.
They thought that large scale manufacturing in China in was a good
idea. Manufacturing prices dropped dramatically. However there
were unanticipated quality issues, challenges of storage of the large
quantities of product, and distribution problems.
In addition to painful leaning experiences, Marilyn and Michael had
the feeling of what it is like to be totally engaged, “working in the flow”
entrepreneurs – loving what they did, crafting the best possible
working and environmental practices, and ignoring current realities
of the business model.
The many learning experiences with Whycroft continue to inform
Marilyn's entrepreneurial coaching and judging work today.
Bagtime products from Whycroft Industries