stemina merchandise by youth alumni
In celebration of #WEcreateBC, we are highlighting Learning to Lead alumna Romina Mahinpei, who was last year’s recipient of the Minerva Youth Leadership Award that is given annually to an outstanding Learning to Lead alumna. #WEcreateBC is an initiative started by Women’s Enterprise Center and the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs to celebrate women entrepreneurs and the communities that support them. 

Romina and her sister recently launched a STEM product line called STEMina, and until July donated all profits to support Canadian hospitals and medical professionals. Their merchandise includes t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, and even face masks – check out the online store here! Learn how Romina took initiative, gained confidence, and what she has learned as a young entrepreneur.

Age: 18

School: University of British Columbia (UBC)

Career Aspiration: I’m not too sure yet, but I hope to get a career related to math and/or computer science!

Why did you start STEMina?

My sister and I have both been passionate about STEM since we were young. We participated in many local STEM programs and even began introducing the general public to the wonderful world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by organizing our own initiatives. Seeing the large number of participants at our past North Vancouver events, we were aware of our community’s interest in learning more about the STEM fields. Although the pandemic has put a halt to our in-person events, we didn’t want that to stop us from following our passion for STEM. With the free time that we had while quarantined at home, we decided to dabble with T-shirt design and launch STEMina, an apparel line that would allow people to express their love for STEM with what they wear!

What have you learned from Minerva’s programs that have helped you with your entrepreneurial journey?

I’ve learned to be more confident! No matter what project you take on, I truly believe that every girl should be confident in her skills and abilities and proud of whatever she achieves – even if it is a ‘small’ success. Before Minerva, I didn’t have any confidence in my abilities and had never considered embarking on an entrepreneurial journey. However, after attending Minerva’s programs and meeting inspiring female role models, I realized that I could achieve anything as long as I put my heart into it! In my case, this was related to STEM, and so I decided to be confident in my skills and launch STEMina with my sister!

What are a few important leadership skills that every female entrepreneur should have?

In addition to confidence, I think that communication skills and open-mindedness are important assets for any entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you are essentially trying to benefit your community by providing a particular service, so it’s important to effectively address what your community needs. One of the easiest ways to do this is by engaging with your community and being open-minded to their ideas, which then makes communication skills and open-mindedness important skills for entrepreneurs!

Thank you, Romina, for sharing your experiences. We are grateful to take part in this fun initiative to amplify stories of support and community!

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