BWIB x EGAL Case Competition 2023
Following the success of prior year’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) focused case competitions, Berkeley Women in Business (BWIB) and Berkeley Haas’s Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL) were thrilled to collaborate once again to host our fifth annual case competition on Friday, September 22, 2023. This year, BWIB and EGAL partnered with the SkyDeck startup Birth By Us. Skydeck is UC Berkeley’s global hub for entrepreneurship supporting startups founded by UC Berkeley students, alumni, and faculty, along with leading programs to support UC Berkeley students through internships, professional development, and opportunities for students to learn about startup creation and launch.
Participating in UC Berkeley’s Skydeck Pad-13 Incubator, Birth By Us’s mission is to empower Black women by allowing them to shape their birthing experience while simultaneously providing healthcare providers and hospital systems with invaluable insights to support pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care. The ultimate goal is to reduce preventable maternal deaths and complications and bridge the gaping disparities in maternal health.
Undergraduate student participants’ main tasks were to provide recommendations on how Birth By Us can achieve health equity while addressing racial disparities in maternal health, navigating market dynamics, and maximizing efficiency. The first objective involved how Birth By Us can effectively convey its mission and value to financially-driven healthcare providers and institutions, while also fostering understanding of health equity-focused care. The second objective was to brainstorm ways in which Birth By Us can actively collaborate with existing initiatives, such as the Momnibus bill, to address racial disparities in maternal health. The third objective was how Birth By Us can effectively tap into the growing market for pregnancy and postpartum apps while staying true to its mission of health equity. Lastly, the fourth objective was how the Birth By Us team can leverage medical coding, profit, and cost-saving strategies to ensure the app’s success while keeping its community-centric mission intact.
With over 170 participants and 39 teams participating, judges were presented with a wide array of inspiring solutions to these challenges. Ultimately, our top finalists came down to Team 18 (first place): Angela Zhang, Sarah Kathuria, Sashu Machani, and Harshita Somani, and Team 24 (second place): Rachel Dang, Shivum Berry, Samia Amin, Dimple Amitha Garuadapuri, Saket Budhia, and Team 3 (third place): Alizé Jean, Akash Ponna, Ayushi Srivastava, Jane Tananaeva, and Amy Jain.
Team 18’s solution encompassed an E.P.I.C methodology, consisting of education and awareness, partnerships and initiatives, investment and market landscape, and community-based growth through Telehealth.
Following the presentations, Sara Kazemini moderated a Q&A session featuring the accomplished judges: Persis Sberlo (Program Manager for the Center for Responsible Business), Sudheer Someshwara (Director of Product at Yelp), Matt Vanhouten (CEO & Founder of Modern Payments), and Jennifer Tacheff (CEO & Founder of Manifest Advisors).
The founders of Birth By Us, Ijeoma Uche and Mercy Oladipo were impressed by the presentations and delighted to bring the winning teams’ recommendations back to their team to implement.
The Berkeley Women in Business members spearheading the event (Sara Kazemini and Anvitha Tummala) were beyond grateful to have worked with such a wonderful team from EGAL, SkyDeck, Birth By Us, and BWIB for several months. Sara Kazemini says, “It was truly inspiring to see so many creative ideas and solutions come together at the event!”