Shonté Jovan Taylor, M.Sc., Ph.D.(c), delves into the “brain-set” of entrepreneurship.


By Shonté Jovan Taylor, M.Sc., Ph.D.(c)

Humiliating! Painful! Noisy! Difficult to use!

Such were the words of Dr. Tania Boler, founder of women’s health tech company Chiaro, who highlighted flaws in existing breast pumps, spurring her quest to enhance these vital devices. This reflects a common challenge in female entrepreneurship: tackling real issues with a mix of science, empathy and creativity.

Entrepreneurship is a multifaceted journey that holds different meanings for different individuals. For some, it represents freedom and the ability to leverage personal strengths; for others, it emerges from necessity. Importantly, for many women, entrepreneurship is a path pursued to address and rectify societal issues.
Navigating this pursuit comes with unique psychological and emotional challenges for women. It’s a tough, often thankless and unrecognized job. It’s necessary to acknowledge women in entrepreneurship, particularly in Austin, who may not have received the recognition their impact deserves.

Entrepreneurship mindset revolves around “brain-set,” a concept I coined to explain the neural, emotional and psychological basis driving our intentions, decisions, behaviors and actions. Knowing this brain-set is vital for sustaining the entrepreneurial spirit in the face of uncertainties and obstacles. I explain these forces using the 10 C’s framework, five of which I dive deeply into below.

Cognitive Flexibility

Studies in brain imaging, like those carried out by neuroscientists at the University of Liège, have revealed notable distinctions in brain activity between entrepreneurs and managers, particularly in regions associated with cognitive flexibility and exploratory decision-making. Cognitive flexibility helps entrepreneurs see different perspectives, boosts resilience against rigid thinking and enables quick adaptation to new information for innovative problem-solving.

Community and Connection

Have you ever heard the phrase birds of a feather flock together? Think about it. A turkey grounded in life develops specific navigation skills, perspectives and goals, shaping its mindset distinctively from an eagle soaring high, mastering the skies. Entrepreneurs can also flourish in communities where others reflect their values and intentions, nurturing a culture of purpose, mutual support and shared success.
Community is also crucial in combating the loneliness that can accompany the entrepreneurial path, stimulating the social networks in our brain, which are vital for maintaining focus, mood and creativity.

Cash Flow

The link between innovation and financial performance cannot be overstated. Despite the creativity and potential of female entrepreneurs, a significant funding gap persists, with women receiving only a tiny portion of venture capital. Sufficient financial resources are crucial, not just for business sustainability but also for fostering innovative solutions beyond superficial changes like color adjustments (i.e., turning a product pink). By obtaining additional funding, closing gender data disparities and harnessing women’s insights, the development of products and technology, customized for women, can adeptly tackle their practical challenges.

Moreover, the unique brains of women drive innovation, leading to a multitude of products that benefit society as a whole. A 2018 study by the Boston Consulting Group unveiled that women, despite receiving only half the funding men do on average, manage to generate twice the revenue. Furthermore, research indicates that teams with greater diversity tend to foster more innovation due to the varied perspectives they bring. (I’m just the messenger folks.)


Dealing with uncertainty is a critical skill for any entrepreneur. The amygdala, or what I like to call “Amy,” plays a key role in how we handle fear and anxiety associated with risk. Ensuring that Amy does not hijack neural resources from areas of the brain responsible for higher cognitive functions is essential for maintaining cognitive flexibility and resilience in the face of entrepreneurial challenges.


Confidence is another critical component of the entrepreneurial mindset. Many women, even those highly successful in other careers, struggle with self-doubt when they step into entrepreneurship. My role as a mindset coach often shifts to helping these brilliant minds recognize and reconnect with their past achievements and inherent wisdom, empowering them to embrace and advance their entrepreneurial ventures confidently.

As we work to address historical gaps in needs and perspectives, the contributions of women entrepreneurs are vital and essential. Whether just beginning to entertain the idea of starting a business or a seasoned entrepreneur, remember: The unique insights and skills you bring are indispensable. Our society’s progress toward a more inclusive and innovative future depends on your continued courage and engagement.



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