Section 1: 

Find a Problem

As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, engaging in such an adventure may seem daunting or intimidating, irrespective of your experience level. You might have multiple years of experience, or you might be fresh out of college or high school. You might already have a problem that you want to solve, perhaps with a proposed solution, or you might be starting from scratch.

Our message to you: allow yourself to be inspired by your own personal experiences as you think about creating a venture.

For Dr. Sejal Hathi, Girls Helping Girls and girltank were born out of her personal struggles with anorexia nervosa and her ensuing motivation to instill a sense of dignity among women and girls around the world.

For Dr. Jerrica Kirkley, it was her personal experience in gender transitioning that led her to co-found Plume, a digital health platform that connects transgender patients to care.

For Ellen Su, co-founder of Wellinks, she wanted to apply her artistic abilities and mindset to help patients with scoliosis.


It's critical to ask yourself questions in order to better understand what drives you as well as what skills and experiences will help you succeed. Asking questions like these will help you identify and leverage your strengths while also identifying areas you can supplement with other resources or those in your network.

Click the preview to print and fill out your own answers on a downloadable version.


Drawing from your own experiences, identify unmet need. This should be the first step of your entrepreneurial journey, and it is one that will define almost everything that will follow. Unmet needs are opportunities for your venture to deliver value, refresh existing products, or expand into new markets, ultimately solving a problem that a particular set of individuals experience, driving an overall better result or outcome. The problem you aim to solve can be big or small, but remember that the scale of the problem will impact that values of the solution.

Once you have identified a specific unmet need that you care to address, such as an underserved patient population or a disease that may be lacking effective treatments, is it is time to evaluate if that need is truly unmet.

Click the preview to print and fill out your own Stakeholder Matrix.

Christine Yang, co-founder of Ride Health and associate at NEA, reminds us to understand the perspectives of all stakeholders and build a solution that not only addresses a problem, but also aligns the incentives of those interested.

It is important to remember that identifying a meaningful problem you care to solve is not a simple feat. The process is iterative. You may find yourself revisiting your assumptions and thinking about how to refine the question repeatedly throughout your journey. This is only the beginning.