Boost your career

Empower is a free nine-month program for women over 35 years old hoping to fuel their professional growth and take their careers to the next level. Supported by a grant from the English Language Office of the US Embassy in Moscow, the program is aimed at helping its participants develop their computer, entrepreneurship, leadership, communication and other soft skills.

“We saw a strong demand for such an initiative in society, especially among women, and this is why we decided to launch this program. In our opinion, ITMO University is a perfect place for this program, since we have the expertise in such fields as computer science, entrepreneurship, soft skills and the English language, and these are exactly the skills that can help someone take their career to the next level,” notes Maryam Reyhani, coordinator of the Empower program.  

Empower Program
Empower Program

Ideas that exceed all expectations

At the presentation session, each participant presented their project to the jury, made up of Igor Kuprienko, head of ITMO’s Center for Project Development and Fundraising, Olga Medvedeva, an associate professor at the Faculty of Technology Management and Innovation, Vyacheslav Fedorov, an entrepreneur and founder of the Go2Sport project, and Zoya Mishunina, one of the lecturers for Entrepreneurship.

“My students were very motivated and hard-working. I’m very proud of the results they managed to achieve, they exceeded all my expectations: in the course of two months, they came up with two full-fledged projects. It’s amazing! They were very eager to learn new things: they did their best to understand how to attract investments and make their business ideas successful. What is also great is that they used their personal experiences when working on their projects, which definitely helped them make their business ideas more accurate and realistic. Honestly, these women were the most efficient and motivated students in my whole teaching experience,” shares Zoya Mishunina. 

We talked to the program’s participants whose projects were highly appreciated by the jury and asked them about their impressions of the program and plans for the future.

Empower Program
Empower Program

Svetlana Ankudinova, project: yacht club, “Marina service” marina

I learned about the Empower program from my friends, who told me about the very high level of teaching at ITMO University. After reading the program’s description, I realized that it was exactly the program for me, as it focused on helping women launch their own business, boost their career, acquire entrepreneurship, leadership, and communication skills, and improve their English. I wanted to unleash my potential and acquire new skills and knowledge and this is why I decided to give it a try. Thanks to this program I managed to prepare a business plan, as well as get it reviewed and establish useful connections with potential partners. In the nearest future, I plan to publish an article about my project in English in a high-impact journal, and this is where the knowledge about how to write a covering letter in English will come in handy. What makes this program especially valuable is that it provides good feedback and moral support.

Lidia Pozdeeva, project: painting facility for cars in Crimea

Lidia Pozdeeva
Lidia Pozdeeva

Thanks to the mentors, the entrepreneurship course turned out to be fun; there were a lot of topics focusing on self-development and learning. Working on my project, I worried that its topic doesn’t correspond to ITMO’s profile, because the idea wasn’t related to technologies, but I was supported by the lecturers, who provided me with advice on business promotion. Eventually, my presentation received good feedback from the jury, I was told that my project was a complete business and I can proceed confidently with it. Right now, I’m discussing my idea with an owner of a similar business in St. Petersburg, so I hope that this activity will move beyond the program’s framework.

Karina Ivanova, project: dog cafe “Happy Dog”

When I learned about this program, I immediately decided to give it a go, as I really needed a professional reboot back then. I had been experiencing problems with finding a job for several years. Though I’m a good specialist in my field, I didn’t fully enjoy my work and didn’t understand what to do with my life next. This course helped me acquire knowledge in different fields, establish useful connections and, most importantly, I now want to launch my own business. As for my business project, it needs further development and some alterations, but I’m actively thinking these tasks through.

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