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Meet the 2024 mPOWER Women Founders Cohort

mHUB Welcomes 2024 mPOWER Women Founders Program Participants

mHUB is committed to expanding access for underrepresented founders. Through its Catalyze initiative, mHUB seeks to create a membership composition that is more than 60% women and people of color over the next five years. The current mHUB member community across all services is 38% women, 12% black, 12% LatinX or Hispanic, 3% indigenous, and 20% Asian/Pacific Islander. The mHUB Community grew on January 31st, 2024, when five female founders joined the mHUB Innovation Center through the 2024 mPOWER Women Founders cohort. 

During their 6-month structured hands-on program at mHUB, these female founders will build community, work through customer discovery and market validation, define their value proposition and product design concept, assess the viability of their business, and leverage access to the broader ecosystem. mPOWER programming is supplemental to mHUB's shared workspace membership, combining group learning and targeted resources to build on mHUB's existing world-class resources. This includes group workshops and a speaker series, product design support and training, dedicated Experts in Residence, access to non-dilutive capital, and technical support as they take their product concepts from ideation through proof-of-concept.

Meet the 2024 mPOWER Women founders and connect with them. 


Nikita-Gupta-mPOWER-250pxNikita Gupta

Dr. Nikita Gupta, PhD, is a neuroscientist and disability advocate who tackles severe disability care issues by advancing MedTech and healthcare technology developments. She earned her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas Medical Branch, specializing in Neuroscience. Her previous research focused on utilizing novel laser therapeutics as a non-invasive prophylactic option for neurodegeneration and brain injury. As of January 2024, she continues her work in Neurosciences and the MedTech space as a postdoctoral technology commercialization fellow at the University of Illinois, Chicago's Technology Management Office. Nikita also currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer at AuraSenseTM, an mHUB portfolio company that focuses on remote touch technology for hand assessment and physiotherapy. In her current pursuits, Nikita aims to improve medical care for the non-communicative disability community.  Within the mPOWER Women's 2024 cohort, Nikita will be working towards bettering adult incontinence care and products."


Kristin-Horton-mPOWER-2024-250pxKristin Horton 

Kristin Horton received a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Engineering from the Florida A&M University/Florida State University College of Engineering.  She also received a certificate in Project Management from University of California, Irvine. The foundation of her career is Manufacturing Engineering for Aerospace defense contractors building fighter jets, missiles, etc.  She was responsible for process improvements (Lean), thus saving companies millions of dollars.  She also worked as a Project Manager for an international medical device company in new product development  She was in charge of qualifying vendors, project management and supply chain planning - including capacity analysis and process validation. In 2018, she started her own consulting company, A-1 Rapid Fabrications LLC, in which she helps companies across various industries and sizes reach their production goals.  In her spare time Kristin loves to binge watch shows, eat delicious healthy meals, workout, play tennis, travel, laugh and her cat Sammy. 

Salem JordenSalem Jorden 

Salem is an artist, creative technologist, and storyteller based in Chicago, IL. She currently works as a Software Engineer and is a passionate advocate for ethically responsible technological innovation. Prior to falling in love with computer science, her professional journey began as a fine artist in New York City. Her artistic foundation serves as the bedrock for her approach to software development, infusing her work with a unique blend of precision and imaginative problem-solving. Born from her futurist philosophy and techno optimism is an unwavering belief in the power of technology to act as a force for good and create a world that works for all of life. Collectively, she believes that we can engineer a sustainable future and revolutionize the human-technology experience for generations to come. 



Ann Schuessler 

Ann grew up in the Chicagoland area and comes from a long line of engineers and builders.   She is a creative problem solver and knew from a young age that she was going to be a builder.   Throughout her career, Ann worked in various capacities in the construction industry before starting her own company as a builder/developer of small urban infill projects throughout the Seattle area.  After spending most of her career in the Pacific Northwest, Ann returned to Chicago with her family in 2021.  In 2023, sensing an opportunity to leverage her knowledge of the construction process, Ann decided to pivot to the manufacturing world.  Her company, Construction Assembly Solutions, is on a mission to improve the construction process with products that create repeatable efficiencies and allow for a more diversified workforce. 

Oksana-Siddikova-mPOWER-2024-250pxOksana Siddikova 

Oksana, born in Ukraine, embarked on her journey in the realm of art, earning a degree from the College of Art before delving into the world of business. With a master's degree in management, she dedicated a decade of her life to bolstering the Ukrainian economy, particularly within the food production industry. Years later, Oksana made a bold decision to move to the United States with her husband, starting anew in every aspect of her life: family, career, and personal aspirations. Amidst the challenges of navigating this transition, she achieved a significant milestone – becoming a devoted mother to beautiful twins. This pivotal moment shifted her focus towards the heart of the home: the kitchen. Spending more time cooking for her family, Oksana recognized the need for convenience and efficiency in her culinary endeavors. It was during these moments of culinary exploration that the idea for a modular cutting board began to take shape in her restless, curious mind. Inspired by the desire for practicality and ease, Oksana set out to create a solution that would streamline the cooking process, leading to the inception of her innovative modular cutting board concept. 


Eager to join an entrepreneurial community committed to the growth and success of underrepresented founders? Learn more about mHUB membership and the Catalyze initiative.