Oxford Entrepreneur Joins Ozmen Center Faculty

By Jamie Schwarzbach

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Kelly Northridge and I sat relaxed across from each other at one of the high-top tables in the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship. “Relaxed” is hard to obtain these days with Northridge doing her fieldwork in Reno while studying to receive her doctorate in business from the University of Oxford and also teaching a course at the University of Nevada, Reno called New Venture Creation in Biotechnology. Kelly is an exceptional entrepreneur who is researching gender lens investing and finance with a specific focus on developed countries, a rarely studied field.

Kelly has a plethora of educational experiences from International Business and Economics at the University of Nevada, Reno, to her MBA from Cornell University and Master of Public Health degree from UCLA.   Sprinkled between UNR and UCLA, Kelly worked in management consulting, venture capital and mergers and acquisitions.

After UCLA, with experience studying Asian, European, and African economies, Kelly transitioned her career to a startup — as their first official employee — where she focused on health economics and international strategy. From startups to big biotech, Kelly helped companies prepare the financial and economic dossiers needed to gain reimbursement for their drugs in nationalized healthcare systems worldwide. No small feat, as these companies need to, “provide enough extra benefits to justify bringing them on (to a national formulary).”

After completing a fellowship in angel investing and co-founding a women-led health tech company, she became passionate about the funding gap for women, and the impact of current financial models on women and girls.

Kelly took her next step and began studying at Oxford University. This was a clear choice because the school was exploring research topics in the women’s economy and social entrepreneurship. Kelly focuses on women and girls and how to use a “gender lens on any kind of investment to determine its impact on women and girls.” Kelly is really interested in developed countries (namely U.S. and Europe) and why this topic hasn’t been thoroughly researched in those countries. Kelly also questions, “how people in finance are addressing this need (for investing with a gender lens) that is becoming more and more vocal.”

During her schooling, Kelly was given the opportunity to perform fieldwork anywhere in the world and chose to come back to Reno.Kelly created a special topics course on New Venture Creation in Biotechnology offered in conjunction with the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Sciences.This undergrad/grad course analyzes University technology and determines whether the technology is a viable venture. The course also explores economic and financial analyses, and multiple funding sources (e.g., grants, private, crowd funding).

Kelly is doing exciting things connecting Oxford and the University of Nevada, Reno, increasing the awareness of the University internationally.

She moved back to Reno because University of Nevada, Reno is one of the few universities that is open to developing new curricula, and moving quickly to incorporate leading edge approaches and research into its entrepreneurship studies. The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship is excited to have Kelly as faculty and in-office to provide a point-of-view about women-led ventures, international economics and financial analyses and new venture creation.

Kelly will be available to provide a point-of-view during her office hours in the Ozmen Center on Mondays from 2:30 to 3:30pm.

Jamie Schwarzbach is a University of Nevada, Reno graduate student and creates the Ozmen Center Newsletter. She can be reached @JLSchwarzbach on Twitter.