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Making A Slam Dunk: Empowering Female Athletes

Today, 40% of all athletes are women, but only 4% are covered in the media. Ieshia Hill has decided to change this with her fast-growing startup, Lady Sports News.

More than just sharing the stories of all-star players, Ieshia wants to highlight female athletes doing great things off the court or outside the field. What drives her and Lady Sports News every day is “to inspire and empower young female athletes to ensure they are recognized by the media.”

Boosting The 4% Of Coverage

After being a three-sport athlete at North Central High School (including winning two basketball state championships!), Ieshia studied journalism at Indiana University. She loved following high school sports, but realized coverage of women’s sporting programs was seriously lacking. “I thought it was very important to have women’s sports coverage here in Indianapolis, especially on the high school level,” Ieshia explained.

Lady Sports News began as a basketball blog in July 2015, but quickly expanded to cover all sports and recognize more outstanding athletes. In August 2015, Ieshia won the local PitchFeast competition where she met Kristen Cooper, Founder of the Startup Ladies. “She reached out to me after I won that day, told me about the Startup Ladies, and from there I started coming to events.” The rest is history!

Going Back To School

Ieshia has found Startup Study Halls especially helpful since she did not take many business classes in college, saying “It feels like I’m back in school again for free!” She tells people about the Startup Study Halls “all the time because I think every woman who wants to be an entrepreneur or has a business idea can learn something at the Startup Ladies.”

One of Ieshia’s most memorable Startup Study Halls was with business investor Don Aquilano who helped Ieshia focus on producing profits. “I wasn’t really thinking about how to generate revenue,” Ieshia admits. Don encouraged her to restructure her model, and she was able to talk with him one-on-one. Ieshia still follows up with him every quarter. “He gave me tasks to do and things to research to help me create a business model that will bring revenue.”

Scaling & What’s Next

In a short period of time, Lady Sports News has moved into a position to scale, grow, and drive profits. “I definitely have to thank the Startup Ladies. I don’t think I would have grown without the Startup Study Halls” Ieshia shared--and we love that we have helped her success!

Currently, Ieshia is in the process of recruiting high school writers to help her with content. “The goal is to start in Indianapolis and get student writers at all high schools,” she explained. “If I can get a strong foundation of student writers and sponsorships, I can duplicate what I have started here in Indianapolis and then nationwide.”

In August, be on the lookout for Lady Sports News rolling out a cool new website format that will have different tabs for different schools in the Indianapolis area. Now, you can easily follow news from your favorite high schools—or target advertisements for specific locations.

Ieshia ultimate goal is to cover the full range of women’s athletics nationwide—from high school to professional teams. With a playbook she’s already created at Lady Sports News, Ieshia is only playing to win!

Get To Know Ieshia

  • Started her business: July 2015

  • Hobbies: Playing basketball (still plays full-court), coaching and private basketball lessons, volunteering at Caring Place to mentor at-risk teens

  • Favorite restaurant: Mama’s Korean BBQ

  • Proudest moment: Interviewing Indiana Fever Star Tamika Catchings (ask her how she got the scoop at the next Startup Study Hall)

  • Looking for: High school student writers, sponsorships

Advice For Entrepreneurs:

“Keep learning and take advantage of resources in Indianapolis—like the Startup Ladies and the Small Business Administration.”

On Mentors:

“Make sure you find a mentor who will be honest with you. You have to be willing to listen. Hearing tough things, you need to try your best to listen and know they have your best interest.”

Why Indy?

“Indianapolis is a great place for anyone to start a business. The cost of living is great! Indianapolis is also the Sports Capital—it’s perfect! It’s a great for me to expand in Indianapolis with the sports theme.”


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