Mary Jo Gorman, MD, MBA
Lead Managing Partner
Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Startup Accelerator, a division of Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE)
Empowering Women Entrepreneurs
Dr. Mary Jo Gorman is decidedly in the habit of starting sequential successful companies. In 2012, after learning about the Kauffman Foundation and American Express OPEN reports on entrepreneurial women and their positive impact on the economy, Dr. Gorman and her colleagues were shocked to find St. Louis listed last of 25 cities for women-led businesses. So they dedicated themselves to empowering women to reach their full economic potential—and started the PWE Startup Accelerator, the for-profit division of PWE, focused on increasing women entrepreneurs’ access to growth capital and the number of women investing in early-stage capital markets.
Dr. Gorman is committed—and passionate—about tackling the entrepreneur gender gap. “Our program is unique because we focus solely on women-led businesses with big-market ideas and, as far as we know, there is no other accelerator that provides follow-on funding for selected companies,” she says. “Multiple companies from our first rounds of participants have received follow-on funding.”
Early in her own career, Dr. Gorman also had big-market ideas. Growing up, she was taught to help others first—and that lifelong learning was important. A career in medicine seemed made to order. Later, as an intensive care physician, she identified a need for more structured critical care for ICU patients. That led to the founding of Critical Care Services in 1991, and in 1996, the Inpatient Care Group, a medical group that specializes in caring for hospitalized patients—the first local hospitalist company and one of the first in the country.
Continuing her focus on improving quality in the ICU—and reducing expenses, Dr. Gorman saw telemedicine as a strategic way to bring best practices and the highest level of expertise to patients everywhere, then founded and became the CEO of Advanced ICU Care—now the largest tele-ICU provider in the country.
Dr. Gorman knows that in today’s reality, getting ideas off the ground isn’t easy and women often aren’t sure where to start. At the PWE Startup Accelerator, mentors work hard to ensure companies become and remain successful by continuing to receive the support they need to grow. But for women, manifesting a big idea just got a little easier.