Nebraska Startup Offers Advice, Mentoring to Girls in Sports

March 17, 2022, 7 p.m. ·

Teresa and her daughter Santana sit near a lake.
Teresa Friesen wants exposure for women's stories and advice, so her daughter Santana (4) can have more women to look up to. (Photo courtesy Teresa Friesen)

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A Lincoln startup hopes to empower girls in sports by connecting them with college women athletes.

With a few taps on their phone, any high school girl can ask female college athletes advice about sports, mental health, or civic engagement.

“What are their interests and career goals after college or after their sport? What is their approach to balancing school and sport?" Teresa Friesen asked.

She hosts Instagram Q&A sessions with women’s college athletes through her new business called SheMate. Student athletes make money under a new NCAA rule, by sharing their positive messages on SheMate platforms.

Currently in a research phase, Friesen hopes to create an automated app that pairs college and high school athletes for more personal mentoring.

Under the NCAA’s rule called “Name, Image and Likeness,” (NIL) college athletes can earn money in partnership offers and Friesen aims to close the gap in opportunities for women.

“One thing we found, even though it’s new as of July 1, women are not getting many offers compared to male athletes,” Friesen said. “And so, one, we wanted to create change in that space. Two, it appeared as though women were especially looking for meaningful monetization opportunities.”

SheMate Q&A’s allow student athletes to earn NIL money, which SheMate runs through Lincoln-based company “Opendorse”. Friesen says the sports marketing firm ensures all NCAA guidelines are met.

Friesen hopes SheMate exposes future generations of women, like her four-year old daughter Santana, to more women role models in their lives.

“I never grew up watching women in sports,” Friesen said. “And what a miss, you know, where we have such limited views of what women should be, as depicted through our children’s movies and social media, we’re missing out on all these different ways that women can just be.”

The virtual company currently has contracted employees working on research and testing ideas. Friesen plans to launch a more mobile-friendly website on April 15th.

Four women who a part of the SheMate team.
SheMate and Friesen hired on two business development employees and two athletes to research interest. (Photo courtesy SheMate)