DC Startup Week 2020 DC Startup Week 2020
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Starting a Business During Covid-19*

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Elly Rowe
Elly Jane Collective, Founder

Founder, Elly Rowe, launched Elly Jane Collective in 2020, as a result of the insatiable quest for something she felt was sorely lacking, a community crafted around the extraordinary skills & talents of women. From the very beginning, Elly Jane Collective focused solely on the goal of supporting and empowering women creatives through a community that fostered conscious consumption and a quality-over-quantity philosophy. Beginning her career in marketing, Elly has over 5 years of business experience working with corporate organizations across Maryland and Washington, D.C. She graduated from Salisbury University with a B.A. in Communications. Elly has always been extremely passionate about women’s rights, the arts and creating a community of inclusiveness.

Roxy Jahangeri
IRL Agency, Co-founder

Roxy is a DC based entrepreneur, experience architect, and event connoisseur. She has always been driven by a simple, but powerful belief that DC has so much untapped potential. As co-founder of IRL Agency, Roxy’s mission is to help businesses create extraordinary online and offline experiences that bring their vibe to life, and subsequently, the city’s vibe to life.

Ryan Maliszewsk
Mozzeria, Inc., CEO

Ryan Maliszewski joined Mozzeria, Inc. as its first Chief Executive Officer April of this year and just opened Mozzeria’s second location in Washington, DC within the H Street Corridor in the middle of a global pandemic over Labor Day weekend. Previously, Ryan was the Director of the Gallaudet Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute as well as an Executive Strategy and Technology Advisor for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Upon graduating from the University of Arizona, Ryan began his career in DC working on Capitol Hill for a United States Senator as well as for the Chief Administrative Officer of the House for several years prior to joining Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consulting firm largely responsible for managing billion dollar budgets and contracting services for U.S. Government clients.

On the side, Ryan has long been a serial entrepreneur since 2002 and has been involved with the local community where he has provided strategic planning support to a number of non-profits and currently sits on DC Mayor Bowser’s Innovation & Technology Inclusion Council (ITIC) as well as the Economic Development & Entrepreneurship Committee.

Michelai Graham
Technically Media, Technical.ly DC Market Editor

Michelai Graham has been serving as the Technical.ly DC Market Editor for the past two years and she's also a freelance technology reporter. She has a master's degree in investigative reporting from American University, where she began reporting on cyber and tech news. Originally from Sacramento, Graham covered arts and culture in Lansing, Michigan, while studying at Michigan State University where she earned a degree in journalism and in film.


Starting a business during a pandemic is no easy task. Hear from founders who started and launched their business during Covid-19. They will share how they launched, struggles they faced and recommendations on how to get from idea to launch when all odds are stacked against you. 

*ASL interpreting is being provided by Jeenie mobile video interpreting