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UC Irvine alum creates line of tech-savvy dolls to empower girls


UC Irvine alumna Gina Heitkamp, CEO and co-founder of Middle School Moguls, strives to create examples for young women interested in technology and entrepreneurship. Photo credit: UC Irvine


Glittery pop stars. Pink princesses. Wholesome, high-priced American Girls, and frivolously rude Bratz.

When it comes to the doll market, UC Irvine entrepreneur Gina Heitkamp and her sister Jenae Heitkamp are betting that young girls are hungry for something a little more clever and a little more real.

This week, the pair launched Middle School Moguls, a line of diverse, crafty, tech-savvy dolls that come with integrated online games that tell the story of a group of middle school friends whose internet startup becomes an overnight success.

The dolls hit the shelves of Target this week before rolling out with other major retailers in the coming year. The sisters’ goal: beat down tired stereotypes and encourage entrepreneurship among girls aged 6 -10.

It took two years of incubating, bootstrapping and fundraising within the nurturing environment of UC Irvine startup hot spot The Cove to develop Middle School Moguls and get it on store shelves.

Read full article and watch videos about the line of dolls.


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