Untapped Potential

Bridging the gap years: Bringing primary caregivers back to the workforce



In 2015, Candace Freedenberg was sitting in a room full of women with graduate degrees and professional experience, yet un-engaged in the workplace. This brain-drain prompted Candace to harvest this resource, giving birth to “Untapped Potential” (UP). Many women have to take a gap year or two or even give up on their careers in lieu of motherhood. This online portal targeted towards educated caregivers and women opt-outers, lets such women bridge these gap years and transition into a career of their choice, using a network of peers, mentors, and coaches. In addition to assisting in seeking part-time opportunities, the service also lets women seek mid-career internships and enhance skillsets using online/offline tools for e-learning.

The business is primarily based out of Hartford, but offers nationwide online and remote support. Many women either voluntarily abandon their careers or are forced to do so in view of their family lives. Untapped Potential builds on this and lets such women harvest these dormant talents and re-orient their career trajectory. The business is further bolstered by an increasing solidarity among women- with women all over, encouraging other women to aim for the stars!

Candace received a bunch of topical advice from entrepreneurial mentors and patrons prior to coming to the Connecticut Small Business Development Center. When she approached CTSBDC’s Denise Whitford, she was looking for some holistic advice that ties together all these niche pieces of information she had received from miscellaneous sources.

She ‘got UP’ right away. I felt her advice was as if it were her ‘own baby,’” says Candace about Denise Whitford.

UP is launching its 4th cohort with a vision of expanding both the number of candidates per city and company, and branching out to newer cities. Candace was also selected for the Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Award for the Women of Innovation, a program that creates and celebrates a growing network of women in STEM.

Her over-arching business model stimulates the purpose of women helping other women- unlocking a treasure chest of potential in our workforce today and for future generations of intelligent women.” said Denise Whitford, CTSBDC business advisor.

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