6 Girls Who Blazed the Path for Feminine Entrepreneurs

March is a full month of feminine celebration, as america acknowledges the numerous position ladies have performed in American historical past. Over the previous few centuries, ladies have been (and proceed to be) an important pressure in our nation, whether or not it’s in politics, expertise, the arts, and naturally, enterprise.

The variety of women-owned companies has elevated dramatically over the previous few a long time. In truth, since 1972, the variety of companies began by ladies has elevated by almost 3,000%, and immediately, ladies personal 40% of U.S. companies.

To have fun Girls’s Historical past Month and Worldwide Girls’s Day immediately, let’s pay homage to the hardworking women who determined to observe their ardour and construct a few of immediately’s most well-known corporations and up-and-coming manufacturers.


Madam C.J. Walker

The early 1900s was an essential time for ladies, however it was additionally considered one of nice wrestle, significantly for minorities. That, nevertheless, didn’t cease Sarah Breedlove. Later often called Madam C.J. Walker, she managed to grow to be a famous civil rights activist, philanthropist, and one of many first African American entrepreneurs in america. She additionally maintains the title of first feminine self-made millionaire in America.

Although Walker married early, by 1903 she discovered herself a struggling widowed mom of a younger daughter. Although she briefly earned an revenue by working as a laundress, by 1905, she discovered a brand new calling: hair care. Grappling with a standard scalp ailment that resulted within the lack of hair, Walker developed a hair product that went on to “revolutionize” African American hair care.

Initially, Walker offered her hair care merchandise on to ladies, however as her success grew, she established Madam C.J. Walker as a proper enterprise entity. Throughout her time because the founder and CEO, she skilled over 40,000 ladies, giving them jobs as consultants who may educate shoppers and promote her haircare merchandise.

Maybe a part of her success may be attributed to her perception that we should “perceive that (our) first obligation is to humanity,” a notion that was clearly a driving consider her philanthropic exercise, which included beneficiant contributions to the NAACP, the Tuskegee Institute, and quite a few different charitable organizations.

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Elizabeth Arden

In 1910, Elizabeth Arden, born Florence Nightingale Graham, opened a New York salon together with her then-business associate Elizabeth Hubbard. Nonetheless, it wasn’t the salon that solidified Arden’s place within the magnificence enterprise.

A number of years after opening her enterprise, her partnership with Hubbard ended, however Arden continued to pursue her ardour of creating ladies really feel stunning with fastidiously crafted magnificence merchandise. Beginning with face lotions and lotions, Arden labored alongside a crew of chemists to develop the merchandise that might finally make her a family title.

Along with creating magnificence merchandise, Arden continued to run profitable salons that supplied all the pieces from massages and manicures to train applications and steam baths.

If requested how immediately’s ladies can achieve enterprise, she’d probably inform us that “Repetition makes popularity and popularity makes prospects,” clearly a nod to the position consistency and high quality play in entrepreneurial success.

Ruth Fertel of Ruth’s Chris Steak Home

In 1965, Ruth Fertel was a divorced mom of two boys and was in search of a technique to earn more money than her lab tech job supplied. On the identical time, the Chris Steak Home was up on the market, a transfer that got here after a collection of failures. After mortgaging her dwelling, Ruth took over the steak home, and when the unique location burned down, she re-opened below what has grow to be a reputation synonymous with upscale restaurant chains – Ruth’s Chris Steak Home.

After serving up success for a number of years, Ruth finally agreed to franchise her restaurant, and the remaining is historical past. At this time, there are over 150 Ruth’s Chris places serving hungry prospects the signature filets in addition to quite a few different connoisseur plates.

Her secret for fulfillment? Unwavering hospitality: “We went out of our way to please customers. We spoiled them.” And that’s precisely what she did.


littleBits by Ayah Bdeir

Ayah Bdeir, who’s an MIT grad and TED senior fellow, acknowledged the necessity for a product, or “toy” that made engineering and expertise principals not solely accessible however interesting to youth. In 2011, she did simply that by beginning littleBits. littleBits is comprised of digital constructing blocks that permit kids to pair creativeness and enjoyable with STEM fundamentals in an effort to make distinctive creations.

At this time, the tutorial worth behind Bdeir’s merchandise is made clear by the 20,000 college partnerships through which littleBits at present engages. The rising NYC-based firm, which has over 65M in funding, additionally companions with main manufacturers like Disney and Pearson. Bdeir’s success has additionally made littleBit’s a part of the New York Metropolis Division of Training’s Metropolis STEM program.

In line with this tech-savvy businesswomen, “Solving real problems takes time. With the intention to achieve success, you’ll want to dedicate time to your ardour.”

Clearly, that recommendation has labored out for her and the 1000’s of youngsters who profit from littleBits.


In case you’ve been on the web at any level within the final decade and a half, then you definately’re probably not less than remotely acquainted with Lifehacker. The weblog, which was began by Gina Trapani, helped many people navigate our means by way of life’s issues, particularly technology-based ones, with what has grow to be often called “life hacks.”

In line with Trapani, she had “two main obsessions” in her profession: private publishing and archiving, and expertise’s position in private productiveness. With that in thoughts, it’s straightforward to see how she grew to become the driving pressure behind Lifehacker’s success.

Whereas Trapani is now not with the publication, her persevering with position as a feminine enterprise chief and position mannequin nonetheless landed Lifehacker, and subsequently Trapani, on the checklist.

At this time, she is a managing associate at Postlight, an organization that builds apps, internet platforms and software program merchandise. She was additionally named as considered one of Enterprise Insider’s “Most Highly effective LGBTQ Individuals in Tech.”

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At this time, entry to well being knowledge is usually a little bit of a taboo subject, however like it or hate it, it’s important to admit that it’s an astonishing development in shopper well being expertise. And, for Anne Wojcicki, founding father of 23andMe, it means giving people entry to data that may assist them handle and management their well being. And for Wojcicki, altering well being care on this method is her biggest ambition in life.

Wojcicki has overcome many setbacks in her efforts to develop 23andMe, together with an order by the FDA to cease promoting the product till she may show that the outcomes have been correct. She went on to do exactly that and immediately the corporate is the primary one accredited to offer delicate medical data, together with an individual’s risk for sure cancers.

Whereas 23andMe and Wojcicki’s mission is clearly one that may change the best way we strategy our medical selections, there’s extra that aspiring entrepreneurs can take from, significantly in the case of operating an organization. It’s essential to be taught out of your errors, put money into your workers, and attempt to be a pacesetter who’s accessible and all the way down to earth, sentiments which have confirmed worth in not solely 23andMe however profitable corporations the world over.

Whereas these ladies clearly have and can proceed to pave the best way for feminine entrepreneurs, it’s additionally essential to acknowledge the 1000’s of feminine entrepreneurs who put their coronary heart, thoughts and cash on the road every day. This month, make it a degree to search out and help the feminine enterprise homeowners in your group.

Article initially printed in March 2019 on Nav.com by Jennifer Lobb