2017 is a promising time for young, female entrepreneurs. Women overcome obstacles and defy accepted odds every single day. It’s vital for us to inspire younger generations of women to succeed in their endeavors. Some recent statistics show us that women are growing increasingly more active in generating new organizations and new business models. Today, women are creating more companies than they ever have before.
Recent Progress for Women in Business
There are more than 9 million female-owned businesses in the U.S. today. Entrepreneur also reports that during the past 15 years, businesses owned by women have grown at a rate 1.5 times more than other small businesses. Entrepreneur estimates that these women-owned organizations will provide more than 5 million jobs by 2018.
Unfortunately for women in past generations, the path to business ownership was never easy. The passing of the 1974 Equal Credit Act was the first major milestone toward women owning their own businesses. This act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or marital status in the granting of credit and made it possible for women to secure loans to start their own companies.
In the 43 years since that law was passed, women have continued to grow their influence in various industries. USC’s Marshall School of Business reported that one in five businesses with annual revenue of more than $1 million are owned by a woman. Entrepreneur says that businesses with at least one female member of the executive team are more likely to receive higher estimates in their first round of fundraising.
Outstanding Women in Business
The same study from USC Marshall also reported that women lead only 30 percent of companies around the world. One of the best ways to encourage other women to start businesses is to highlight those who have already been successful. While dated ways of thinking about women have largely vanished in Western countries, it’s important to highlight the successes of women following their business dreams to show others the profound effects of following one’s dreams.
Women innovate and change the business world in countless ways every day. Thanks to recent changes in long-held beliefs about women’s capabilities, new ventures spearheaded by strong women are popping up every day. Starting a new company isn’t exactly easy, especially considering how hyper-competitive modern business can be. Here are 20 of some of the most inspiring female leaders in business right now. Since we’re equally impressed by all of these women, they are listed in no particular order:
Image: Startland News
Amanda’s company, Techweek, is one of the hottest new startups of 2017. The company is building tech-based entrepreneurial communities all over the country to encourage new startup growth and bring small businesses together.
Logan is a cofounder of KUDZOO. This educational app is helping to engage the new wave of digitally savvy students. The app rewards students for doing well in school with scholarships or other prizes.
Lu is a graduate of Stanford University and a founding partner of NewGen Capital. NewGen Capital is a venture capitalist firm that has raised $92 million in funds and has made 38 investments.
This Harvard Business graduate is literally changing the way we live. Julia’s company, EverlyWell, works to simplify health testing and translate medical jargon into terms anyone can understand.
Small business owners will want to keep an eye on Danielle’s company, Mattermark, this year. The company is changing the way businesses find and connect with their ideal customers and could offer fledgling companies new channels for connecting with customers.
Ishveen is the mastermind behind OpenSponsorship. This platform streamlines the process of connecting athletes to companies looking to sponsor them.
Natasia’s newest company, Wyzerr, creates a way to gather feedback from the public in more engaging ways. Customers are some of the best resources companies have when it comes to determining where they need to improve. However, it can be tricky to convince people to participate in boring surveys. Wyzerr offers a more intuitive and interesting method of gathering consumer feedback.
Fashion bloggers should easily recognize Amber’s name. She is the president and co-founder of rewardStyle and LiketoKNOW.it, an online platform that allows user to easily shop for anything they see on social media.
Image: Atima Lui
Atima launched her company MyNudest after noticing that “nude” clothing didn’t encompass many skin tones. Her fashion brand aims to be more inclusive of women of every skin color.
Rosetta launched her website, Happy Black Woman, with the goal of helping women change their lives by becoming entrepreneurs.
Maureen is one of the leaders in the virtual reality industry. Her company, Baobab Studios, will be one to watch in 2017.
Starting a business can be tricky, but Marisa is here to help. Her company, Live Your Message, helps entrepreneurs create a brand that is truly representative of them and the goals that they have in life.
Image: NBC News
Rhonesha is the founder and CEO of Her Agenda, a digital media company aiming to help young millennial women accomplish their professional goals. She is also quite the accomplished journalist and won an Emmy award for her work on a breaking news team with NBC New York.
Blair founded her nonprofit, GirlForward, five years ago after tutoring a young refugee girl left her feeling inspired. The organization has since provided mentorship and education to 200 refugee girls who live in the United States.
You’ve probably seen Emma’s name on the bestsellers table at Barnes & Noble. The Girls, her first novel, spent 12 weeks at the top of The New York Times’ bestsellers list.
Erika is the cofounder of The Flex Company. Her company makes disposable menstrual discs that help alleviate period pain. Besides her entrepreneurial ventures, Erika is also a body positivity advocate.
Lisy is a double threat. She is a producer at indie studio, League of Geeks, and also the cofounder of Girl Geek Academy. This academy encourages young women to immerse themselves in technology and start their own businesses.
Lexie is a major role model for young girls who want to work in the technology sector. Lexie is a senior lead in the IBM Digital Innovation Lab. She is most famous for her work on IBM’s Watson, the company’s advanced artificial intelligence platform.
As a sexual assault survivor, Amanda founded her nonprofit Rise to help others like herself and shine a light on the broken rape-survivor justice system.
Whitney Wolfe changed the world of online dating forever when she launched Bumble. The app puts women in charge, and lets them initiate contact with their matches. Whitney was also a cofounder of Tinder back in 2012, but famously left the company and sued over sexual harassment claims.
Of course, there are plenty more extraordinary women in the world; we just didn’t have time to name them all. Women continue to grow their presence in various industries, and these young entrepreneurs could be role models to many young women with dreams of their own. Keep watching the women we’ve listed here in 2017 and see how their companies grow.