When talking about success in entrepreneurship, our brains are, sadly, programmed to envision a serious man, in crisp suit and tie, driving a luxury car and sitting in a fancy office.
But entrepreneurial success has no gender; it can be achieved from the kitchen, and it can arrive in a Kia Optima. A successful entrepreneur can be just as female as male, and can wear high heels or sneakers – whatever she wants.
With that in mind, at Enterprise League, we’re moving the spotlight on female entrepreneurs. Especially women who weren’t afraid to take the less walked road or trust in their genius ideas, regardless of what others said.
After all, our company was co-founded by an amazing woman, and we feel it’s our responsibility to empower female entrepreneurs.
This article comes as an introduction to a series of interviews with fempreneurs where we will discuss their journey in entrepreneurship with all its peaks and lows.
Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the avant-garde of female entrepreneurs!
1. Leslie Polizzotto, Co-Founder of The Doughnut Project
Leslie is a former attorney who is the co-founder of The Doughnut Project, a hand-crafted doughnut shop in the West Village of Manhattan. She oversees daily operations and also handles the business side of TDP. She is in charge of marketing, sales, strategy, human resources, and social media. She also handles brand growth, collaborations and licensing opportunities.
Since the pandemic, the business model changed making the shop more profitable than ever. Leslie’s team consists of 3 female employees and together they are making the most creative and delicious doughnuts in the city.
2. Alicia Hough
Alicia, a full-time corporate wellness expert runs a small but highly profitable online pastry business on the side.
It started as a small hobby during the pandemic, and it’s basically how she bonded with her kids during the quarantine. “I have always been fond of the kitchen, but I know that starting a business of your own comes with a lot of risks, and as a parent who supports her child too, I cannot afford to risk that much and leave my day job”, says Alicia.
That’s why she was so happy and grateful that her boss even allowed her to bring the business to their office and sell my baked goods to her workmates as well. Moreover, he even hired her
as the official in-house pastry supplier of our company, since they usually order pastries as giveaways for parties, and tokens to clients.
3. Christina Kaye, Founder of Write Your Best Book
She launched her business in January of 2020, and although fairly new and still growing, she’s booked full of clients through the end of the year. Also, in that short period of time, she’s already been featured on many of the biggest websites for authors, launched a now top-ten rated podcast for authors, and exceeded six figures for 2020.
So if you need help to write a book, Christina is your best choice when it comes to author coaching and book editing.
4. Riley Rees, Founder of Sofia Health
Riley is an Air Force officer, pilot and combat veteran. She is also an entrepreneur at heart, and this is her second startup. Riley was researching the needs of people with chronic conditions for a business idea when she discovered they spent hours each week searching for alternative therapies and providers. But the market was fragmented – there were lots of holistic health providers out there, but they often weren’t searchable the way people who needed their help were looking.
Riley founded Sofia Health to close that gap. Sofia Health provides a business platform for holistic health providers to schedule appointments, accept payment and market themselves. At the same time, it’s a centralized hub where potential clients can search for exactly what they need and explore their holistic health options.
5. Romy Taormina, Founder of Psi Bands
Romy is the CEO of Psi Bands, a clinically-proven, patented, FDA-cleared medical device for the relief of nausea due to chemotherapy, morning/pregnancy sickness, motion/travel sickness, and anaesthesia. Psi Bands are sold at retailers such as Target, REI, Pharmaca, HEB, Sprouts, Amazon, etc.; hospitals; and internationally.
She suffered from debilitating nausea during her pregnancies and was sick for more than a year of her life. Finding relief from acupressure but dissatisfied with existing products on the market, she created Psi Bands.
They’ve been in business for 14 years and they’ve sold more than 1M sets. This success has been recognised by virtually every major US media, including Shark Tank, Orpha’s O Magazine,Entrepreneur, Inc., etc.
6. Tori Donnelly, Co-Founder of WorkClub
Tori Donnelly is a native Minnesotan with a passion for coffee, brunch and sculpts yoga. She is co-founder of WorkClub which connects the UK’s vibrant remote workforce with venues to work from across the UK and hosts a support community to celebrate success and share challenges with. She is mom to Scarlett, born just a few months before lockdown and today business calls and meetings often come with a baby attached to her hip and a bottle of milk in her pocket.
7. Dahlia Rizk, Founder of Buckle Me Baby Coats
Dahlia is a single mom raising her family and crushing my goals in New Hampshire.
She learned that the NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend taking traditional coats off of children in car seats due to the danger of the puffiness of the coats created in a crash. She wanted her kids to be safe, but taking their coats off was such a hassle.
So she invented coats that can go on at home and stay on safely in the car seat.
In less than 4 years Buckle Me Baby Coats have helped tens of thousands of parents with easy winter car seat safety. They have been featured on Good Morning America and Parents.com. Moreover, she has also won a FedEx Small Business Grant and a $20,000 Nationwide Insurance Pitch to Win Contest.
8. Valerie Smith, Founder of Klei
Valerie is the founder of Klei, a sustainable self-care brand carried in Crate & Barrel, Nordstrom, and boutiques across the US.
She started Klei while working full-time in the fashion industry in 2017, and after working diligently to grow her company through wholesale, she was able to quit her job in 2018 and work for herself full-time. Although old-school manufacturers would often talk her down, she refused to give up on her vision and mission, and built a well-known brand.
Perseverance and gut-instinct helped her grow her business to a point where she can give 10% of their profits to Brooklyn nonprofits
9. Ekin Ozlen, Owner of Keracell
A woman of many talents, Ekin is a self-made entrepreneur, businesswoman and singer. She started making the hair and scalp revitalizing products in an attempt to cure her step mother’s ailments but discovered a formula so effective that she built it from the ground up and turned it into a full-fledged brand. Today, the brand has many A-list Hollywood celebrity clients.
10. Jen Myers, Founder of Homeschool CEO
In 2004, she and her husband faced a crossroad: the school system no longer worked for their three kids (ages 8, 6, and 5). A public-school teacher suggested homeschooling as an option, but there was a problem. They were building a business and she didn’t feel like she had “enough time” to homeschool while running her business.
Fast forward, a surprise pregnancy led them to trying homeschooling for one year. She is now entering her 17th year of homeschooling. During that time, she has built 3 six-figure businesses – all while homeschooling 4 children.
She has found combining entrepreneurship and homeschooling provided the perfect blend of freedom and flexibility for her entire family. She now provides whole life business coaching for entrepreneurs who homeschool, helping them streamline their business and homeschooling so they create the life of their dreams.
11. Shermin Lakha, CEO at LVLUP Legal
Shermin Lakha is the Managing Attorney and CEO of LVLUP Legal, a law firm dedicated to empowering underrepresented startups, businesses, and entrepreneurs to “level up” and make smart legal decisions. She started with the goal to modernize the legal field by changing the traditional perception of “lawyer”.
Shermin decided to take a risk and start her own practice so she could work with like-minded individuals who were striving to make their dreams come true. Since launching LVLUP Legal, the firm has had over 85 clients ranging from health tech, creative businesses, and marketing companies. Moreover, she has had the opportunity to judge in pitch competitions hosted by LLSHE, Berlin Cameron, and Refinery29. On top of that, she has been featured on several podcasts, and was most recently invited to attend Forbes 30 under 30.
12. Michael AnnMarie Sherlock, Founder of Shock Your Potential
Michael AnnMarie Sherlock, a woman, despite her name, is known as the founder of Shock Your Potential, global leadership and professional development training company.
Prior to Covid, 95% of her business income came from her getting on an airplane to travel someplace to train in person. When her 2020 and 2021 business canceled/paused, she first held herself a pity-party, and then went to work on several things, including:
- They relaunched their podcast
- She began doing media interviews related to job interviews, etc.
- They developed an on-demand training app
They launched the app in a Beta test to almost 1000 users with zero advertising. They will officially launch on January 4 with amazing new content, and great company sponsors/partners.
13. Jenelle Manzi, Founder of Get Golden
Get Golden is a new energy snack bar that is gluten-free, kosher, vegan and dairy-free and crafted by Jenelle Manzi, a veteran New York City Ballet (NYCB) dancer, who spent many years of her career on the sidelines battling injuries and food allergies. On the road, she was tired of “healthy snacks” that promised energy, but came with intense sugar crashes or had a taste that was more akin to birdseed than actual food.
So, she started creating delicious recipes that gave her the energy she craved, while cultivating a strong, positive community that gave her the boost she was looking for. With a snack that opened people up for conversation, she realized that people craved more than just good food—they wanted something more than a one-size-fits-all way to feel good again. Influenced by mentors she had met once at an event for female food-entrepreneurs, Manzi evolved her plans from making the bars herself with an at-home kitchen license in Manhattan and selling them at farmers’ markets. Manzi used her own savings to then start testing commercial kitchen spaces in New York City to create Get Golden’s energy snack bars.
14. Priska Diaz, MS, Founder of Bittylab
As an immigrant woman, Priska wanted more than what life had for her. She worked two, sometimes three jobs to make a living while learning English, going to college, and, eventually, graduating with a Master’s degree. As difficult as this was, nothing compared to the hardship she endured when my first son developed GER symptoms after supplementing breastfeeding.
Months of research showed that air in the baby bottles caused the problem, so she designed a solution that eliminated air and air-ingestion. Infant GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) affects 80% of premature and 66% of full-term babies, incurring a $41 BN annual expense in the US alone. Her first baby was part of this alarming national statistic, so she made it her mission to help babies with this condition.
After six years of R&D, they launched in 185 Babies R Us stores, and now they sell our product online in BuyBuy Baby, Walmart, and e-commerce. They are currently raising $1.5M in seed funds to obtain FDA clearance for Class II Medical Device, with the indication to treat and prevent infant GERD.
15. Shelby Kretz, Founder of Little Justice Leaders
Shelby Kretz is an educational researcher and Ph.D. Candidate at UCLA and creator of Little Justice Leaders subscription box. Little Justice Leaders is a subscription box for parents and educators of elementary school students. Each month, they receive a box that covers a different topic of justice (like anti-racism, gender identity, and immigration). In just two years, they’ve grown it to a 6-figure company serving over 500 monthly subscribers with no outside funding.
Her mission is to create a generation of young leaders who fight for change in our world.
16. Alina Morse, Founder of Zolli Candy
Sophomore High School student Alina Morse invented candy that cleans your teeth after a trip to the bank with her dad when she was 7 and considers her business her after school extracurricular activity.
She secured the #1 spot as the Fastest Growing Candy Company in America for 2020 with a growth rate of 865%, according to INC Magazine’s 2020 INC 5000 List.
She delivered a TED Talk, “Why I eat candy to avoid Cavities,” and was the youngest ever keynote speaker at Advertising Week (2019) alongside Serena Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, & Bethenny Frankel, and closed out 2019 by InStyle Magazine naming her one of 50 Badass Women Changing the World alongside First Lady Michelle Obama, who invited her to the White House twice as the exclusive candy for the annual Easter Egg Roll. She is the youngest person to ever appear on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine (2018), and is the youngest vendor to the #1’s: Walmart (#1 Retail), Kroger (#1 Grocer), CVS (#1 Drug), & Amazon (#1 Ecommerce).
17. Iva Texieria, Co-Founder of The Good Face Project
Iva was just 18 years old when she decided to move from Bulgaria to the US. Her parents always instilled in her that education and excellence can take you anywhere so she took their advice, borrowed $3,000 to enrol in the cheapest community college in the US, so she could start living the American dream.
Persistence and desire to learn and work eventually led her to The University of Michigan where she got her master’s in industrial engineering, and eventually got her into Harvard Business School. There, she fell in love with the business of business.
After working for top startups and consulting firms she realized with so many different interests, she could create a business of her own. With the help of her co-founder Lena Skliarova, the only rocket scientist working in the cosmetic industry, they developed the Good Face Project. The Good Face Project allowed her to use her skills in engineering and business to create a powerful AI algorithm that can tell you exactly what is in your skincare products and recommend completely clean alternatives for your specific skin type.
18. Katharine Earnhardt, Founder of Mason Lane
Katharine founded Mason Lane, a modern art advisory firm, in 2014 after the birth of her first daughter. She was interested in finding a way to continue working while spending more time with her daughter. After years and years working in the art industry, she still didn’t know where to turn when it came to outfitting her own home with art.
Today, Mason Lane helps clients find and buy storied art that they wouldn’t have otherwise come across. Katharine and her team work to make art more approachable, less opaque.
19. Dawn LaFontaine, Founder of Cat in the Box
Dawn is a middle-aged, former stay-at-home mom who had not held a traditional job in over 23 years when her second child left for college.
When she started this business 3 years ago, she had no entrepreneurial experience. She had no financial backing and she was using her husband’s severance payout from a long-time job he’d just lost to finance her start-up. Prior to her decision to step back from her career to raise her family, she’d been the big breadwinner in their family. In the intervening years she’d watched her husband grow in his own career and she realized that she didn’t have enough working years left in her life to achieve what he had in the two decades that he’d been away. She decided that she needed to take control over her own working future.
Her company, Cat in the Box, makes whimsical cardboard box playhouses for cats who think inside the box. Her products are made in the USA, cat-safe (imprinted with human-grade soy inks) and eco-friendly. They’re all her own designs, and cats love ‘em!
20. Amy O’Meara Chambers, Co-Founder of Health Bridge
Amy Chambers is the COO and co-founder of Insurtech startup HealthBridge, a first-of-its-kind
employee financial security solution that provides a financial resource to help bridge the gap between the high cost of healthcare and an employee’s financial wellbeing. Interestingly, Amy has an extensive business background but not in tech!
Amy has over 25 years of experience working in the healthcare industry as an employee benefits attorney, healthcare executive and entrepreneur. Amy is the author of “HSAs for Dummies” and holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A. from The University of Chicago.
Under Amy’s leadership, HealthBridge raised a series A round of $2.5 million in venture capital in 2017, led by Wakestream Ventures LLC, and raised a B round of $8.2 million last April, led by ManchesterStory Group LLC, a VC firm in Des Moines, Iowa. It was joined by Magnetar Capital LLC, a $13 billion hedge fund based in Evanston, Il.
21. Holly Hudson, Founder of CatCaveCo
Holly was a former PR/Marketing person who loves the planet earth. So after 15 years of cat ownership, she realized there was a complete lack of different and eco-friendly products on the market, so they decided they needed to fill this void—and Cat Cave Co was born.
2 years later, with 10,000+ customers worldwide our cat caves have been popular around the world—even with a celebrity or two – Kristen Bell has one for her doggo, Barbara Biscuit.
The Cat Cave is shaped like a cave to give cats a sense of safety and protection. It’s a kitty cave made of 100% natural and organic materials including ethically-soured, cruelty-free wool with vegan organic dyes, supported by the Organic Pet Products movement. Holly and James also focus the brand around giving back by paying their workers 200% the average wage to help transform their local communities. They also give back to local shelters and rescues.
22. Valentina Voight, Founder of Voight by Valentina
Valentina is a young female entrepreneur based in Miami who started a brand one year ago and has grown the business from her garage to do over 1 million dollars in the first year alone. Her brand has been exploding with her biggest drop ever coming this month! Voight focuses on female empowerment, sexual liberation, and creating a community that uplifts and celebrates all body types.
The brand has a distinct footprint marked by its elaborate campaigns, artistic packaging, and high-quality products. I’ve attached some of the images that have built the brand to what it is now.
23. Lori Cheek, Founder of Cheekd
Lori Cheek is an architect turned entrepreneur. She created Cheekd, a hyper speed Bluetooth mobile dating app that removes the “missed” from “missed connections. After working in architecture, furniture and design for 16 years, she came up with an idea that led her into the NYC world of technology and dating. She completely threw away her design career and she’s no longer building structures, she’s now building relationships. She’s been coined the Digital Dating Disruptor,” listed as one of 12 Inspirational Women in Tech to Follow and as one of AlleyWatch’s 20 most awesome people to know in the NYC tech scene.
Want to read her letter to Santa?
24. Sarah-Eva Marchese, Founder of Floracracy
Sarah-Eva founded an all-new national flower delivery startup. The company offers free overnight delivery and allows consumers to design their own premium floral arrangements using their unique patent-pending technology. The company believes creating and sending thoughtful, beautiful, and fresh flowers should be a frustration-free and delightful experience that empowers individual expression and fosters a personal connection.
She raised $1.02M in funding from John Higginson, the former CTO at national flower delivery company FTD and now CTO of Groupon who built an early stage arrangement tech and Harry Gottlieb, Founder of Jellyvision and Jackbox games. Despite the pandemic, she moved from California to Rockford, Il. to build her company and create jobs in her hometown.
25. Michelle Knight, Founder of Brandmerry
Michelle Knight is a Personal Brand Coach and founder of Brandmerry.com supporting female entrepreneurs to create an authentic, captivating and money-making brand through the power of story. Michelle supports women at various stages of their business who share one common goal – creating an authentic brand that allows them to show up as they are, build a loyal community and experience time, financial and location freedom as a result of their work.
When Michelle’s son was born in 2015, she quickly realized that she no longer wanted to juggle working a 9 to 5 and raising her son. She didn’t want to feel drained when she got home from work, without enough energy to enjoy her family. Michelle started her business as a side hustle, while she dreamed of scaling it to impact the lives of many other women, allowing her to leave her 9 to 5 and maybe, just maybe, retiring her husband. Just one year into her coaching business, Michelle created a 6-figure business and thriving community of women ready to share their story. Now she travels full-time with her retired husband and toddler son in their RV and spends her time supporting women to achieve their own time, financial and location freedom.
26. Kellie Sirna, Co-Founder of Studio 11 Design
As Principal and Co-Founder of Studio 11 Design, Kellie Sirna’s entrepreneurial acumen and creative perspective has been honed throughout two decades traveling the world and designing some of the hospitality industry’s most inspiring spaces. Since starting the firm with Co-Founder Stacy Elliston in 2011, Kellie has led global projects across boutique and renown nameplates such as Caesars Entertainment, Hyatt, Starwood, Thompson Hotels and many more. A gold-level recipient of American Business Awards’ Woman of the Year and tastemaker in her own right, Kellie serves on the Hospitality Design Magazine board and has judged the HD Awards and Wave of the Future Awards.
27. Rachel Harrison, Founder of Rachel Harrison Communications
Prior to founding Rachel Harrison Communications this year, Rachel was a co-founder of award winning Lion & Lamb Communications for six years. Her leadership helped her agency achieve Inc Magazine’s “Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America” award.
Before venturing out on her own, Rachel’s experience has been broad and varied. She has 22 years of branding, marketing, marketing research and communications experience that she utilized in previous roles such as Chief Marketing Officer for Chris Blackwell’s Island Outpost Resorts, Director of Marketing & Communications for Andaz by Hyatt, where she also led the communications strategy to bring Hyatt public, and Senior Vice President at Dan Klores Communications (DKC). Rachel has helped her clients achieve global awareness, incredible growth, and with her talented team she has been able to help clients win coveted awards such as The World’s 50 Best Award, and all the hot lists, gold lists platinum lists and beyond.
28. Jersey Banks, Co-Founder of Urban Cowboy
As a black female hotelier and CoFounder of the Urban Cowboy portfolio, Jersey brings a distinct perspective and voice to the hospitality world. Creating a brand of properties with impactful design and an invitation for communities of wanderlust travelers and artists from all over the world to gather makes Urban Cowboy a truly unique experience.
29. Terry Weber, CEO of BioTE Medical
Terry Weber is a nationally acclaimed CEO and executive consultant. Early in her career, Terry transformed the business models of automotive and retail giants including Ford Motor Company, Ann Taylor, and Lowes by helping them adapt to the emerging e-commerce environment and become top competitors in their field.
She now lends her leadership skills to the world of healthcare as the CEO of BioTE Medical, aiding in the company’s mission to provide personalized precision and preventive care via bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. After making a name for herself across many male-dominated spheres, Terry adamantly supports female leadership and provides professional mentorship for young women across multiple fields.
30. Carolyn Aronson, Founder of It’s a 10 Haircare
Award-winning and self-made entrepreneur, Aronson began her 20-year career as a hair stylist and now operates a successful, global hair product company. It’s a 10 continues to lead the haircare category as a top performing brand throughout the pandemic despite the drastic change in consumer spending.
31. Crystal Etienne, Founder of Ruby Love
Meet Crystal Etienne, the Black female founder of a $23.2M company – built in just 5 years. Crystal is making impressive strides in the female tech industry, including recently securing the fourth largest round of funding in history for a company founded by a black woman.
Her revolutionary period protection solutions are making life easier for women around the world. The patent-pending technology is rushing tampons and pads into history. Thanks to her brilliance, women can feel more confident with their bodies.
32. Shannon Miles, Co-Founder of BELAY
Shannon Miles is the Co-Founder of BELA, a premium virtual staffing company which has brought in 100M+ since 2010, and in spite of the pandemic, saw 19% growth so far this year. Without an office, BELAY has graced the Inc 5000 list five times, was awarded the #1 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Best Company Culture and has 1000+ team members who work from home.
Growing up in a small town (in a trailer) she followed her dreams, cashing in her 401K to bootstrap BELAY, because she sought out flexibility and wanted to be in control of/build the life she wanted. A mother of two, she has two other businesses: a craft brewery in Atlanta and Own Not Run, which advises business owners about the freedom of owning companies, instead of running them.
33. Elnaz Sarraf, Founder of Roybi Robot
Elnaz Sarraf is the CEO and founder of the award-winning Roybi Robot – the world’s first-ever AI-powered smart toy to teach children language and STEM skills. It also has been named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2019, on the 2019 CNBC Upstart 100 list as one of the world’s most promising startups and on Fast Company’s 2019 World-Changing Ideas.
Elnaz is also a Board Member at the Consumer Technology Association, Small Business Council, and member of Forbes Technology Council. Growing up as a woman in Iran, Elnaz witnessed the limited opportunities, leading her on her journey in the U.S. to become an entrepreneur and create a technology that would empower children by providing universal access to personalized learning and an education that prepares them for a better future. With 15 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur, Elnaz leads ROYBI (creator of Roybi Robot); an investor-backed EdTech company that raised $4.2 million in its seed round focusing on early childhood education and self-guided learning through artificial intelligence.
34. Jennifer Barcelos and Sandy Connery, Co-Founders of Namastream
Namastream is a software business founded in 2015 by two female entrepreneurs that helps other entrepreneurs, especially women and wellness practitioners, create additional revenue streams. The CoFounders were driven by the goal of building a resilient business that in turn, provides other entrepreneurs with the software, resources, and support to do the same.
As wellness has continued to grow in popularity over the last 4 years, so has the Namastream platform. When the pandemic hit in March and every non-essential business was forced to go virtual, the platform grew by 1100% with 170,000+ users across 168 countries. Namastream is completely self-funded and Jeni and Sandy bootstrapped their business without the help of outside investors. Today, they’ve found incredible success and fulfilment through Namastream – helping other entrepreneurs bring their business online and their female peers find financial freedom.
35. Cindy Orr, General Manager of Celeb Luxury
A chemist by trade who has had executive roles with Clairol, Matrix, and Aveda, Cindy has successfully developed the category of color-depositing shampoos and conditioners, and participated in the initial product line, ArTEC’s, sale to L’Oreal in 2002. As a product line previously only used by salon professionals, Cindy led the development and execution of the No Fade Fresh line for food, drug, and mass in 2020 (sold at Target/CVS/Shop Rite), that has started to get a great deal of attention, particularly due to Covid.
36. Michele DiMeo, Co-founder of Squisito Franchise Enterprises
Michele is the President and co-founder of Squisito Franchise Enterprises, parent company of Squisito, one of the nation’s quickest-growing fast casual franchises with nine locations in Maryland and Virginia. Squisito, along with its build-your-own spinoff concept, Squisito Too, features authentic Italian recipes at an affordable price point with each ingredient used made completely from scratch.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, DiMeo along with her husband and business partner, Gennaro, have discovered the winning recipe for success with five more Squisito locations debuting within the coming months. Additionally, Squisito is committed to each community that it does business in with charitable ventures and ongoing recognition.
37. Jacqueline Alexander, Owner of Know Your Fruit
Jackie has a proven track record in business – a lawyer by trade, she purchased a pear orchard and after realizing the amount of fruit that goes to waste due to falling off the tree, Jackie discovered an opportunity to create freeze-dried fruit for snacking. As a BIPOC, female entrepreneur, she has faced many hurdles along the way including overt and system racism. However, she has also garnered the attention and support of highly influential individuals in the food, farming and agriculture industries. She’s received several business commendations, including ranked in the top 50 black-owned businesses in the Portland area.
Jackie is a highly engaged and busy philanthropist, sitting on the board of SBP – formerly the St. Bernard Project – a disaster recovery non-profit that got its start after Hurricane Katrina. She’s also a benefactor to Lewis & Clark Law School.
38. Orianne Collins, Founder of OC Jewellery
Orianne, a philanthropist and a mother, founded OC Jewellery in 2007, creating 18k gold unique, hand-made pieces made in Switzerland, U.S. and Italy influenced by her Thai and Swiss heritage and travels around the world studying various cultures and craftsmanship techniques.
She has expanded into OC Home and OC Spa collections, with plans to launch OC Cosmetics in 2021.
In 2014, she suffered a neck injury after a martial arts exhibition in Paris. After a seemingly straightforward operation, she woke up paralyzed from the neck down due to a surgical complication. She fought to regain her ability to walk and three years later, climbed one of the highest mountains in Switzerland.
20% of all sales go to two foundations she created: Little Dreams Foundation to fulfill the dreams of young talented kids with limited financial means in the worlds of music, sports and art and Never Give Up Foundation, to help those with spinal cord injuries to receive care and support during their early days of life-changing treatments.
39. Brianna Parks, Founder of Brianna Parks Photography
Brianna is an elopement photographer who has been in business for about three years. She started her business in 2018 while working as a waitress and going to school full-time. In fact, she had just gotten married at 19. Her husband and her had about $500 to their name, and a few Target gift cards. It took a leap of faith, but with all the money they had, they bought a camera.
Since then, she has continued to grow and expand her business, pursue school full-time, and work part-time. This Winter, she will be doing the same while taking on an internship.
40. Amy McCord Jones, Founder of Flower Moxie
After being a wedding floral designer for 7 years, Amy was dog-tired of the three-weekend wedding grind. She also darkly realized she couldn’t afford her own wedding services if she was getting married, and that she’d have to go DIY. That’s when it hit her: “What if I sold flowers online – actual florist-grade blooms – and made Youtube videos to teach wedding parties how to do their own arrangements?”
Initially, she started Flower Moxie as a side-hustle. It took about $5k of her savings to get it going, and she built the site sitting at her kitchen table.
At first, it was very difficult because it was a business model that was unprecedented in the floral world so she had to make it up as she went. As a result, Flower Moxie has grown from a company that nets thousands of dollars in sales to millions.
41. Lisa Lane, President of Lane Innovations
Lisa, besides being a President of Lane Innovations, is also the innovator of Rinseroo. They launched just prior to the Covid outbreak and have seen wild growth ever since. Their patented slip-on shower attachment hose has become a top seller on Amazon Launchpad making their #1 New Release list and Most Wished for List.
Believe it or not, she conceptualized Rinseroo long before the Covid-19 outbreak. Their launch coincided with the pandemic and thanks to its functionality and multi-purpose utility we can safely say it’s been one of the most successful launches in business history.
42. Sheila M. Duncan, Co-Creator of Trouble The Dog
Sheila is the co-creator of Trouble The Dog who is now traveling the world comforting kids as a plush American-made pup, be their troubles big or small.
Trouble was drawn by her then niece, Kendra, in 2006 when she was 12 in what Sheila would definitely say was a moment of divine inspiration. Kendra had been through many family cancer losses and after drawing this little stray, grey pup declared his name is Trouble and he’s going to help kids.
Sheila picked up the ball and the rest is history. They are in the process of now launching their third children’s book – and most importantly of all, they are helping kids be comforted, smile and have hope.
43. Helen Hall, CEO of Blender Bombs
Helen Hall is a 27-year-old entrepreneur, health and wellness guru, believer of balance, and CEO of Blender Bombs, a line of plant-based, nutrient-dense smoothie enhancers. Hall’s wellness journey began in 2017 when she launched Hushup X Hustle, a nutrition and fitness-centric lifestyle brand. As a personal trainer, Hall began serving up then homemade Blender Bombs to her clientele.
She started with $300 in her pocket, and now the company is valued at 15 million dollars. They are available in every Whole Foods Market nationwide as well as Erewhon Markets and Thrive Market.
44. Christina Orso, Founder of Christina Orso Marketing Agency
After working as the Marketing Director for a Boston restaurant group for several years, Christina found herself yearning to work with more restaurants and food brands. Having come from writing a food blog for nearly 10 years and collaborating with tons of brands, she successfully learned the ropes of digital marketing.
While working with the restaurant group, she started pitching herself to other restaurants in the hopes of creating her own marketing company. After just three months of hustling, she was able to acquire enough clients to leave her full-time job.
She now works with 7 restaurants, including her former employer who is now a client, and multiple brands on their digital marketing strategy. She went from making a moderate salary to over 6 figures within just 6 months of starting her business and is continuing to grow each and every day.
45. Skyler Mapes, Co-Founder of EXAU Olive Oil
Skyler Mapes, is an award-winning olive oil producer and one of only TWO Black women olive oil producers in the WORLD. She co-founded EXAU with her husband, Giuseppe Morisani, who is Calabrian. The company is based in Austin, TX and Calabria, Italy.
EXAU is unique because they produce their own oils and sell directly to customers in the U.S. This allows them to truly connect with consumers and help them understand their industry and products better. For example, their olive trees were planted 80 years ago by Giuseppe’s grandfather, 30 years ago by Giuseppe’s father, and 2 years ago by them. Knowing exactly how the olives trees have been cared for over the past almost 100 years is incredible.
It’s no secret that Kerry Washington and Chrissie Teigen love their oil.
46. Nicole Pomije, Founder of The Cookie Cups and The Unicorn Cookie Cup Baking Kit
Serial entrepreneur Nicole Pomije is the creator and owner of The Cookie Cups, a local bakery with two locations in the Twin Cities area. With a decade of marketing experience under her belt, Nicole started this baking business five years ago after making a mistake in her home kitchen. Since then, it has grown a substantial customer base and has been awarded with Best Apple Dessert in the Commercial category at well-known Excelsior Apple Days in Minnesota. The Cookie Cups has been seen in Buzzfeed, Forbes, Fast Company, and several other media outlets. Nicole is also the founder of marketing and PR firm NB Talent Services.
47. Angela Mustone, President of High on Love
Angela Mustone and the pleasure product industry. She is an entrepreneur, marketer, and the President of Produits Amour & Beauté and its groundbreaking new line of High On Love CBD products. She has been a driving force behind some of the most innovative and exciting adult novelties and sexual health products on the market. An advocate for empowering women, and educating not only her valued clients but the industry and consumers as a whole, Mustone paved the way for the award-winning production of some of the industry’s best-selling products.
48. Shanel Lindsay, Founder of Ardent Cannabis
Shortly after Massachusetts decriminalized misdemeanor cannabis possession, Shanel Lindsay found herself arrested and saw first-hand that decriminalization didn’t always give people the protections that they were supposed to be provided with. She co-drafted Massachusetts’ adult use cannabis law, and in 2017, was appointed by the State Treasurer to the Massachusetts Cannabis Advisory Board.
Ardent is a Black woman-owned and Boston-based company that produces the NOVA™, a laboratory-grade precision decarboxylator and infuser for those who consume cannabis. The NOVA allows the user to Activate their flower, keif, or concentrates to increase levels of THC, thus reducing the amount of product needed and saving money. The NOVA also allows the user to easily make infused oils for edibles and topicals in their own home. Ardent is the world’s first device for both decarboxylation and infusion.
49. Nadia Boujarwah, Co-Founder of Dia&Co
Growing up, Boujarwah struggled to find stylish clothing in her size. She knew she wasn’t alone, so she teamed up with her Harvard Business School classmate Lydia Gilbert to transform the shopping experience for the 100 million plus-size women in America.
Dia&Co stylists work with top brands – from industry staples to up-and-coming young designers – to provide each customer with curated looks to suit her unique style and shape. Dia has a dedicated and diverse customer base crossing all 50 states and more than 80 percent of ZIP codes.
On November 17, Nadia and her team at Dia & Co launched The Dia Holiday Market, an innovative new program that offers small businesses a free digital boutique space on Dia.com. Retailers will receive support from Dia & Co’s marketing resources and exposure to Dia’s highly engaged community with no charge.
50. Elyse Dickerson, Founder of Eosera, Inc
Elyse has over two decades of experience leading teams in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. She managed portfolios with annual revenues of $1.7 Billion and drove product innovation and the commercialization of numerous technologies across the globe.
Among Eosera’s numerous industry awards, Elyse herself has won many accolades for her leadership and service. She is also a polished public speaker and gives inspiring presentations to large groups around the world.
Elyse recently moderated an awesome panel discussion on YPO Live entitled Bringing Equality to the American Workplace. She is an active member of YPO — the global leadership community of chief executives driven by the shared belief that the world needs better leaders.
51. The Caden Sisters, Founders of Belly Bandit
Jodi, Lori, and Kari Caden are the co-founders of Belly Bandit®, a company dedicated to helping women look and feel their absolute best before, during, and after pregnancy. Founded in 2008, Belly Bandit revolutionized the maternity world by introducing the first doctor-recommended, postpartum compression wrap. Since its launch, the company has seen tremendous growth. It has evolved from its signature product, the Belly Bandit® Belly Wrap, and expanded to include maternity wear, nursing bras, athleisure, and a complete line of compression shapewear, the Mother Tucker® Collection.
In 2020, the sisterpreneurs launched, Proof®, a female empowerment company that delivers meticulously designed and expertly constructed leakproof undies for women ages nine to ninety. With a history of disrupting and revolutionizing the market, the sisters and co-founders of Belly Bandit® and Proof® are on a mission to create products that make women’s lives better.
52. Tia and Aja Blanco, Founders of Dear Self
Started by two sisters in Southern California, one a professional surfer (soon to be seen on an ABC series in early 2021) who is also a well-known vegan personality and the other a software engineer and NYU business graduate, Dear Self is a natural, cruelty-free, vegan skincare brand designed for people with sensitive skin.
They are in year two and have formulated, sourced, packaged and marketed the brand all themselves. There have been some trials and tribulations along the way but they have been featured in outlets like Forbes, The Beet and Maxim. The venture has been completely self-funded and they are getting traction now with the potential for much larger orders.
53. Megan Glover, Co-Founder of 120Water
Megan Glover is co-founder and CEO of 120Water, a digital water company that helps solve some of the water industry’s most pressing challenges. A technology innovator, Megan spent her career applying digital technologies to transform sectors and build companies.
In 2016, Megan launched 120Water in response to the Flint drinking water crisis and then in 2020 she leveraged her water experience to address Covid-19.
120Water launched a new program that can provide early detection of COVID-19 outbreaks by testing wastewater for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA that is shed by infected persons. According to current research, the testing of wastewater sewage for SARS-CoV-2 RNA may provide a seven day leading indicator of outbreaks compared to other compiled testing data.
In 2019, Megan raised $7M in Series A funding, the largest amount raised by a female in Indianapolis history.
54. Jessica Hershfield, Founder of Just Enough Wines
Just Enough Wines is a San Francisco based startup focused on high quality, great tasting wine in the convenience of a can. Founded by Jessica Hershfield, a Stanford alum and first time founder, she left her prestigious tech jobs at Google, Uber, and Lime to follow her passion. Just Enough Wines believes you don’t need to choose between quality and convenience, and is reinventing canned wine for the modern consumer.
55. Melanie Ocana, Co-Founder of Rustico Tile and Stone
Fifteen years ago, Melanie was in her late 20s living near the border of south Texas and Mexico. To make a living and coming off of a failed franchise business, she evaluated resources natural to south Texas and Mexico. Saltillo tile was the Ah-Ha moment. She began selling it on eBay.
Within the next several years, she married her business partner, had kids, pets, and became a foster family.
Fast forward to 2020. They operate the largest manufacturing facility for Saltillo tile in Mexico. With their headquarters just outside Austin, Texas, Rustico Tile & Stone is an online business that is also the largest distributor for varieties of handmade Mexican tile and stone.
56. Angela Arena, Founder of Kind Lab
Before starting Kind Lab, Angela spent nights stressed out under the crumbling demands of being a businesswoman, mother, wife, and caregiver. Angela tried everything, but nothing seemed to work. Angela finally tried cannabis, which became life-changing for her, giving her the best night’s sleep in months. Angela has since educated herself on the science behind cannabis to create solutions for various problems with hemp extract and other plant-based ingredients. Those creations are what Angela offers through Kind Lab, and she hopes they can enhance people’s wellness as much as they have for her and her family.
57. Jodie Hewson, Co-Founder of Stay Wilder
Jodie Hewson’s story is unique, having spent years in corporate marketing roles, where she brought monumental profit to large businesses. Despite her outward-facing success, Jodie suffered corporate burnout, and in a bid to discover her true passion, began traveling. It was while traveling that Jodie observed the climate devastation caused by unethical tourism, and was compelled to make a career change to help right the wrongs of the tourism industry.
From corporate to climate advocate, Jodie, along with her husband and business partner Rob Cable, conceptualized Stay Wilder, an eco-resort built on the fundamentals of a sustainable business model. Stay Wilder is low-footprint, zero-waste, and hopes to reinvent how we look at travel and accommodations, setting a new standard for eco-tourism.
58. Janine Williams, Founder of Impulsify Inc
Janine is the CEO of Impulsify Inc, which provides retail technology and business intelligence to maximize incremental revenue and improve guest experience in retail outlets. Hotels were their original target market, but Impulsify Inc. has been flourishing since pivoting towards apartments and ‘glamping’ sites during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we are experiencing a rapidly changing landscape due to COVID-19, the Impulsify Self-Pay Kiosk technology is perfectly positioned to help with retail’s post-COVID challenges. Cashless, and self-pay options are highly recommended in this time of uncertainty, and likely to become the most ideal form of payment post-COVID-19. Hence being one of the biggest retail trends for 2021.
59. Camille Roistacher, Founder of WYLLOW
Based in Los Angeles, WYLLOW is a female-owned and operated company created as an inclusive brand that’s designed and intended for all. WYLLOW offers exotic indoor-grown cannabis flower cultivated by first-generation growers and legacy growers alike with over 100 years of combined experience at a reasonable price, without sacrificing the quality. WYLLOW promotes balance, wellness, and self-care.
The CEO & Founder of WYLLOW, Camille Roistacher, is a powerhouse woman of color whose goal is to break the grass ceiling with a brand that plays on femininity while still being inclusively designed for everyone.
60. Kim Hehir and Sue Delegan, Founders of Brutus Broth
Brutus Broth is an all natural, human grade bone broth that’s been picked up by over 3,000 stores throughout the country, including big box retailers like Petco, Target, Amazon and more. It was founded by entrepreneur sisters Kim Hehir and Sue Delegan, who attributed her beloved dog Brutus’ long life to love and Grandma’s bone broth. Sue and Kim wanted to share their homemade bone broth with fellow doggie lovers to help all the good boys and girls out there live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Two years after launching, the sisters have expanded their product line to include Brutus Biscuits dog treats and Brutus on the Go travel packs of powdered Brutus Broth.
100% all natural and fortified with glucosamine, chondroitin, turmeric, and a number of other vitamins, Brutus Broth bone broth delivers a number of benefits to beloved pups.
61. Lou Cysewski, Founder & CEO of Coolperx
Lou set out to create Coolperx after realizing the detrimental impact that the cheap corporate swag industry was having on the environment. In an effort to combat these detrimental effects, she created the first and only social purpose corporate gifting agency.
Coolperx is the first B2B climate neutral corporate gifting and marketing agency. Their offerings include unique and impactful corporate marketing, branded merchandising, consulting, and events that are socially and environmentally responsible.
62. Veronica Konecke, GG, Chrissy and Nicole, Co-Owners of Aloisia Beauty
Aloisia Beauty is a startup CLEAN K-Beauty brand, featuring propriety formations based on the Korean Beauty Principles, that is majority-owned by Hispanic women: Veronica Konecke, Chrissy Kling, and Nicole Levine, along with GG Benitez, a Middle Eastern/American woman.
Each of them is successful in their own rights as owners of other businesses ranging from medical devices to public relations, to marketing and celebrity engagement, and have also banded together by their passion for clean beauty to launch Aloisia Beauty. Their goal is to make superior skin care an affordable luxury.
They have secured significant media and celebrity attention for our brand, in spite of launching during COVID.
63. Michelle Harthill, Founder of Meeschell
While working as a marketing professional, Michelle Harthill had the opportunity to work with a clean beauty brand. After learning more about the products and the ingredients, she quickly understood the need for clean, organic products. She began looking into other clean brands and realized how difficult they can be to find. She decided they should all be in one place, thus…Meeschell was born!
Meeschell is a one stop shop for clean, organic, and eco-friendly items. Differentiating itself further from other “green” platforms, it’s inclusive to women-owned brands. Why focus on such a specific niche? Women-owned businesses are still the vast minority, but this site wants to make a difference.
64. Seville Michelle, Founder of Seville Michelle
Seville is a Latinx accessory designer and a New York Native who is at the forefront of avant-garde street style accessories. Seville built her brand from the ground up and her accessories caught the attention of Alicia Keys, who is from the same neighborhood as accessory maven.
Soon Seville’s contemporary and luxury takes on nostalgic 90s favorites became the go-to for stars like Beyonce, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez,Kylie Jenner, Azealia Banks, Nicole Kidman, Nikita Dragun, Natti Natasha, legendary singer Lauryn Hill, Jorja Smith, Sofia Richie, Veronica Vega, JoJo, Nikki Minaj, Karrueche Tran, singer-songwriter H.E.R, Teyana Taylor, Fergie, and even Steven Tyler are just a few of Seville’s legendary clients.
Seville’s designs have become the standard in all corners of Hollywood. Seville’s trailblazing handwoven Italian leather doorknockers and the iconic Gucci double Gs are an industry staple that blends an impressive balance of urban roots and elevated design.
65. Melissa Smith, Founder of Association of Virtual Assistants
Featured in ABC News, Forbes, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for her work, Melissa never intended to be an entrepreneur but she also never intended to be a widow to suicide either. In September 2012, she was living the life she had planned as an executive assistant and never really thought her life would change. When it suddenly did she was forced to make changes for herself and her family.
Now, she has three companies, has written two bestselling books, overcame lifelong fears, and has even traveled the world – 16 countries in 12 months in 2017.
66. Sapna Palep, Co-CEO of Journelle
Although a board certified dermatologist, Sapna the struggling brand, Journelle, which also has 4 retail locations a year ago using her personal savings.
A person of color, Sapna has built the brand in one year to a reported 10 million in sales. Because of COVID, she has also pivoted the business to digital and has seen online sales double during the pandemic. This was bolstered by a virtual lingerie fitting and styling tool she launched. This month, she will also launch an app which is a company first.
Journelle is a multi-line, multi-brand lingerie destination for lingerie made for women by women. They are based in New York and have over 20 employees both in their corporate headquarters and including their highly trained staff of expert bra specialists in their 4 retail locations (Union Square, SoHo and Upper East side in New York City and Chicago, IL).
67. Connie Lo and Laura Burget, Co-Founders of Three Ships
Meet Connie Lo and Laura Burget, co-founders of Three Ships, a next-generation skincare line that melds nature with science to promote healthier skin. They set sail in 2017 with only $3,300 in the bank. The pair can trace their beginnings – not to fancy offices – but to Connie’s kitchen table where the pair mixed their very first formulations. They started their company at the young age of 23, with no experience or connections in the beauty world, but a big mission to revolutionize the natural beauty market.
Through sheer hard work and a devotion to creating quality, all-natural products at a mainstream price, Three Ships (formerly, NIU BODY), has grown well beyond its kitchen table beginnings. The brand has inked several distribution deals in both the U.S. and Canada, including Whole Foods and Hudson’s Bay Company and perhaps most excitingly, will be launching in 505 Target locations as well as on Target.com <http://target.com/> in January 2021. Their revenue in their first fiscal year was $101K, and it increased 545% to $645K in its second year. Their revenue for this year is projected at $1.5M.
From devastating health news (in 2019 Laura was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour) to when COVID-19 hit, the two have persevered and pushed through with the successful launch of Three Ships earlier this summer despite manufacturing and shipping delays.
68. Amanda Wojtas, Founder of Eternal Fleur
Eternal Fleur specializes in real floral arrangements preserved to last 365 days+ without water or sunlight. Launched by 25-year-old Amanda Wojtas, Eternal Fleur is the perfect solution to everyday florals when most fresh bouquets last a week or two.
Amanda had always wanted to run her own business, having worked at male dominated companies since graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. She picked flowers because they make people happy and chose to focus on long-lasting arrangements.
But running a new business comes with obstacles especially when balancing two jobs, a personal AND business relationship with a significant other, and doing it from a one-bedroom apartment. Eventually, Amanda recognized she needed to give 110% for Eternal Fleur to succeed, so she quit her full-time job and launched in December 2017. Year one of sales, $250k. But year two, $840k! Amanda bought out her now-ex boyfriend of the business and grew sales in just 11 months!
69. Gulya Hartwick and Sasha Gorskaya, Co-Founders of Noble Objects
Gulya Hartwick and Sasha Gorskaya spent the majority of their careers in the arts, pouring their souls into producing their own ballet company, Russian Ballet Theatre. Once the pandemic hit, however, they watched their industry close its doors and found themselves homebound for the first time in a while. This gave them an opportunity to connect with another love of theirs-the love for books. Combining their love for arts and books, with the comfort and simple pleasures of home, they created Noble Objects – a curated candle line inspired by first edition book covers.
Since its founding, candles have been flying off the (virtual) shelves, with the first batch selling out within the first month of business!
70. Elizabeth Lewis, Founder of Brand, Style & Bloom Style Wellness™
Did you know that what we choose to wear has the power to impact our moods for the better? According to the study of enclothed cognition, clothing has the power to affect our mental processes and the way we think, feel and function. Knowing this, Elizabeth Lewis, a certified personal stylist and brand strategist who has worked with Disney and Booz Allen Hamilton, and inspired by it, created the Brand, Style & Bloom Style Wellness™ Membership Community to help women feel joyful and confident through the power of style.
71. Shalini Samtani, Founder of Open the Joy and Spread the Joy
Her daughter’s diagnosis of a rare disease pushed her to start 2 organizations from her basement; Open the Joy and Spread the Joy (a registered non-profit). Both these organizations have the unified mission of spreading joy to hospitalized kids, in the form of activity kits designed to heal through play.
In just under 2 years, Spread the Joy has grown significantly and in parallel, Open the Joy has also won numerous awards. Meanwhile, Shalini’s leadership has been recognized by the Tory Burch Fellows Program.
72. Lisa Guenst, Founder of ToothShower
Dental hygienist, Lisa Guenst invented a genius product that incorporates flossing (and even brushing) into your shower routine. It’s as easy as attaching the device to your showerhead, no battery or electrical outlet needed nor any permanent installation! Plus, no more messy bathroom counter and mirror.
Toothshower is backed by Dentists and is available at major retailers like Brookstone, Amazon, QVC, etc.
73. Nadia Ameri, Founder of The Flower Apothecary
Nadia Ameri is an educational psychologist that became a certified Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner and developed a collection of flower essences, cell salts, and gem quartz to help empower your mood and strengthen your mental energy.
The Flower Apothecary can be found at many retailers including the vitamin shoppe, Lassens and Amazon to name a few.
74. Jereann Zann, Founder Little GF Chefs
Inspired by her daughter’s diet restrictions and looking for ways to help her not feel left out, Jereann Zann created a baking kit that is not only Celiac safe but also allergen friendly. Zann has been selling out of her kits every month.
75. Geneva Long, Founder of Bowlus
Geneva’s focus when starting her company was to elevate the travel experience for modern adventurers by reimagining the original aluminum travel trailer into today’s most advanced RV. As a result, she designed a product built to last for generations and has accomplished many industry firsts which include: the first female-founded RV company, the first direct-to-consumer model in the RV market with sales generated online, the first truly sustainable RV, as well as the first to include ultra-luxurious features like heated floors, personal technology solutions (like charging stations, router, wifi amplifier), and a lithium power management system.
76. Lauren DeCarli, Founder of Paneros Clothing
Lauren launched Paneros Clothing in August 2019 in Los Angeles, and we continue to be a family run business. After being a top selling designer for a wholesale fashion company for 10 years producing a new collection every month, she knew how wasteful, polluting, and unsustainable the fashion industry can be.
So she set out to create a better alternative: producing beautiful slow fashion clothing made the way it should be, and designed to be worn not just for one season, but year after year so that you can look great while making a positive impact on the world. Madison Bailey is just one of the celebrities wearing their pieces, and The Zoe Report didn’t fail to notice their unique flair
77. Jennifer Lukas-Bourgeois, Founder of Lekkco Belgian Dark Chocolate Spread
Jennifer is the founder of Lekkco Belgian Dark Chocolate Spread, an innovation that’s close on the heels of Nutella and on track to grow 750% – now available in Kroger stores nationwide (the ultimate goal for CPG brand!). The best thing about Lekkco is that it could be enjoyed by anyone with food allergies or diabetes.
Inspired by the family trips to Belgium when they enjoyed breakfast with dark chocolate spread, she put her experience with Red Bull to good use and brought a 50-year old Belgian dark chocolate spread recipe to the United States. Her two daughters are pursuing virtual schooling and one is chipping in to “intern” for her between classes.
78. Chondita Dayton, Founder of Liweli
She came to the US as a child, taught herself English by watching Sesame Street, and went on to graduate from Harvard. While she never ventured into medicine like her mother pushed her to, she is bringing her business background – taking learnings from successful startups where she’s held senior leadership roles, like Rent the Runway – and applying it to her own vision for helping parents deal with daily aches and pains.
As a working mom, with two little ones, in her mid-30s, Chondita was starting to feel the aches and pains that we all feel as we age. While Chondita aspired to implement the elaborate wellness regimens prescribed by goop into her lifestyle, she only had the time to take care of herself for a few minutes each day and knew she wasn’t alone.
This is why she’s created Liweli, an easy-to-use and delicious hemp-based product that would deliver the benefits of CBD without the guesswork, pricetag, or awful taste that traditional CBD products offer.
79. Matilda Sandström, Co-Founder of Adventurist Backpack Co.
Originally from Sweden she moved to the U.S. when I was 19. She started the company just about 3 years ago when she was 22, and launched Adventurist with only $6000, and absolutely zero entrepreneurial/marketing experience.
They design minimalist backpacks for travel, with a cause. For every backpack sold, they provide 25 meals to families in need across the U.S. in partnership with non-profit Feeding America. (They’ve provided over 150,000 meals since our launch.)
Their backpacks/brand have since been featured in Outside Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes, Fast Company, ABC, CBS, Travel Channel, Bustle, Woman’s Day, Popsugar and more. The backpacks are sold online on our website, as well as with Urban Outfitters, and her husband/co-founder Kelly and her were both included in SUCCESS Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list in 2019.
80. Kelsey Moreira, Founder of Doughp Cookie Dough
After 10-years in corporate America, Founder and CEO of Doughp Cookie Dough Kelsey Moreira developed a really unhealthy relationship with alcohol. But after getting sober in 2015, her life totally changed. She was baking constantly and rediscovered her passion for desserts. Kelsey was experimenting with vegan baking (using a flaxseed egg-substitute), but she loved butter WAY too much to let go of. She realized her cookie dough recipes were finally safe-to-eat raw (egg-free!), and were still totally delicious & decadent!
Kelsey wanted to share this awesomeness with the world so she quit her 10-year career in tech and set off to open Doughp to make the world a little sweeter! She built a mission-driven brand that would be about sharing raw dough and real conversations that feed the soul. Four years later, Doughp has served more than 250,000 spoonlickers and continues shipping thousands of boxes every month, and donating thousands of dollars for mental health nonprofits.
81. Elle Liu, Founder of Eucalypso
Elle started her company because she was at her wits’ end about her cotton bedding—she didn’t understand why she was waking up with night sweats and acne. She also read about the harmful toll cotton has on natural resources, which inspired her to create a bedding brand that benefited the environment as well as her skin. Eucalypso now makes the world’s softest and most eco friendly sheets from organic eucalyptus, and sells the #1 rated eucalyptus sheets on the web.
She’s managed to grow the brand into a 7-figure company within 2 years by herself, while working a full time job. She does everything for the company – from product design to building the website to the marketing. She left her full time job a few months into the quarantine to pursue building her company full time and take it to 8 figures within the next year.
82. Julie Singh, Co-Founder of TripOutside
Julie Singh and her husband Reet left their corporate careers in 2017 in pursuit of their passion for the outdoors. They have been traveling full-time in their RV with their cat Juke ever since, finding the best outdoor adventures and local shops to feature on their hand curated platform, TripOutside.com.
TripOutside is the easiest way to find and book outdoor adventures online from the best local shops. The site allows customers to discover top outdoor destinations, find the best local outfitters and experiences, compare shop prices, and book their gear and adventures online quickly and easily.
83. Kate George, Founder of Omnifique
After over a decade in the corporate world, creating strategy and marketing campaigns for some of the world’s top brands, Kate endeavored to start her own company with one pursuit in mind – excellence above all else. She then began her entrepreneurial career founding Omnifique.
The company is a bridge between vacation rentals and 5-star hotels, offering all-inclusive, premium stays worldwide for high-end clients. As travelers now prefer private settings to hotels, Kate saw an opportunity to provide a safe accommodation alternative that meets our guests’ demanding standards. Although the travel industry is facing a historic crisis, at Omnifique they’re growing faster than ever.
84. Rebecca Page, Founder of Rebecca Page
Rebecca Page is disrupting and scaling a global company in the traditional/’old-fashioned’ sewing industry. This is a topical issue during the pandemic, with many people talking up sewing (particularly millennials) and also a move away from fast fashion towards a more sustainable fashion future.
Her company creates a range of beginner-friendly, easy-to-sew, inclusive size range patterns and sewalongs with unrivalled fitting expertise. They have 700,000 members (and quickly growing) in their engaged and creative global community. They are a female co-founded business that began trading in April 2018. Their all female team of over 30, are based in 11
countries and have always worked remotely. They also buck the trend in that their board of four are all female, as are over half of their investors.
85. Alaina Kaczmarski, Co-Founder of The Everygirl Media Group
Co-founder and editor of The Everygirl Media Group, Alaina is a Chicago native with a background in journalism and psychology. After various roles and creative endeavors post-graduation, Alaina met Danielle Moss in 2011, now co-founder of The Everygirl Media Group, where the two bonded over a shared vision to create the online resource for women, a place to inspire creative, career-driven women, who were, like themselves, trying to figure it all out.
Upon launching in 2012, The Everygirl quickly became a popular destination for young females, named a Top 100 Website for Women by Forbes within just 4 months, and later a resource for moms with the launch of The Everymom. In Fall 2020, The Everygirl Media Group also launched The Everygirl Media Group Foundation a 501(c)3 non-profit created to better respond to the needs and issues that are important to their readers. Alaina also runs her personal blog, Elizabeth Street Post.
86. Julie Christopher, Founder of Best of Seven
Founder and CEO of Best of Seven, Julie breaks the mold of a modern-day entrepreneur, blending her two passions to create an entirely new category for women by offering sophisticated and versatile leather goods, accessories and apparel made for game day and every day. Post-graduation from Indiana University, Julie built her resume at several notable companies, including e-commerce brand The Pampered Chef (founded by her mother).
Driven by her entrepreneurial family roots she was set on creating something of her own. Growing more involved with team affinities and cause-specific organizations, Julie remained dedicated to her sense of style, but was missing a direct link between her fashion choices and day-to-day interests. So, she set out to create Best of Seven to marry her greatest passions-sports and fashion which launched Fall 2020. In addition, giving back to her local community is a top priority where she serves on many organizations’ boards.
87. Brooke Waupsh, Co-Founder of Swoovy
Founded in 2018 by Austin-native Brooke Waupsh, Swoovy connects singles, couples, and now groups with volunteer opportunities supporting non-profit organizations.
Swoovy matches people with similar interests and passions and provides them a way to get to foster their relationship while giving back. Daters have an opportunity to have a meaningful experience where they can feel good about their time spent, and a chance to really get to know someone. Couples get to explore a whole new world of volunteering together, with the ease of in-app signup for their volunteering nights out. Groups can do team-building or complete service hours together. Nonprofit organizations can post service events and other fun philanthropic outings, and benefit by attracting an audience that might not otherwise show up if they didn’t have someone to go with or didn’t have an easy way to coordinate with their partner.
88. Rachel Lyubovitzky, Co-Founder of EverythingBenefits
Rachel Lyubovitzky is Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairwoman of EverythingBenefits, the leading provider of next-generation, end-to-end benefit technology solutions and services that help businesses of all sizes and their employees experience benefits in more meaningful ways. She is an accomplished serial entrepreneur with leadership experience that spans the full spectrum of strategic and tactical activities in the software technology industry. She holds Wharton Executive MBA and Brandeis Computer Science degrees.
89. Brook Sheehan, Co-Founder of Cup O’ Sugar
Brook Sheehan, is a Doctor of Chiropractic at Cardiff Health and Wellness. While in grad school, she co-founded Cup O’ Sugar, a mobile app tailored around reducing food waste at the household level by connecting individuals to their nearby neighbors.
After building the courage to leave an abusive relationship, she found herself looking for answers to the difficult question, “Who Am I?” Her answer was found in regaining her physical health back through chiropractic which led her on a journey of healing herself in the spiritual, emotional, and mental realms as well.
Learning that connection is the source of everything we are as individuals, she’s been able to connect others back to the innate intelligence within through chiropractic and externally through the power of connection to their local communities with Cup O’ Sugar.
90. Tonya Thompson and Sharie Wilson, Founders of DreamGirls
Tonya Thompson and Sharie Wilson are sisters are hair experts who founded DreamGirls, a black-owned natural hair care brand that specializes in healthy, natural hair growth services that recently reached the incredible milestone of $1 million dollars in sales just six months after launching during COVID.
While their salons were temporarily shut down, the sister duo launched DreamGirls to offer a safe, at-home hair solution and immediately had thousands of women raving about their incredible results. The line includes DreamGirls’ bestselling Healthy Hair Care System that promotes healthy growth and breaks down stigmas surrounding creating long, luscious, natural hair.
As African-American and female entrepreneurs, Tonya and Sharie faced many hardships. They continue to pour back into their community inspiring other women who are looking to start their own business.
91. Debora LaBudde, Founder of MEMO
Debora founded MEMO, a fine jewelry company that curates designer pieces, to give customers a different option for pandemic purchasing: home try-on.
Created by LaBudde’s deep understanding of the fine jewelry and luxury industries, MEMO enables customers the ability to try on luxury styles, on memo, to experience and appreciate the craftsmanship of fine jewelry up close before committing to purchase. During these unprecedented times, LaBudde continues successfully navigating the luxury retail space and expanding her business.
92. Brooke English, Founder of The Sock Drawer
Brooke English, founder and CEO of The Sock Drawer in San Luis Obispo, California, started with a small retail boutique in 2007 and turned it into one of the largest e-commerce stores selling crazy novelty socks in the world. Brooke’s unconventional leadership style puts as much value in compassion and vulnerability as hard work and smart thinking. Over the years, she faced criticism for her emphasis on open, flexible workplace culture, but her business thrived.
“Despite other people’s strong opinions, I’ve stayed true to myself,” Brooke says. “And now I’m backed by an incredibly caring, nimble and capable team. All of us bring our true selves to work every day, and it shows in the amount of care we put into everything we do. Our customers, in turn, notice how much we care, and that’s what keeps them coming back.”
93. Ashley Harris, Co-Founder of LoveBug Probiotics
With no MBA training, Ashley has led her company to 577% growth over the last three years which resulted in LoveBug being named on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America for two years running.
She co-founded the company with her husband in response to health issues she experienced along with her son shortly after giving birth. After researching their ailments and getting lots of tests, she found that the culprit was bad gut bacteria. A problem that was remedied by probiotics which led her to create her own company and solution for women and moms experiencing similar issues.
94. Josi Jahic, Co-Owner of J’s Pitaria
Josi Jahic, co-owner of J’s Pitaria in St. Louis, is a successful female entrepreneur who originally arrived in the U.S. as a Bosnian refugee. With a tenacious, can-do attitude, she earned her master’s from Washington University in St. Louis, earning her degree in human resources. This degree and experience became part of the foundation that she and her husband would eventually pour to create their future restaurant.
After experiencing their own health scares, Josi and her husband made it their mission to serve their community the best way they knew how – by providing healthy, delectable, authentic Mediterranean cuisine. They work hard each day to create handmade, from-scratch Mediterranean food and artisan Somun bread, drawing in regulars and changing their health for the better. While Josi knows three languages, she communicates with customers through the homemade, flavorful fare that she and her husband lovingly craft each day.
95. Chaya Krinsky, CEO of TOV Furniture
Before she took over the furniture industry by storm, Chaya was a pre-school teacher and her husband, Bruce worked in the furniture industry. They both noticed a void in the market for stylish furniture at reasonable prices. Chaya saw this as an opportunity for women to grow in a more commonly male-centered industry.
Today, TOV has women working in all areas of the business between design, production, to manufacturing, etc. This past year, Chaya introduced an initiative in Saudi Arabis during a historic movement for women’s rights. TOV Furniture joined forces with Al Rugaib Furniture to feature unapologetically feminine showrooms. TOV Furniture boasts the tagline “Don’t Be Boring”. They know exactly what the millennial shopper wants with their fashion forward designs and bold statement pieces.
96. Karwanna Dyson, Founder of She’s Got Goals
Kawanna is a female Black entrepreneur helping other women and minorities build successful and sustainable businesses by becoming government contractors. She is the author of the popular e-book, The Trillion Dollar Secret in Government Contracts, the book 10 Habits of the Highly Effective Entrepreneurs and is about to launch the industry’s first mobile app that will pre-qualify small businesses to become government contractors. From growing up on the wrong side of the tracks to owning a multi-six figure business, she is the epitome of the Cinderella story.
97. Danay Escanaverino, Founder of LatinaMeetup & Mira.Click
Latina entrepreneur Danay Escanaverino is on a mission to change that with the launch of Mira.Click, a platform that connects Latinx bloggers, youtubers and creators with Latinx brands (Advertisers). Creators (Affiliates) monetize their traffic using campaigns geared toward their
audiences and Advertisers can reach Multicultural audiences across all online media platforms with Mira.Click’s highly segmented and diverse traffic partners.
Danay has been a featured guest and speaker in several news outlets, events, blogs and podcasts such as Forbes, Latina Money, Latinas in Business, Latinista, Mailcon, ABC, El Mundo, CBS, Found in Translation and VOAtlanta to name a few.
98. Mary Taylor, Founder of Mary Taylor Wine
Shortly after Mary started her own wine company, a man in a suit picked up one of her bottles and asked, “Who does she think she is?”
Her answer? “I don’t think I’m anyone. I’m a former dishwasher. Former snowplow driver.” Mary founded her company in 2015 with one goal: to make fancy-sounding European wines more accessible to consumers—without the snobbery.
Mary’s wine is now distributed across more than 20 states. But she’s faced her fair share of obstacles as a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated space. More than once, people have asked who she thinks she is, or why she—a wine expert, but not sommelier—has the right to put her name on a bottle of European wine.
99. Amber Hinds, Founder of Equalize Digital
Amber is the founder & CEO of Equalize Digital, a website accessibility consulting company. They provide accessibility audits and development services to enterprise businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits. One in four US adults has a disability and all businesses are legally required to have an accessible website, although it’s good for business regardless of federal law.
She bootstrapped her business as a mom to four young daughters, growing a team across three different states. Recently, they’ve raised capital to develop an accessibility checking software that will be launching this month. They’re in the final review stage to becoming a certified B-corporation.
100. Irina Georgieva, Co-Founder of Enterprise League
Irina is the co-founder and CEO of Enterprise League, the business platform for companies, a place to find and publish business deals. During 2020, Enterprise League has recorded a significant growth of new users, making it a platform with nearly 100K companies that actively seek for collaborations and deals.
Irina is ultimately focusing on bringing the platform to every company in the world, with the goal of making business easy, accessible and profitable for small businesses.
More must-read stories from Enterprise League:
- The golden rules you need to build a steady buyer-seller relationship.
Top virtual networking events to get you back in the game.
- Things to consider before deciding on a business location.
- Find out how social media can help or hurt your business
Create your company page. Discover companies to work with. Get business deals.
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