6 Women Entrepreneurs You Need To Know (Plus CO+HOOTS Leaders On The Rise)
Women entrepreneurs are prepared to rule the world.
Over the course of a decade, the amount of businesses founded by women has doubled and the average seed round for their companies have more than tripled. Women are recognizing the inequalities that exist in entrepreneurship — and they’re not giving up until they’re gone.
But at the moment, gender gaps still exist. Female founders only own 39 cents in equity per dollar owned by a male founder. And yet, companies led by women tend to perform better, achieving as much as 63% higher ROI.
Today, we’re celebrating diversity by highlighting six modern women entrepreneurs who have founded massively successful brands in the United States. Keep reading to the end to meet some of the rising female founders right in our coworking space.
1. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey’s name can be found on virtually any list of leading women entrepreneurs because that’s exactly how successful and influential she is. Everyone knows who she is with just a first-name mention.
Winfrey may have been fired from her first TV gig for being too emotionally invested, but she turned her empathy into an empire. She went from hit talk show host to the founder of an entire cable channel, and from a magazine creator to the top Black philanthropist in American history.
Winfrey has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and honored in hundreds, if not thousands, of other ways.
She’ll also forever be the subject of a classic meme, which is an accomplishment we think is worth mentioning.
2. Sara Blakely
Spanx is an iconic clothing brand that is to shapewear what Kleenex is to facial tissues and Band-Aid is to bandages. Spanx is shapewear. The founder, CEO and inventor behind the brand — Sara Blakely — is fittingly one of the most well-known women entrepreneurs of today.
In 2012, Blakely became Forbes’ youngest self-made female billionaire, as her products continued to rise in popularity. She’s also a co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, which is a perfect example of diversifying your income if we’ve ever heard one.
Blakely isn’t just boosting the confidence of women (and apparently, the careers of basketball players) every day. She’s also the founder of the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation, which donates millions to support underserved women and girls, in part by giving grants to women entrepreneurs. More Sara Blakelys are in the making thanks to Sara Blakely!
3. Martine Rothblatt
We’d be remiss to create a list of top women entrepreneurs without including one of the most prominent transgender founders (and tech leaders in general) around. Martine Rothblatt has a long list of achievements, from co-founding SiriusXM to founding United Therapeutics, a hugely successful biotech company that literally saved her daughter’s life.
She’s also earned titles like America’s highest paid female CEO and highest paid transgender CEO. Despite facing criticisms, having been publicly transgender since the 90s, Rothblatt persisted and remains one of Forbes’ top self-made women in the U.S.
We’re pretty sure Rothblatt is a superwoman because she also led the invention of the world’s first all-electric helicopter. What’s next, inventing the world’s first time travel machine? Just remember where you read that first.
4. Katrina Lake
The founder and CEO of Stitch Fix, a subscription-based fashion brand, Katrina Lake is one of the few (but increasing) female founders who have taken their companies to unicorn status. She’s also the youngest woman to take their company public — ever.
In 2019, Lake’s personal net worth grew by $45 million, just days after already making it onto Forbes’ Self-Made Women list. Women are increasingly succeeding outside of fashion and beauty, but we’re glad Lake and Blakely are proving that women aren’t going to stop dominating in the industry either.
Lake has also been a huge figure for working mothers, taking 16 weeks of maternity leave and going viral for bringing her son along to celebrate Stitch Fix’s IPO.
5. Sofía Vergara
You may have known Sofía Vergara as the highest paid TV star in the U.S., but she’s not solely raking in millions from her career in acting. Vergara is also the co-founder of Latin World Entertainment, a multi-million dollar media company that works with Pepsi, Disney, Univision and more.
LatinWE greatly contributes to greater diversity in the entertainment space as the top Hispanic talent management and marketing firm in the industry.
More recently, Vergara launched EBY, an underwear subscription company that contributes 10% of net sales to providing small loans to help women fund their businesses. What’s not to like about women entrepreneurs who give back?
Vergara also reportedly has plans to invest in tech and is always using her personal brand to land huge endorsement deals and launch product lines, too.
6. Reshma Saujani
She’s a lawyer, an activist and the founder of the game-changing global nonprofit Girls Who Code. Reshma Saujani is a well-known STEM leader who’s helping close the gender gap through educational programs across all 50 U.S. states and throughout the world.
Even before she founded Girls Who Code, Saujani broke barriers in politics as the first Indian American woman to run for U.S. Congress. Today, she is an international best-selling author and award-winning podcaster who has been recognized by almost every major business magazine you can think of.
Like our own founder Jenny Poon, Saujani is an outspoken daughter of refugees. She now serves on the Board of Overseers for the International Rescue Committee, which provides global humanitarian aid.
Need a dose of inspiration from this woman entrepreneur and nonprofit leader? Watch her viral TED Talk on teaching girls bravery.
Rising women entrepreneurs in CO+HOOTS
Now that we’ve highlighted just a few of the most successful women entrepreneurs in the United States, we’ll highlight some of the rising leaders in our space.
A solid 50% of our coworking community is made up of women, which means we get to see tons of badass entrepreneurs paving the way in Phoenix each and every day. Here are a few founders who are bringing their ideas to life, straight from CO+HOOTS:
- Erica Scott, founder of Civilian Connections, a a Human Resource agency that specializes in creating strategic hiring programs for employers focusing on veteran talent.
- Melanie Isaacs, founder of Pal Experiences, an award-winning social enterprise that supports people with non-visible disabilities.
- Jennifer Mansfield, founder of JJMansfield, a client-focused tax and accounting provider that’s a division of her Tucson-based CPA firm.
- Marisha Mets, founder of SLP Now, a company that provides speech language pathologists a community, resources and tools to streamline their case management load. SLP Now has one of the largest speech language pathologist membership communities in the nation
- Tracy Snider, founder of Sans, a company that created vacuum bottles that preserves smoothies, shakes, juices and more keeping its contents fresh for a longer period of time. Sans bottles have been featured on Oprah Mag and HSN.
- Marilyn Rodriguez, owner of Creosote Partners, a progressive lobbying, government relations and legislative advocacy firm.
- Jenny Poon, the founder of CO+HOOTS, our incredible coworking community that has been honored as the No. 4 coworking space in the U.S. and No. 9 in the world. Because of her, we have a site for this blog post (among other things)!
Want to get some inspiring pieces of advice, straight from some incredible business women we love? Read five must-know lessons from women in leadership on our blog.