Female entrepreneurship continues to decline according to a recent statistic from the 2015 Kauffman Index.
“Since the 1997 Index, the share of new entrepreneurs who were females has fallen from 43.7 percent to 36.8 percent,” stated the report.
To bring some good news back to the world of female entrepreneurship, and to inspire you to reach for your dreams no matter what, I’ve compiled a list of 5 women entrepreneurs who are fantastic, strong and brilliant in their own ways.
Read on and be inspired! Let’s turn that statistic around next year.
- Malala Yousafzai. Many people know Malala’s incredible story. After a tragic run-in with the Taliban, during which she was shot in the head, Malala rose to the forefront in the fight for women’s education. She was the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and she was named one of The 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine for three years in a row. While she focuses on building a worldwide activist platform rather than a business, Malala has proven to be an innovative, brilliant and strong individual with bold entrepreneurial skills.
- Seema Hingorani. After a massively successful 20-year career in the asset management industry, Hingorani left her role as interim chief investment officer of New York City Retirement Systems to focus on a worthy cause: Bringing more women into investment banking. She began the non-profit organization Girls Who Invest, and works to diversify the historically male-dominated field. Along with her equally awesome CEO Kathleen Powers Dunlap, Hingorani hopes to have “30% of the world’s investable capital managed by women by 2030.”
- Judith Faulkner. Billionaire Judith Faulkner is the founder and CEO of EPIC Systems, which focuses on electronic medical records. Her company is impressive, with clients like CVS and Mayo Clinic—but that’s not the only cool thing about it. Faulkner built her company from the ground up with a startup capital of $6,000. Yes, that’s the right amount of zeroes. On top of that, EPIC is still self-funded to this day, and is privately and employee-owned—and Faulkner intends to keep it that way.
- Catalina Girald. Lingerie with heart. That’s what Girald created the lingerie company Naja to be, along with her co-founder Gina Rodriguez (Golden-Globe winner and star of Jane The Virgin). As CEO and Creative Director, Girald works to support and celebrate women, rather than objectifying them. The lingerie is beautiful, but there’s an even more important story behind its making: in Naja’s Columbia-based garment factory, you’ll find single mothers and female heads of households working for above-market wages that include healthcare benefits.
- Anita Darden Gardyne is the co-founder and CEO of Onēva, a company that provides customizable care services for children and the elderly in the San Francisco area. In addition to being an astute businesswoman, Gardyne uses her voice and her experience to speak to the lack of African-American entrepreneurs, and the roadblocks they experience while trying to start businesses.
Hopefully, these five strong and powerful women have encouraged you to take steps toward your own entrepreneurial dream. Who are you favorite inspiring entrepreneurs? Let me know in the comments.