Female entrepreneurs continue to break glass ceilings year over year. 2018 saw a global investment of nearly $40 billion in companies with at least one female founder, a stark contrast to the $19.8 billion invested the year prior. Within one year, the global economy more than doubled its investment in companies with female founders.
Not only are we seeing greater investment in companies with a female-founder, but we are also seeing these companies outperform all-male founded companies. First Round Capital recently reported that out of their investment portfolio, companies with a female founder performed 63% better than companies with all-male founders.
Furthermore, Nasdaq’s recent proposal of requiring companies to have at least two diverse directors, including one woman and one minority or LGBTQ, is showing that the global market titan is ready to put its money where its mouth is in backing female entrepreneurial involvement.
2021 is looking bright for the women of the world who are pushing forth with their entrepreneurial feats, and we’ve highlighted 11 powerhouses that will be shattering glass ceilings and inspiring other women in the year to come.
Author, Researcher Professor, and Motivational Speaker
Brene Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the most transformative, insightful, and heartfelt TED talks ever created. Being one of the most-watched TED talks of all time with over 50 million views, the video shares a powerful message: “you’re imperfect and wired for struggle, but worthy of love and belonging.” Her beautiful insights, such as, “one must willingly give in to vulnerability to experience something beautiful,” has been life-changing for millions. Brene has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy as a research professor at the University of Houston. Today, she’s the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers, culminating a seven-year study on courage and leadership.
The vulnerability expert continues to move the world with her valuable insights and is the first researcher ever to partner with Netflix in 2019 for a one-hour special: “The Call to Courage.” Through her podcast, “Unlocking Us,” Brene continues to impact the world with the weight of her words through sharing real, unpolished, and honest stories about what it means to be human. As a researcher, educator, and inspiration, Brene Brown is a powerhouse who will continue sharing with the world immense value
Visit her website here
Founder of Smart Sweets
Before reinventing the candy aisle, Tara Bosch was a 21-year-old university student with a sweet tooth, leading to an unhealthy relationship with food. Her sugar cravings were slowly chipping away at her body image, self-esteem, and confidence. This frustration gradually gave birth to Smart Sweets which boasts the motto of Kick Sugar, Keep Candy.
In 2015 Tara began a quest to find a smarter way to eat candy and started testing out different recipes after ordering a gummy mold off amazon. After experimenting with a seemingly endless amount of recipes, she was victorious in making a delicious candy – sans sugar – using natural ingredients like plant-based fibers and the natural sweetener stevia, officially launching the company in 2016. By 2020, Tara sold a majority stake of Smart Sweets for a reported $360 million, while remaining the largest individual shareholder of the company. The 26-year-old Canadian entrepreneur has come a long way in a short time, and we suspect she has more up her sleeve in the years to come.
Scope out her candy creations here
Founder of Spanx
What started as “footless pantyhose” is now a revolutionary invention that forever changed women’s shapewear. Sara Blakely started the company Spanx after cutting off the feet to her stockings to wear under a pair of cream pants. The footless pantyhose felt great, made her look slim, and it helped her feel confident in her skin. That moment was the beginning of a journey that would change women’s lives when it came to shapewear. She instantly recognized that this was something all women needed to have. After being denied by every industry representative, Sara did not give up on her mission. From what was once labeled as a “crazy idea” to now a billion-dollar business, Sara’s journey reiterates that no dream is too big to come true.
Sara had never taken a business class or worked in fashion or retail, but had been selling fax machines door-to-door when she started Spanx as a side hustle from her apartment in Atlanta. Through Spanx, she solved women’s wardrobe woes by making intimates that made women feel beautiful about their bodies. Having built Spanx as a globally renowned brand, Sarah is ranked as one of the richest self-made women in the country. Her advice to women is inspiring: “Be the CEO your parents always wanted you to marry!”
Scroll through her products Here
Founder of Clearbank
Named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women, Michele Romanow is a serial tech entrepreneur. Through Clearbanc, she has invested more than $1B into 3,300 companies, making them the world’s biggest e-commerce investor. Clearbanc is the fastest, most affordable way for founders to fund their business. The brand’s data-driven approach has allowed the company to invest in more female-founded business than any other company. Listed as the only Canadian on Forbes’ “Millennial on a Mission” list, Michele’s secret to success lies in the philosophy of “start now and fix later.”
She launched the first-ever zero-consumer waste coffee shop while studying at university and founded three other companies before 30. Learning at a young age that success demands consistency, Michele advises all young entrepreneurs not to wait to get started as “there’s no better time than now.”
Michele is driven with enormous energy to lead and grow successful ventures, making her one of the youngest hosts on the show Dragon’s Den. Michele continues to work with the world’s leading brands such as Netflix, Starbucks, and Cirque du Soleil creating digital solutions.
Visit her LinkedIn Here
Founder of Growmotely
Sarah Hawley’s relentless efforts to make remote-work both achievable and attainable for all professionals will be taking flight in 2021 with the launch of Growmotely, a revolutionary remote work platform matching skilled professionals with growing companies. By making long-term remote jobs available to professionals seeking fulfilling work that’s location independent, the company provides freedom and security.
As the Founder and CEO of Growmotely, Sarah is crusading the remote work movement, dramatically impacting the industry with her commitment to creating a better way. The serial entrepreneur brings to her position at Growmotley over a decade of experience founding and launching an impressive total of 8 companies (all of which she’s run remotely since 2014).
Why do we love Sarah? Because she says things like “(I’m) personally fueled by a passion for challenging the status quo of how we work, conscious culture and leadership, community, diversity and equality, and living life on one’s own terms.” As both a Professional Speaker and Published Author, Sarah uses her voice to spread her values, and her recognition as one of Melbourne’s Top 100 most influential, inspiring, and creative citizens as well as Shoestring’s Top 50 Female Entrepreneurs Under 40 shows her voice is being heard! Sarah is ensuring the future will be bright, and we cannot wait to watch her light it up.
See her latest and greatest here
Founder of Knix
Joanna Griffiths, founder and CEO of Knix, is at the forefront of body positivity and inclusivity. After giving birth to her newborn, Joanna struggled to breastfeed her baby and couldn’t help but feel like a failure. It didn’t help that she had never seen women’s real and raw images during this time of their life. They were always photoshopped and curated to perfection. She took to Instagram to express her pain during this time. To her surprise, she got overwhelming support from women sharing the same problem as her. This incident birthed the idea of leak-proof underwear that brought together a community of millions of women in sharing the raw narrative about life after childbirth.
In just six years, Knix has become one of the industry’s leading brands, with one Knix item being sold every ten seconds. Joanna credits her brand’s success to the impact they’re creating on women’s lives. She believes her secret to success was to have a larger purpose that helps millions of people. Admitting that though this wasn’t the sexiest idea she had for a product, it has managed to change women’s lives forever. Joanna wants to continue to reach new markets by continually listening to women’s real problems and creating revolutionary solutions. In addition to making legendary intimate wear, Joanna features women’s real stories through Faces of Fertility and The Life After Birth Project; the Knix community is the brand’s beating heart.
Search her creations here
Founder of Jillian Harris Design & The Jilly Box
Jillian Harris is an iconic household name who began her career as an interior designer, proving to have an impeccable eye when she was hired by the Cactus Club Cafe restaurant chain as their official designer in 2006, and later brought on to design Browns Socialhouse. Her career was launched into the limelight in 2009 when she was a contestant on The Bachelor, a show which she eventually hosted herself as The Bachelorette.
Today, Jillian has combined her love and talent for interior design with her experience as a public icon in growing her personal brand, Jillian Harris. Her brand is a mixture of interior design, collaboration projects, and lifestyle tips inspiring a massive audience. Recently, Jillian launched The Jilly Box, which contains her favorite products available at a fraction of the price. We love Jillian Harris for her ability to apply her skills to a variety of industries, from interior design, to television, to product branding – she really is a woman who sees no limits and we cannot wait to see what other surprises she has in store for us in 2021.
See what she’s up to Here
Co-Founder of In Power University
Have you struggled to bring your inner-dreams and desires to life?
Anniston Riekstins is a Spiritual Teacher and Success Coach who guides individuals to create their purpose-driven business using a Flow vs. Force system. She’s made it her mission to help millions of budding entrepreneurs bring their unique gifts and purpose out into the world and her immersive courses are built to serve as a launchpad towards success.
Stepping fully into your purpose and committing to share it with the world requires a balanced approach of spiritual practices and modern-day strategies. Anniston has taught hundreds of clients how to connect to their own internal guidance system before taking powerful inspired action. The result is an abundant business that flows with ease vs. feeling disempowered by competition, lack, and challenges.
Today Anniston is the Co-Founder of InPower University where she facilitates private and group coaching programs alongside her husband and fellow coach, Rudi Riekstins. She’s also the Co-Founder of Divine Awakening Space, a spiritual lifestyle brand with the mission to provide daily inspiration and reminders for individuals seeking spiritual growth and self-mastery.
We are excited to see the change she brings about in 2021.
Visit her website here
Soulful Success Coach for High-Performance Women Leaders
For the high performing female hustlers out there… ever feel like you have to scale back your awesomeness for fear that it might be too much for others to handle? We might be entering 2021, but that hasn’t changed a vast amount of societal norms that dictate HOW a woman is supposed to act. Stacy Raske is a bad*ss female who has recognized the challenges women face every day in reigning back their superpowers as to not overstep. The Iraq War Veteran, entrepreneur, bestselling author, public speaker, and coach is not afraid to let her awesomeness shine and is coaching others on how to do the same.
Through helping others to uncover their power as an authentic Alpha Woman, Stacy is helping thousands of women from all walks of life reclaim their superpowers that society has forced them to suppress. 2021 is providing us the opportunity to press reset on the past, Stacy Raske is the female entrepreneur to not only help you press the reset button, but she’ll be there to guide you through the next amazing phase of your life that sees you tapping into your full power, pleasure, purpose, and prosperity.
Check out her programs Here
Founder of Artisan Farmacy
Are you hungry to reach elevated states of consciousness and awaken your highest purpose? It’s no secret we live in chaotic times, which can provide opportunities for massive healing and transformation if we are open. In recognizing this, Corene Summers, CEO and founder of Artisan Farmacy, is helping others rise above their deepest challenges and thrive through cultivating their own unique “farmacy” of tools and rituals that activate inner peace, strength, and power. Driven by the mission to share Ancient Wisdom with the Modern World, Corene is a powerful energy healer and Reiki Master helping others to explore freedom and health, teaching them to cultivate a life of high vibes that is unique to their needs and goals. Her unrivaled expertise as an Executive Wellness & Mindfulness Coach is proven by the 100K individuals her work has impacted.
Through her recently launched membership program, The Frequency Shifters CommUNITY for Healing Souls, Corene is sharing with members how to live life at its maximum potential. With 55+ Audio and Video exercises, 11+ EBook downloads, monthly ancient wisdom workshops, 2x Weekly LIVE Sessions with Q&A’s, and unlimited access to material anytime & anywhere, members are provided with an extensive kit of tools, resources, and expert guidance to heal past trauma, overcome pain, and cultivate a life they can fall in love with.
Check out Corene’s CommUNITY today.
Spiritual Author and Lightworker
For those who struggle with matters of the heart, including love and relationships, Cassady Cayne has dedicated her life’s work to create solutions to such struggles. The best-selling spiritual author, energy love coach, and lightworker has helped thousands to unlock their inner light, empowering them along their path of self-discovery.
Cassady’s journey began with a spiritual awakening that unlocked her intuitive gift of energy healing. This led to the launch of her blog where she started sharing high vibrational channeled messages and resources with others in Ascension. From here, she curated a large following who practiced and benefited from her knowledge and advice. Today, Cassady has recently published her book, “The Universe Speaks, Are You Listening?” which shares 111 High Vibrational Messages, and she has recently launched her program, “The Love Blueprint teaching participants about how to heal underlying love blocks, childhood wounds and activate their heart’s power to attract and keep true love. Cassady’s sensational ability to turn her spiritual awakening into a platform on which she can speak to a growing following is why we believe her to be a female entrepreneur to follow in 2021.
Discover her programs here