50 Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs

women entrepreneurs

Photo: Young Entrepreneur

We’re thrilled to announce the latest issue of Self-Made Magazine, which launched last week, and we’re especially excited about our cover story, “50 Women Entrepreneurs Who Inspire Us.”While gender is hopefully becoming less and less of an issue in today’s business world, and while every entrepreneur who achieves success is inspiring, we recognise that women still have many unique obstacles to overcome as entrepreneurs, and we wanted to recognise those who have broken through barriers and found the ultimate success in entrepreneurship! 

Here is our blog version of this inspiring story.  Please help us congratulate these women and honour their inspiring stories by spreading this post around.

This post originally appeared at Young Entrepreneur and is republished here with permission.

Sarah Prevette – Sprouter.com

An entrepreneur long immersed in the startup community, Sarah has a firsthand familiarity with the common pitfalls of early stage startups and a grasp of the tips and tools that foster success. Sarah is the founder of Sprouter.com, and the Twestival organiser for Toronto.

Twitter: @sarahprevette

Paola De Leo – Brightwide.com

Formerly of Amnesty International, Paola De Leo is the co-founder of Brightwide.com with actor, Colin Firth. Brightwide.com is a platform where you can watch the best social and political cinema online. The mission of Brightwide is to Watch, Think, Link, Act.

Diane Heavin – Curves

With her husband Gary, Diane Heavin founded the fitness chain, Curves in 1992. The chain has since grown into the world's largest fitness franchise, with nearly 10,000 in over 70 countries. The company, which serves over 4 million members, is about strengthening women, as their motto states.

Genevieve Thiers – SitterCity.com

Genevieve Thiers is the founder of SitterCity.com, the $5 million Inc. 500 company that matches service providers with service seekers in the areas of babysitting, housekeeping, tutoring, and more. Based in Chicago, the site hosts over a million profiles and provides services coast to coast.

Twitter: @genevievethiers

Louise Hay – Hay House, Inc.

Known as one of the founders of the self-help movement, Louise Hay is an accomplished author and publisher. Her company, Hay House Publishing, has published books for some of the leaders in self-help, including Dr. Wayne Dyer and Jerry and Ester Hicks, selling millions of copies worldwide.

Twitter: @louisehay

Suze Orman – Suze Orman Media, Inc.

Gina Rinehart – Hancock Prospecting, Pty Ltd

As chairman of Hancock Prospecting, one of Australia's leading mining companies, Gina Rinehart was the recipient of the 2009 Commonwealth Bank Business Owner Award, the 2009 Telstra West Australian Business Woman of the Year award. She has enjoyed numerous other business achievements as well and is credited with being the world's first female billionaire.

Maxine Clark – Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.

Maxine Clark served as the President and Chief Merchandising Officer at Payless Shoesource, Inc. prior to starting Build-A-Bear Workshop. The company has over 340 stores all over the world and has annual revenues of over $120 million.

Twitter: @chiefexecbear

Robin Koval – Kaplan Thaler Group, Ltd

Rachel Ray – Rachel Ray Digital, LLC

Rachel Ray is the Emmy Award winning host of three Food Network shows as well as her own daytime talk show. Additionally, she has authored a number of books and has a magazine, Every Day with Rachel Ray.

Twitter: @rachael_ray

Julie Aigner-Clark – Baby Einstein

A perfect example of finding a need and filling it, Julie Aigner-Clark founded Baby Einstein in 1998 when she was unable to find educational videos for her infant daughter. After seeing revenues of nearly $10 million in 2000, Aigner-Clark sold her company to the Walt Disney Company.

Nancy Evans – iVillage.com

Nancy Evans is co-founder of iVillage.com: The Women's Network. The company, begun in 1995, provides effective solutions to everyday challenges facing women in their many roles as professionals, parents, friends and partners. iVillage was acquired by NBC Universal, Inc. in 2006.

Ashley Qualls – Whatever Life

In 2004, at the age of 14, Ashley Qualls started a website called WhateverLife.com, which was designed to provide free MySpace layouts and HTML tutorials for teens. The popular website, still true to its original theme, gets an average of 60 million page views per month from 7 million unique visitors.

Twitter: @ASHBO

Lisa Druxman – Stroller Strides

Stroller Strides, Lisa Druxman's brainchild, was started out of a need for Lisa to stay fit right after having her first child. She started the business from her home in San Diego, and now the company boasts over 300 franchises nationwide.

Twitter: @lisadruxman

Catherine Cook – MyYearbook.com

At the age of 15, Catherine Cook co-founded MyYearbook.com, a social networking site that enables its 20 million plus members to meet new people. Currently a student at Georgetown University, Catherine has been reported on extensively by CNBC, MTV, ABC News, Fox News, BusinessWeek, the San Francisco Chronicle, and CBS.

Twitter: @myYearbook

Nely Galán – Galán Entertainment

Nely Galán launched her company, Galán Entertainment, in 1994 to create multi-platform content, specializing in the Latino market. To date, Galán is the only producer to have simultaneous hit shows in English and Spanish in the U.S. Galán has also appeared as a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.

Eilleen Gittins – Blurb.com

Eileen Gittins is the founder and CEO of Blurb.com, a print-on-demand publishing startup that went from $1 million to $30 million in two years. Prior to founding Blurb, Eileen was CEO of Personify.com, VP at Wall Data, and has lived and worked all over the world.

Twitter: @eilg

Juliette Brindak – MissOandFriends.com

One of the most inspiring stories on our list, Juliette Bindak founded her company, Miss O and Friends, at the age of 10. By the time she was 19, just last year, the company had a value of more than $15 million. She also published her first book at the age of 16, which has sold over 120,000 copies.

Twitter: @missoandfriends

Arianna Huffington – The Huffington Post

Named as one of Forbes' Most Influential Women in Media in 2009, Arianna Huffington is the founder of The Huffington Post. Prior to The Huffington Post, Huffington hosted a website called Ariannaonline.com. Her first foray into the Internet was a website called Resignation.com, which called for the resignation of President Bill Clinton.

Twitter: @ariannahuff

Carrie Wilkerson – Barefoot Marketing Group

Carrie Wilkerson, known as The Barefoot Executive, is the founder of Barefoot Marketing Group, where Carrie and her network of experts have quickly become the definitive resource for work at home professionals. (Check out our interview with Carrie -- here.)

Twitter: @barefoot_exec

Mari Smith – MariSmith.com

Gabrielle Bernstein – Gabrielle Bernstein Inc.

Ali Brown – Ali International

recognised on the 2009 Inc 500 list and recipient of the 2010 Enterprising Women of the Year award, Ali Brown is a true entrepreneur. She quit her job in 1998 and was down to less than $20 when she wrote an e-book, and everything changed. She has since become a foremost authority in driving sales and marketing via e-mail publishing, and even publishes her own magazine, Ali.

Twitter: @alibrownla

Gina Bianchini – Ning.com

After Harmonic Communications, a company she co-founded, was acquired by Dentsu, Gina Bianchini co-founded Ning, an online platform for people to create their own social networks. Ning was launched in 2005 and has since raised over $104 million in capital and has become a top 100 global website and one of the world's most valuable start-ups.

Twitter: @ginab

Loral Langemeier – LiveOutLoud.com

After reaching a net worth of $1 million, Loral Langemeier decided she would start Live Out Loud, a coaching and seminar company to help others reach this same level of success. The company started small with one office in 2002 and within 5 years grew to a $19 million dollar company. She is also the resident money expert on the Dr. Phil Show.

Twitter: @loral

Daryn Kagan – DarynKagan.com

Sara Blakely – Spanx

Amilya Antonetti – Lucky Napkin

Paula Deen – Paula Deen Enterprises

Susan Handley – Beijo Bags

Susan Handley first started designing handbags when she was 10 years old. Now, Beijo Bags provides opportunities for over 1000 independent sales reps all over the US and Canada to have fun and make money, selling top quality handbags and accessories. The company currently produces over $25 million in annual sales.

Twitter: @mybeijo

Kate Everett Thorp – Divine Caroline (Real Girls Media)

Named one of the Top 25 Women to Watch by Advertising Age, Kate Everett Thorp has masterminded a media network for women, called Real Girls Media. She has received numerous accolades, including Real Girls Media being named in OnMedia's Top 100 Companies list.

Twitter: @DivineCaroline

Janet Rickstrew – Tomboy Tools

After attending a Pampered Chef party 2000, Janet Rickstrew saw an opportunity for a similar concept with tools designed just for women, and Tomboy Tools was born. The company started with less than 1,000 square feet of warehouse space and now operates a 13,000 square-foot distribution facility on Denver's West Side. Their Hammer Out Breast Cancer campaign has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Twitter: @TomboyToolsInc

Doris Christopher – The Pamper

Inspired by her dedication to preserving the tradition of family mealtimes and driven by the spirit of entrepreneurialism, Doris Christopher founded The Pampered Chef from the basement of her suburban Chicago home in 1980. Within 20 years, the company had blossomed into a $700 million enterprise, and was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2002.

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin – Tribe, Inc.

Gina Trapani – Lifehacker

An award-winning author, blogger, and programmer, Gina Trapani was the founding editor of Lifehacker.com, a blog that offers 'Tips and downloads for getting things done'. Her writing has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Wired, PC World, Fast Company, Maximum PC, and Macworld magazines. Wired magazine awarded her its prestigious Rave Award in 2006, and in 2009 and 2010, Fast Company named her one of the Most Influential Women in Technology.

Twitter: @ginatrapani

Sarah Maria – Break Free Beauty

Founder of Break Free Beauty, Sarah Maria is a body-image expert and entrepreneur who helps people love their bodies no matter how they look. Maria has trained with well-known teachers and physicians, including Deepak Chopra, Dr. David Simon, Wayne Dyer, and Jack Canfield, among others. Her book, Love Your Body, Love Your Life, published in 2009 has received rave reviews.

Twitter: @SarahMaria

Roni Lynn Deutch – Roni Deutch, A Professional Tax Corporation

With huge amounts of student debt to her name, Roni Deutch opened up the Law Offices of Roni Deutch from a small one bedroom condo in West Sacramento over 19 years ago. She maxed out a credit card to pay for her first television commercial, which aired on the noon news in Sacramento. Today, Roni Deutch, A Professional Tax Corporation is the nation's largest tax resolution law firm, and Roni, who contributes regularly in magazines and TV, is a recognised authority on US tax law.

Twitter: @ronideutch

Vicki Donlan – Author, Her Turn: Why It's Time for Women to Lead in America

At a young age, Vicki Donlan exhibited entrepreneurial tendencies. She put on backyard circuses at age 7 and led neighbourhood kids in a babysitting coop at age 11. As an adult, Vicki has started businesses in diet consulting, PR & Marketing consulting, and publishing, profiling women in business over a multi-state area.

Twitter: @vickidonlan

Tamara Monosoff – Mominvented.com

Tamara Monosoff is the founder and CEO of mum Inventors, Inc., a company with three branded elements: consumer products with the mum Invented trademark; an online community, providing information, interaction, and inspiration; and educational offerings for women entrepreneurs, produced by Tamara, a best-selling author, columnist, and consummate entrepreneur. Tamara has been honored with numerous awards, such as one of the Top 10 Influential Women of the East Bay, Small Business Person of the Year, and Woman Entrepreneur of the Year.

Twitter: @mominventors

Lesley Spencer Pyle – HBWM.com, Inc.

In 1995, after the birth of her first child, Lesley Spencer Pyle founded HBWM (Home-Based Working mums), a professional association and online community of parents who work at home and those who would like to. The company is comprised of six websites that help people realise their dream of staying home while making a living as an entrepreneur.

Twitter: @lesleypyle

Lisa Stone – BlogHer

Nancy J. Price – She Knows

In 1999, Nancy J Price co-founded SheKnows.com, one of the nation's largest all-around women's general interest Internet communities. In the midst of starting several businesses and launching several award-winning websites, Nancy also served as editor-in-chief of four national print magazines. She now serves as SheKnows.com's executive editor.

Twitter: @sheknows

Liz McKinley – Pinnacle Petroleum, Inc.

Liz McKinley founded Pinnacle Petroleum in 1995, after working in the petroleum industry for several years prior to that. Today, Pinnacle generates over $130 million in annual revenues and operates in a six-state area as a petroleum wholesaler and distributor. Liz has received a number of awards for her entrepreneurialism, including the Entrepreneur of the Year award by the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Penelope Trunk – Brazen Careerist

Penelope Trunk, former professional beach volleyball player and Fortune 500 company marketing department head, is the founder of 3 internet startups. Her most recent venture, Brazen Careerist, is a professional network and career management tool for next-generation professionals. Penelope's career advice appears in more than 200 newspapers.

Twitter: @penelopetrunk

Alison Maslan – Alison Maslan International, Inc

Alison Maslan is an author, life and career coach, homeopath, international speaker, and founder of the Homeopathic Wellness centre in Encitas, California. Alison is also the creator and president of The Blast Off! Life Coaching Program, which she developed to help people learn to identify and release self-limiting roadblocks, and to share a solution- and strategy-oriented roadmap for creating more prosperous lives.

Twitter: @AlisonMaslan

Christian Rucker – The White Company

In 1994, Christian Rucker founded The White Company after identifying a gap in the market for beautiful, affordable home accessories in white. Originally a mail-order catalogue, The White Company produces eight brochures a year, operates highly successful website, has over 450,000 customers, and has become one of the UK's fastest growing multi-channel retailers.

Melissa Greczy – Project Gifted and The Doman Advantage

After taking a college course called Accounting for Real Estate Millionaires, Melissa Greczy knew that she would never be an employee again--and she hasn't looked back since. She made her first million in real estate by the age of 23, and is the co-founder of both Project Gifted and The Doman Advantage.

Twitter: @ProjectGiftED

Doe Deere – Lime Crime Makeup

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