The 30 Most Innovative Women in Fashion

The fashion industry has consistently been one of the most progressive businesses in the world, brimming with constant talent coming from all walks of life the world over.

Amidst the volume of aptitude within the industry, meet 30 women who managed to revolutionize, revitalize and create long-lasting impressions in the fashion world. From models to make-up artists to designers, these women were trailblazers in creating what we wear today and leaders in setting up the future for the next generation of fashion innovators.

30. Heidi Klum

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Heidi Klum first made her mark on the world of fashion as a super model with clients like Victoria Secret, and appearing on the cover of pop-culture mainstays like Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She moved into television as the host and executive producer of the innovative Emmy-nominated fashion reality hit, Project Runway. Klum didn’t stop there, she created Truly Scrumptious, a clothing line for kids, as well as designs for New Balance and numerous other clothing companies.

29. & 28. Kate and Laura Mulleavy

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Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy are the designers behind the clothing line, Rodarte. The Mulleavys are known for their craftsmanship and personal designs and had no formal training when they dreamed up their first designs at their parents’ kitchen table. Today, Rodarte is available globally at more than 40 retailers, including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Rodarte was awarded the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2009 and the brand was named one of Fast Company’s 50 Designers Shaping The Future in October 2012.

 

27. Rose Marie Bravo

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Rose Marie Bravo is the vice chairman and former CEO of the legendary label Burberry. Before going to Burberry, the Bronx native was the president of Saks Fifth Avenue department stores. At Burberry, Bravo was responsible for hiring Kate Moss and greatly increasing the company’s profit and product lines, effectively revamping it into a hip, updated line. Fortune Magazine ranked her #13 in its 2004 and 2005 lists of “The 50 most Powerful Women in Business”

 

26. Tyra Banks

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Tyra Banks is a supermodel who turned her runway success into a full on fashion empire. She broke boundaries in the industry as the first black woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. In 2003, Banks created and hosted America’s Next Top Model, a television show that had up and coming models vie for a career-making prize package. 20 seasons later, the show continues to draw audiences and set the stage more several other fashion reality shows to enter the industry.

 

25. Katharine Hamnett

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If you’ve ever worn a graphic T-shirt, you should learn the name Katharine Hamnett. What seems like an everyday throw on item was born the slogan T-shirt and pioneered by British activist Hamnett. Her oversized shirts with large block letters were adopted and worn by many bands including Queen. Graphic tees are now mainstream wear and Hamnett was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours, for services to the fashion industry.

 

24. Cathy Horyn

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Fashion journalist Cathy Horyn was The New York Times’ much-respected chief fashion critic of 15 years. Though sometimes controversial, Horyn was known for her quick-witted columns, fashion reporting and at times stinging reviews. She put her support behind multiple young designers and held to her own opinions even when they counteracted popular belief. Horyn has published a series of fashion books and contributed to multiple magazines such as Vanity Fair, and collaborated with publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and The International Herald Tribune.

23. Angela Ahrendts

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Although Angela Ahrendts is now a senior vice president of retail and online stores at Apple, she started out as a powerhouse in fashion. Ahrendts is credited with taking Burberry from an ailing fashion house to a revived luxury brand, and tripling its revenues. From Donna Karan to Henri Bendel to Liz Claiborne, Ahrendts has had a hand in some of the most prominent and successful brands in the industry. She was awarded The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a DBE for her services to British business.

 

22. Sarah Burton

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Sarah Burton is the creative director of famous British label Alexander McQueen, which she took over in 2010 after McQueen’s death. Burton managed to preserve the designer’s legacy but still add her own flare that gained her a prominent seat in the fashion industry. Burton went on to dress Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge for the royal wedding. Burton received The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her services to the fashion industry in late 2012.

21. Tamara Mellon

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Tamara Mellon is the cofounder and former president of shoe giant Jimmy Choo. With over 100 shops in 32 countries, Jimmy Choo’s impact on fashion footwear is as undeniable as Mellon’s business smarts. Starting out as an accessories editor at Vogue, before opening the first store in 1996. Mellon sold Jimmy Choo to luxury brand Labelux in 2011 and started an eponymous brand including clothing, bags and shoes.

 

20. Rosalía Mera

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Rosalia Mera is the late co-founder of retail giant Zara. At the time of her death Spain’s richest woman and the world’s richest self-made woman, Mera started humbly, dropping out of school at 11 to work as a seamstress. She and Amancio Ortega launched clothing manufacturing company Inditex and opened the first Zara store in Spain in 1975. In addition to its designs, Zara transformed the apparel industry by introducing mass-market variations of new designs from the major fashion houses within weeks of shows.

19. Pat McGrath

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The world of fashion would not be the same without the mesmerizing make-up of Pat McGrath. Although McGrath had no formal training, she rose quickly to be known as a top make-up artist and serves as creative design director of Procter & Gamble beauty. Recognized for her innovative and adventurous techniques, her looks are highly favored among top designers like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Lanvin, and grace over 25 catwalks every season. McGrath was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire, for services to the fashion and beauty industry in 2013.

18. Jessica Simpson

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Although her name is synonymous with music, Jessica Simpson is one of the most powerful women in fashion. In an industry where most celebrity lines don’t make the grade, Simpson’s eponymous brand, which started with shoes, has been wildly successful. Born out of a desire to reach the every-day woman, the Jessica Simpson Collection has grown to house over 30 product categories and earns over $1 billion annually, often outselling most runway designers several times over.

 

17. Franca Sozzani

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 Franca Sozzani is the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia and has been since 1988.   Sozzani is known for helping to create the idea of a supermodel, and diversifying the magazine. In her time at Vogue Italia, Sozzani oversaw “The Black Issue” celebrating black women, a “makeover” issue dedicated to plastic surgery and introducing plus size models to the magazine and website. Sozzani is also an author of books on photography, fashion, art and design and is a United Nations Goodwill ambassador.

 

16. Jeanne Lanvin

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Madame Jeanne Lanvin is the founder of the oldest but still one of the most relevant French fashion houses. She opened her first boutique in Paris in 1889 and is credited with making women’s fashion more youthful. She was also a thought leader for the concept of personal style and breaking away from the strict guidelines of women’s dress that dominated the time. Famous actresses of the day like actresses Marlene Dietrich and Mary Pickford sported Lanvin’s designs as do the most well known starlets of Hollywood today.

 

15. Sara Blakely

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 Sara Blakely changed the way women wear their clothes in a very innovative way. Blakely is the founder of Spanx, a line of shaping undergarments. Blakely took what started out as one product and transformed it into a mluti-million dollar business. Blakely’s product, still popular today, sold over 8,000 pairs in the first six minutes on home shopping channel QVC. As of 2014, Forbes listed Blakely as the 94th most powerful woman in the world.

 

14. Vivienne Westwood

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Dame Vivienne Westwood is a fashion legend and rightfully so. “Cutting edge and classic” is how fashion magazine, Vogue, describes Westwood’s aesthetic which was first present in a catwalk show in 1981. Outspoken and unapologetic, Westwood was inspired by the punk movement. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2006 for her contribution to fashion. A 2011 Greenall poll named her Britain’s Greatest British Fashion Designer, which she helped to validate with two British Designer of the Year awards.

 

13. Betsey Johnson

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Betsey Johnson did not originally aspire to be a fashion designer, but instead a dancer. After graduating from Syracuse University, Johnson took on the fashion world first starting at Mademoiselle as a guest editor before moving on to designing. After 10 years of designing for others, Johnson founded the now incredibly popular eponymous label, which is known for its unique, fun and quirky designs. Johnson was awarded the Timeless Talent Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

 

12. Vera Wang

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 Best known for bringing fashion to the bridal industry through her sophisticated bridal collections, designer Vera Wang has dressed celebrities like Chelsea Clinton and Hilary Duff. Before that, at only 23, she was the youngest fashion editor at Vogue, a company she stayed with for over 16 years. Born in New York to Chinese-American parents, she has expanded her brand name through her shoe, fragrance, jewelry, eyewear and house ware collections and authored a book in 2001.

 

11. Stella McCartney

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British fashion designer Stella McCartney made a name for herself in fashion despite having two famous musicians for parents. Making her own clothes by the time she was 13, McCartney became renowned for her sharp, simple tailoring and dedication to making clothes that looked good in real life, not just on the runway. McCartney also incorporates her animal rights beliefs into her designs, swapping fur and leather for plastic and fabric.

10. Valentina

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Valentina, who was one of the first designers to become known by her first name only, came to New York from Russia in 1923.  Valentina wore her own designs consisting of elegant, formfitting long-sleeved gowns, in contrast to the short, waist-less flapper dresses of the time.  She established Valentina Gowns in 1928 and attracted high-profile clients like Greta Garbo.  She also designed for theatre and actresses like Katherine Hepburn in the stage play, The Philadelphia Story which led to her recognition as one of the top U.S. couturiers and theatre costume designers.

 

9. Carolina Herrera

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Venezuelan-American designer Carolina Herrera known for her ladylike, refined style.  The socialite tested the fashion waters in 1980 with a small collection of dresses made by her seamstress in Caracas and by 1981 presented her full collection.  In addition to being a socialite whose fashion influenced women around the world, she proved herself as a designer dressing first ladies from Jacqueline Onassis to Michelle Obama.   In 2008, she was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

8. Natalie Massenet

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Natalie Massenet changed the way designer fashion was retailed with her designer fashion portal Net-a-Porter, a website in magazine format for selling fashion.  What started off as a low-key business with boxes stacked in Massenet’s bathroom in 2000, grew to an operation employing over 2,300 in 2013.   In that same year Massenet took over the British Fashion Council and was named Woman of the Year by US Glamour magazine. In 2014, she was named as one of the 100 most influential people by Time.

 

7. Elsa Schiaparelli

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Born in Italy, Elsa Schiaparelli moved to Paris and begun her career as a designer after working in New York, soon to be one of the most influential designers in the world.  Her clothing defined the fashion of the ‘20s and ‘30s and she dressed the stars of the day.  She infused art into her clothing design and was rivals with contemporary Chanel. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art featured her work in an exhibit in 2012.

 

6. Donatella Versace

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Born into a family of designers, Donatella Versace became creative director of the Versace group after her brother Gianni Versace’s death in 1997. Known for her fun and often wild personality, Versace uniquely used her celebrity friends to become to face of Versace and rebuilding the brand and catapulting it to success. Versace was able to come out from her brother’s shadow and triumph on the runway, designing pieces that are still often worn by celebrities.

 

 

5. Donna Karan

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Donna Karan is highly regarded as one of the most influential fashion designers in the world. Karan started in a summer job for Anne Klein was soon named an associate designer. She left Anne Klein and debuted her own line in 1985, following it up with DKNY, a more affordable fashion line. Karan is known for designing modern clothes for modern people, and bringing chic high-end style mainstream. Karan was the 2004 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

 

4. Diane Von Fürstenberg

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Diane Von Fürstenberg’s name is synonymous with her iconic wrap dress, which transformed American women’s fashion with its versatility and elegance. The designer began her career in 1970 and shortly after was added to the calendar for New York Fashion Week. She was heralded as “the most marketable female in fashion since Coco Chanel.” As of 2014, Forbes lists her as the 68th most powerful woman in the world. She has been the president of the President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 2006.

 

3. Anna Wintour

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Anna Wintour is the editor-in-chief of American Vogue since 1988 and arguably one of the most powerful voices in fashion today. Wintour started out in the fashion department of Harper’s & Queen in London and rose up the editorial ladder at several magazines including becoming fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Wintour’s eye for trends and encouragement of young designers and artists are as well-known as her reputation for being a tough leader with a chilly demeanor.

2. Miuccia Prada

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Miuccia Prada is the Italian fashion designer behind Miu Miu and Prada.  Prada started out with her first handbag design in 1985 and its simple, chic and functional design launched a massive worldwide craze that established Prada.  By 1989 she released her first line of clothing and followed it with Miu Miu, a more affordable brand modeled after her personal style, in 1992.  Armed with a doctorate in Political Science, Forbes listed her as the 75th most powerful woman in the world in 2014.

 

1. Coco Chanel

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Fashion designer Coco Chanel changed the way women dressed by freeing them with her choice of cuts and fabrics.  She also infused menswear for women with her chic suits, creating a trend that continues to be popular today.  Her empire soon spawned a still-popular fragrance, Chanel No. 5 and the little black dress in 1926, which made her an international sensation then and now, more than a century later.  Her numerous contributions to numerous areas of the fashion industry allowed her to be the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

 

About the Author

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Raecine Williams received her Bachelor’s from the University of Miami and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Journalism at the University of Maryland College Park.  She writes for the Prince George’s Sentinel and Nirvana Magazine and has worked in various capacities in her native island of Jamaica. In her spare time she runs a clothing line called Wild/Free and loves to travel.

 

30 Women Entrepreneurs Making a Difference in the Community

The challenge of starting your own business as a woman is overwhelming enough.  Combining that urge for entrepreneurship with the desire to make the world a better place can prove even more challenging.

Meet 30 women who managed to do both.  Some started businesses directly geared at social change, while some founded philanthropies attached to their existing empires.  All managed to be role models and make a difference in society.

30. Jessica Jackley

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Jessica Jackley is best known as one of the founders of Kiva, the world’s first peer-to-peer microlending website.  Kiva allows users to lend money to entrepreneurs in developing countries to help them start or expand their small business.  This initiative married Jackley’s own entrepreneurship with her passion for social justice and has loaned more than $100 million to entrepreneurs all over the globe.  Jackley also served as a teacher, sharing lessons of entrepreneurship and social change at several universities.  Jackley has received awards such as for her contribution to society such as the Economist’s “No Boundaries” Innovation Award.

29. Yang Lan

29 - Yang Lan

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Yang Lan is a Chinese journalist, entrepreneur and one of the most powerful women in the Chinese media.  Lan founded the Sun Media Group in 2000, a venture which spans TV, newspapers and magazines and the web.  She is also a television host, the Global Ambassador for Special Olympics Movement and the first UNICEF Ambassador in China.  Lan and her husband donated half their shares in Sun Media and created the Sun Culture Foundation, a non-profit that improves education and promotes philanthropy in China.

28. Kamila Sidiqi

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Kameia Sidiqi is an unlikely entrepreneur and the founder of Kaweyan Business Development Services.  She started her first company, a tailoring business, during Taliban rule in Afghanistan amid much controversy, dangerous conditions and a fair amount of oppression.  The dressmaker is now helping other Afghan women to develop their own companies as well.  Sidiqi then started a consultancy firm supporting women entrepreneurs in her area, traveling across the country training adults in the basics that will help them launch their own ventures.

27. Tory Burch

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Being a billionaire with a lifestyle line of clothing, accessories, fragrances, boutiques and more didn’t stop Tory Burch from making a difference through her philanthropy.  Famous as an award-winning designer and entrepreneur, Burch started the non-profit Tory Burch Foundation to empower women via mentoring, small business loans and education.  The foundation gives grants and microfinancing and provides women with tools to achieve their aspirations as entrepreneurs and leaders.  Burch also partnered with Bank of America to give a total of $10 million in loans to female entrepreneurs.

26. Judi Henderson-Townsend

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Judi Henderson-Townsend is the founder of Mannequin Madness, a business that sells, rents, recycles and repairs mannequin body parts.  Though she kept her business a secret when she first started it because she felt it was so off the wall, Henderson-Townsend found much success.  Henderson-Townsend gives back and keeps the business socially responsible by recycling mannequins routinely thrown in landfills when they break or if stores are closing down.  The business recycles over 100,000 lbs. of non-biodegradable mannequins and has won a special achievement award from the Environmental Protection Agency.

25. Arlene Dickinson

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Arlene Dickinson is the South African-born CEO of marketing company Venture Communications, her Canadian start up that went to grossing $45 million annually.  In 2012 she launched the Arlene Dickinson Enterprises, a company that promotes the advancement of entrepreneurs by funding investments and entrepreneurs.  The enterprise also creates entertaining and educational media aimed at these entrepreneurs. Dickinson is also on the cast of Dragons’ Den, a business reality show, and is a spokesperson for Breakfast Clubs of Canada in support of children having a nutritious start to the day.

24. Linda Rottenberg

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Linda Rottenberg is the CEO and co-founder of Endeavor, a non-profit that specializes in “high-impact entrepreneurship” – a strategy to identify, mentor and invest in the fastest growing businesses to transform communities.  Endeavor’s entrepreneurs have created 225,000 high-wage jobs and generated more than $6 billion annually.  Rottenberger has been hailed for her contributions to both entrepreneurship and philanthropy, being named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by US News & World Report and one of 100 “Innovators for the 21st century” by Time Magazine.

23. Martha Lane Fox

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Martha Fox Lane is the co-founder of travel site lastminute.com.  After amassing a fortune of $500 million, Lane Fox launched Go On UK, a charity promoting digital skills for small businesses.  She was severely injured in a 2004 car crash where she broke 20 bones, but the entrepreneur kept busy sitting on various boards and being appointed as Chancellor of Open University.  Lane Fox still finds time to dedicate to other work in the community, including work for women’s rights, social justice, poverty and AIDS non-profits.

22. Lauren Bush Lauren

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Former President George W. Bush’s niece Lauren Bush Lauren boasts more than a prominent last name.  The model, designer and entrepreneur is the co-founder of FEED Projects, a sustainable company an initiative to fight world hunger on behalf of the UN World Food Programme.  She founded FEED just after her college graduation and serves as chairman of the FEED Foundation.  The organization helps to create bags and accessories to raise donations to feed developing people around the world.

21. Ama Pomaa Andoh

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Giving back has always been a focus for Ama Pomaa Andoh, the entrepreneur who founded the non-profit Ghanaian High-Tech Women.  The organization helps Ghanaian women use IT skills in business management.  She later participated in the FORTUNE/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership and returned to Ghana to start the Ghana Young Women Social Entrepreneurs, a resource center for women who would like to start their own sustainable, community-beneficial businesses.   Andoh is also a member of parliament in Ghana.

20. Cher Wang

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Cher Wang is a Taiwanese entrepreneur best known for co-founding the tech corporation HTC in 1997.  This venture made Wang one the most powerful and successful women in technology, and put her as the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.  Wang is also a philanthropist, using her net worth of over $6.8 billion to fund research and programming at her alma mater UC Berkley, and founding the Guizhou Forerunner College in China to provide low-cost education to students from low-income families.

19. Oprah Winfrey

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The name Oprah is generally recognized by most as being the queen of TV and media for decades.  Aside from her beloved self-named talk show, Winfrey founded a media empire with a cable network, website magazine, radio show and more.    Winfrey has always been a charitable person, starting many philanthropic efforts such as the Angel Network, a charity that supported projects and provided grants to non-profits worldwide.  Winfrey has also given away more than $400 million to educational causes and founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa among many other projects.

18. Jill Vialet

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Jill Vialet is the CEO and founder of Playworks, an organization that restructures playtime in elementary school by creating a safe, inclusive school environment for kids to thrive.  Playworks now reaches over 380 schools in 23 cities and ultimately aims to serve millions of children.  Vialet also co-founded the Museum of Children’s Art, an organization that helps communities celebrate the art and creativity of their children.  Vialet was named to the Forbes Impact 30 as one of the 30 leading social entrepreneurs worldwide.

17. Bhagyashri Dixit

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Bhagyashri Dixit first went in to entrepreneurship to change the perceptions of online shopping in India.  She started out as an ERP consultant for a Pune, India based Software Company, but branched out to found StyleBuds and it’s subsidiary, Sheepstop, an eco-friendly T-shirt brand that draws its designs from artists all over the world.  SheepStop is unique for its all-woman workforce and commitment to organic clothing.  Dixit handles Business Development and Operations for StyleBuds.

16. Beth Sirull

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Beth Sirull is the executive director of Pacific Community Ventures, a company that helps small business in poor neighborhoods to grow faster by connecting them with volunteers from bigger companies who advise them.  Before this position she was the founding director of the company’s research and analysis arm, PCV Insight.  The company has fostered entrepreneurship, supporting over 3,500 companies that have paid over $250 million in wages to residents of low-income communities.  Sirull is an avid volunteer with several non-profit organizations and serves on a number of boards.

15. Rebecca Onie

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Rebecca Onie took on entrepreneurship early, founding her company Health Leads while still just a sophomore at Harvard College. Health leads places well-trained volunteers in hospitals and clinics where they help to fill patients prescriptions and cater to their needs by navigating language barriers and other challenges for the patients. Onie was recognized in O! Magazine’s Power List of 20 women who are “changing the world for the better” and Forbes world’s top 30 social entrepreneurs.

14. Bebe Heiner

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Bebe Heiner comes from a family of philanthropists and got involved in giving back at an early age. A licensed professional counselor by profession, Heiner noticed that low-income individuals did not have access to affordable mental health care. Heiner founded The Women’s Initiative to solve this problem. The Women’s Initiative provides counseling to women even if they can’t afford to pay. The organization served over 4,000 women in its first four years and grew into a major community resource in Charlottesville, Virginia.

13. Heather Hasson

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Heather Hasson took her passion for fashion and founded a business with the heart of the community at its core. After traveling throughout Africa and Asia and witnessing children unable to go to school because they didn’t have school uniforms, Hasson founded FIGS – Fashion Inspired Global Sophistication. FIGS sells neckties, but gave way to the Threads for Threads Initiative – giving a child in Kenya and Tanzania a school uniform for every tie sold. FIGS also makes medical apparel. For every set of scrubs purchased, FIGS gives a set of scrubs to a medical professional in a resource-poor country so he or she can continue to give back to and provide for the community. Hasson has been recognized for her contributions to society and FIGS was even commissioned to design ties for the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative Conference.

12. Kristin Groos Richmond & 11. Kirsten Saenz Tobey

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Both from similar educational backgrounds in business and non-profits, Groos Richmond and Saenz Tobey founded Revolution Foods in 2005. Revolution Foods provides nutritious meals and health education to schools for their students. True entrepreneurs, the pair did everything – cooked and packed the food, drove the truck, sought funding and got their concept and company on the map. In addition, they have launched a line of ready-to-eat high quality food products called Meal Kits, which offer healthy on-the-go snack or meal alternatives. The company has proven both profitable for them – with over $70 million in revenue – and profitable for the community, serving approximately 1.5 million fresh meals every week, totaling over 125 million healthy meals in schools nationwide to date.

10. Katina Mountanos & 9. Liz Whitman

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Two Harvard business students, Katina Mountanos and Liz Whitman, came together to launch Manicube, a mobile manicure business with a side of service. The service offers 15-minute, $15 manicures at the convenience of an office. A dollar from each manicure is contributed to microloans for female entrepreneurs in the developing world. The pair are working on expanding nationwide to are planning to launch their next hub in San Francisco in September 2014.

8. Callie Works-Leary

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Callie Works-Leary founded CityCraft, a fabric and craft store in Dallas.   She also tapped into the online community of young sewers who wanted to learn. Works-Leary decided to give back to the community by teaching a sewing class at a women’s shelter in Dallas. She followed up by donating sewing machines and supplies, as well as fabric to the shelter and its clients. Works-Leary plans to expand the business and establish a national brand.

7. Sarah Prevette

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Sarah Prevette was named one of Inc. Magazine’s top entrepreneurs in North America. She is the founder of sprouter.com, an online platform for startups and business leaders to connect and communicate. Prevette is also one of the organizer’s behind Twestival Toronto, a part of a worldwide social media fundraising initiative. Through Twestival, Prevette was able to help raise awareness for causes like lack of clean water in developing countries, and garner donations to be sent abroad.

6. Molly Melching

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Molly Melching is the founder of Tostan, a Non-Governmental organization that encourages sustainability and human rights in African nations African. Melching worked with African villagers to establish and develop a learning program in African languages that has gone on to reach more than 2 million people. A book “However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph” was written about her, highlighting her journey to found this worthy cause and her personal experiences living in Africa.

5. Rose Broome

5 - Rose Broome

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Rose Broome cofounded HandUp after passing a homeless woman and realizing that she didn’t have much warmth on a cold night. Recognizing the growing problem of homelessness, Broome designed HandUp to allow homeless people to get donations via text or online. Donations are given to the homeless in the form of credits they can redeem for items they need. The system enables both donors and recipients to learn more about empowering and being empowered.

4. Adora Cheung

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Adora Cheung took an old industry and modernized it.  So co-founded the Homejoy, a company that takes house cleaners who need steady work, and connects them with clients who book services online.  Cheung then turned her focus to creating the Homejoy Foundation, where she can give back to the community by providing grants to non-profits, donating product and encouraging her employees to volunteer.  In 2013, the Foundation turned its attention to providing grants, services and programs for veterans and military families.

3. Jane Chen

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Jane Chen founded Embrace, an organization that helps premature and low birth-weight babies with a low-cost infant warmer.  The Embrace infant warmer is about 1% of the cost of a regular incubator and has been distributed across India and other developing countries.  Thanks to Chen’s invention over 50,000 babies have been helped.  Chen also founded a non-profit arm of the company, which donates the warmers to the neediest areas and conducts clinics and educational programs on newborn health.

2. Sara Horowitz

2 - Sara Horowitz

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Sara Horowitz founded the nonprofit Working Today, which brought freelancers together to create power. That idea led directly to the creation of the nonprofit Freelancers Union,  which helps workers solve their problems.  Horowitz also launched FIC in 2008, a social-purpose business wholly owned by Freelancers Union, whose mission is to provide independent workers with high-quality, affordable, and portable health insurance. Forbes named her one of the Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs in 2011, among numerous other awards.

1. Wendy Kopp

1 - Wendy Kopp

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Wendy Kopp took her undergraduate thesis proposal at Princeton and founded Teach for America, an organization that places college graduates in some of the most underserved classrooms across the country in order to improve their performances.  In 2007, Kopp, along with Brett Wigdortz, expanded the program internationally and co-founded Teach for All in response to a growing desire from social entrepreneurs around the globe to address educational inequity in their countries. The Teacher for America model has been adapted to meet the unique needs of partners in 34 countries.  Kopp has won The Clinton Center Award for Leadership and National Service and the The Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship among numerous other awards and honorary doctorates.

About the Author

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Raecine Williams received her Bachelor’s from the University of Miami and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Journalism at the University of Maryland College Park.  She writes for the Prince George’s Sentinel and Nirvana Magazine and has worked in various capacities in her native island of Jamaica. In her spare time she runs a clothing line called Wild/Free and loves to travel.

Career Resources for Women Entrepreneurs

This article contains links to 100 resources for women entrepreneurs for various stages of business planning and growth. Here you can find links to articles, conferences, funding resources, regional offices, helpful books and more.

Quick Links
Associations, Networks and Communities
Competitions and Funding
Government Resources
Conferences
Internships
Articles and Information
Regional
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Books
About the Author

Associations, Networks and Communities

The Association of Women’s Business Centers – A network of women’s business centers around that country that supports entrepreneurial development especially for underserved women.

National Association for Moms in Business – A leadership cultivation and advocacy organization for entrepreneurial moms and moms in business.

National Association of Women Business Owners – A dues-based organization that supports woman-owned business.

Woman Owned – A membership site with a public directory, funding database and networking tools for growing women entrepreneurs.

Own It Ventures – An online membership community where women entrepreneurs and business owners can market business and products and share ideas.

Interview Her – An online networking facility where women business owners can share their business ventures and ideas with other women and have them featured on the site.

Savor the Success – A premium business network that offers public relations opportunities, access to media lists, information and networking.

Startup Princess – Offers education, mentoring, encouragement and a business exchange directory to women worldwide.

Project Eve – A free membership community for women in business to share ideas and problem solve.

The Boss Network – A networking community for small for entrepreneurial women who want to connect, develop and promote their brands.

Power Chicks International Community – A paid monthly membership that gives you access to lessons and a private Facebook group for conversation and networking.

The Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network – A community of women entrepreneurs in several countries interested in growing their businesses through social platforms.

WEXPO – A community to showcase products and services and connect with businesswomen across the world.

Women TIES – A membership community for women entrepreneurs at every stage that promotes products and serves, encourages networking and provides information.


 

Competitions and Funding

PITCH San Francisco 2014 Startup Competition – Start up business ventures with women in the founding team may apply to become to pitch at the Women 2.0 conference

500 Women – This branch of startup support company, 500, provides capital and funding for woman-led companies, founders and investors.

Tory Burch Foundation – Supports women entrepreneurs through loans, mentoring programs and education.

Women’s Funding Network – A global community of women’s funds and foundations to help women access tools and resources.

Springboard Enterprises – A network of experts that assists woman-led tech-oriented companies in sourcing capital and partnerships.

37 Angels – Early startup companies may pitch to receive funding from this group up women investors.

Astia – A network of entrepreneurs, investors, and like-minded business people that fund women-led business ventures worldwide.

Golden Seeds – Companies can apply to receive funding from Golden Seeds, an investment firm focused on woman-led businesses.

Pipeline Fellowship – Women owners or co-owners of businesses with a social or environmental mission may apply to receive funding from Pipeline Fellowship, a network of women angel investors.

Make Mine a Million $ Business – A business growth race that offers assessments, coaching, financing and recognition along the way.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative – An annual award that offers funding, coaching and exposure for women in the beginning stages of entrepreneurship.

Key4Women – A women’s entrepreneurial community from Key Bank that offers access to business capital, financial services and networking opportunities

Government Resources

The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Women’s Business Ownership – Offers programs, training and counseling, financial resources and more to women nationwide, especially traditionally underrepresented women.

The National Women’s Business Council – Provides research and news of importance to women entrepreneurs.

BusinessUSA – A platform with useful tools and information for business services, including a financing search bar.

Conferences

WomanCon – Features successful female entrepreneurs and other experts sharing their expertise on building a successful business while balancing other challenges.

Inc. Women’s Summit – Popular business growth magazine Inc.com presents a conference for women featuring panels, speakers, coaches, peer-to-peer education and more.

The Conferences for Women – Features conferences in Pennsylvania, Texas and Massachusetts that include a wide range of topics including finance and business development.

Women 2.0 – Focuses on information and connections for tech entrepreneurs and investors.

eWomen Network International Conference and Business Expo – Hosts world-class speakers and provides networking opportunities and business development strategies for women.

Mom 2 CEO: The Ultimate Mom-Entrepreneur Symposium – Professional mother entrepreneurs give guidelines on how to balance business and motherhood.

The Founding Moms – A one-day conference of marketing, sales, branding and a variety of other topics tailored to the mom entrepreneur community.

Women’s Empowerment Network Conference – A 3-day conference for women of all backgrounds dedicated to personal and financial growth.

Women’s International Networking Conference – A global women’s leadership conference to develop, empower and connect modern leaders.

Internships

Hera Hub Internships – Offers internships in marketing, events and public relations for college students that are enthusiastic about the company’s mission to support women entrepreneurs.

Articles and Information

Hera Hub – Offers various levels of month-to-month co-working space for women entrepreneurs.

Chic CEO – A compilation of basic, easy to understand business information, resources, and how-tos.

Ladies Who Launch – Exposure, connections and events to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Small Biz Daily – The women’s section of the Small Biz Daily website has articles for and about the modern entrepreneurial woman as well as ideas for funding.

Stiletto Woman – Lifestyle articles for woman moving into entrepreneurship or looking to grow their businesses.

Spark and Hustle – Highlights women entrepreneurs, and gives tips and teleclasses on topics like “10 Solid Strategies to Improve Email Marketing”

Go Girl Finance – Simplified financial literacy and made simple for entrepreneurs, new business owners and working women.

Young Female Entrepreneurs – Live online networking events, business action plans, book clubs and features for women in their 20s and 30s with new brands.

Power Chicks International – Online courses for business builders with varying topics such as blogging and clarifying your business model.

Empower Lounge – Provides new and successful women entrepreneurs with a platform to share tools, secrets and inspiration.

U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce – An organization dedicated to promoting a women-led economy by helping women take ownership of their business and financial situations.

The Mogul Mom – A wide range of advice and resources for balancing motherhood and owning and running a business.

Business and Professional Women International – An international organization that builds women’s businesses through mentoring, networking and leadership empowerment.

The American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report – A detailed report on industry trends, insights and other information on women-owned businesses.

WISE Women’s Business Center – Certified business trainers provide one-on-one business counseling, training and work shops for women at all stages of business.

Entrepreneur Women – Informative articles on business from the a section of Entrepreneur.com dedicated to women.

Regional

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. Women’s Business Center – A business development organization that provides training and technical assistance to boost women entrepreneurs in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Success in the City – Influential women join together in this executive women’s organization that promotes entrepreneurial spirit and networking.

New York

Women’s Venture Fund – A nonprofit organization that assists women in New York and New Jersey to establish their businesses with technical assistance, advisory and small loans.

In Good Company – Provides office space, networking events and classes for women entrepreneurs in New York City.

Boston

Center for Women & Enterprise – A non-profit organization that offers classes and online learning to new and growing entrepreneurs in Boston and Rhode Island.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network – A forum for new entrepreneurs and business owners alike to connect, featuring monthly breakfasts, leadership programs and more.

Atlanta

Atlanta Women Entrepreneurs – An educational and networking organization catering specifically to women with small minority businesses and budding entrepreneurs.

The Edge Connection – Marketing, financial and other business classes and seminars offered through their Women’s Business Center.

Denver

The Women’s Business Development Center – Resources, business education and networking to assist Colorado women with the launch and development of new companies.

Connecticut

Women’s Business Development Council – Offers entrepreneurial training and counseling and financial education with several locations in Connecticut

Austin

Women’s Business Center at BiGAUSTIN – A Small Business Administration resource offering training, financing and help with business plans and development.

Los Angeles

Women Entrepreneurs Club – A group for Los Angeles women interested in non-traditional career and entrepreneurship.

Ohio

Women’s Entrepreneurship Network – An organization holding business networks and meetings several times a month in Ohio.

Blogs

Female Entrepreneur Association – Offers articles and vlogs on entrepreneurial success, including posts like “5 Ways to Make Sure Your Idea Becomes a Success”, and a 5-step social media plan.

The Founding Moms – Advice from mom entrepreneurs in the form of videos, articles, and links.

She Takes On The World – A business and entrepreneurship blog for women featuring videos on topics and considerations for building your business.

Women on the Fence – Posts about business, motherhood and lifestyle, designed for women who aren’t sure if they’re ready to take the plunge into entrepreneurship.

She Owns It – Features articles and success stories to expose and support women entrepreneurs.

Women Presidents’ Organization – A blog with quality posts ranging from entrepreneurship to complex business issues.

Secrets of Success – A product of Women Entrepreneur Radio that helps women in their entrepreneurial endeavors by providing tips, resources, and promotion.

One Woman Marketing – A blog from marketer and copyrighter Kelly Kautz covering topics like blogging, branding, graphic design and life in between.

Women on Business – A blog with information and articles to help women grow as entrepreneurs and bridge the gap between male and female business thought leaders.

Market Like a Chick – Succinct, smart advice on marketing and entrepreneurial trends from women in the marketplace.

Entrepreneur Girl Talk – A collection of blogs focused on entrepreneurship in young women.

Entrewomen – A compilation of the thoughts, motivation and inspiration behind successful women entrepreneurs.

Twitter and Facebook Accounts

@WomenEnt – Women Entrepreneurs tweets tips, tricks and questions for discussion.

@ForbesWoman – Links to useful links for entrepreneurs and career-minded women.

@womenonbusiness – News and information that every successful business woman needs to know.

@Erinblaskie – The twitter of entrepreneur Erin Blaskie, founder of Business Services, ETC., a company that provides virtual services to entrepreneurs worldwide.

@AliBrown – Advice and tricks from entrepreneur and philanthropist Ali Brown, who works with women all over the world to help them grow their businesses.

@SarahPrevette – Tips and tricks for start-up business from Sarah Prevette, founder of the fact-sharing site, Sprouter.

@EntMagazine – Information and advice for entrepreneurs at all stages

@Sumaya – Information on entrepreneurship, young professional issues, diversity and technology from Sumaya Kazi, founder of social intelligence company, Sumazi

Crave – A forum for sharing business tips from Crave, a company that does networking events women business owners.

Forbes Woman’s Women Entrepreneurs – A list of 30 women entrepreneurs to follow, curated by Forbes Woman

Books And Magazines

My Favorite Mistake for Female Entrepreneurs – Natalie Susi, Jodi Greene and Stephanie Burns chronicle relatable stories, tips, and techniques from top entrepreneurs.

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead – Chief Operating Officer for Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, compiles data, anecdotes, and research to illustrate why women need to step up as entrepreneurs.

Lioness Magazine – A digital magazine for female entrepreneurs with useful information on startup, marketing, technology and leadership.

Single Women Entrepreneurs – Interviews with single women entrepreneurs that explore the advantages and disadvantages of running a business, as well as advice for up and coming entrepreneurs.

The Mom Inventors Handbook – A mom’s guide on turning an invention or idea into a successful business.

Women Entrepreneur Revolution: Red, Set, Launch! – Entrepreneur women offer the ins and outs, advice and dos and don’ts of starting and running a successful business.

Girl Boss – Sophia Amoruso, founder of online retail company, Nasty Gal shares her experience in her journey of starting her own business.

Empower Lounge Ebooks“Yin & Yang of Starting a Business”,Your Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur” and “The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Big Idea With Minimum Risk” give you the tips you need as a new entrepreneur.

The Next Women – A business magazine for entrepreneurs, executives and investors designed to advise, inspire and educate women on their business needs.

The Boss of You – A guide with career advice, success stories, and lessons for women entrepreneurs who want to redefine their success.

Little Pink Book – A digital magazine delivered to you inbox with resources, advice, data and trends for working women.

About the Author

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Raecine Williams received her Bachelor’s from the University of Miami and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Journalism at the University of Maryland College Park.  She writes for the Prince George’s Sentinel and Nirvana Magazine and has worked in various capacities in her native island of Jamaica. In her spare time she runs a clothing line called Wild/Free and loves to travel.

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