13 Rising Star Women Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World

From supporting businesses that help the environment to spreading kindness, we’re putting more thought into what we spend our money on. And with so many people — more specifically, women entrepreneurs — out there trying to make the world a better place, why not support them? Female entrepreneurs are on the rise, after all.

According to the University of New Hampshire’s 2017 Center for Venture annual report, prior to 2014, the number of women seeking angel investment was fairly static at around 15 percent of the total. There was a spike in 2014, with that figure rising to around 19 percent, and the current estimate is that female-owned ventures accounted for around 23 percent of the entrepreneurs that were seeking investment capital.

Though we still have a ways to go, let’s show these female entrepreneurs some support — from designers and women in tech to hormonal experts.

Daniela Perdomo, CEO and co-founder of goTenna

Image: Courtesy of Daniela Perdomo.

When Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012 and a third of all telecommunication amongst first responders was wiped out, Perdomo was inspired to act and that’s when the idea for goTenna was born. “I was inspired to help those who lost touch with the outside world, and create a solution that was virtually indestructible,” Perdomo told SheKnows.

goTenna is a mobile mesh networking platform that allows firefighters, emergency responders, military forces, law enforcement tactical units and other government organizations around the world to connect in places where there is little or no reception. So how does it work? “goTenna is able to pair with phones and our technology can be embedded into any device or machine, turning the world around us into programmable mobile infrastructure,” Perdomo told SheKnows. “Not being able to communicate can put lives and livelihoods at risk, especially for people on the front lines like our military and first responders. We should no longer have to deal with gaps in connectivity,” she continued.

Perdomo also recognizes that being an entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry is a difficult path and wants to help other women feel empowered to start their own businesses. Her advice? “Find your voice and have the courage to make it heard,” she explained to SheKnows.  She added, “learn from women and men alike and search out the best people to work with. At goTenna, we just announced the completion of our series C funding round led by Founders Fund. We are so proud of what we have been able to accomplish so far because of the risks we have taken and the great team we have in place.”

Jenna Mons Anderson, founder of Finess

Jenna Anderson
Image: Michael Buckner for SheKnows.

Like most moms, Jenna Mons Anderson lives an active lifestyle. As the mom of two, she is constantly on the go and has exactly zero minutes in her day to deal with the light bladder leakage that most women experience. That’s why she founded Finess, a small, comfortable and innovative product that doesn’t catch bladder leakage like all of the other products on the market, but stops it before it can even begin.

Yes, bladder leakage products already exist but the options are subpar. Who wants to sit in their own urine until they have a chance to go to the bathroom and change a bulky pad? No one. “We want to show women that they deserve innovation, they deserve options,” Anderson told SheKnows.  “The products that are on the market for women should take their lifestyle into account and products should be accessible in such a way that women don’t have to worry about going to the store or being embarrassed about what they put in their cart.”

How exactly does Finess work? It’s placed over the urethral opening and stays in place with an innovative hydrogel so you can rest assured it won’t budge when you sneeze in your yoga class.

Our favorite part about this product and its creator is that their main mission is to destigmatize the conversation around bladder leakage and encourage women to feel comfortable and safe talking about something that affects so many of us.

Alisa Vitti, author of WomanCode & founder of Flo Living

Author of WomanCode, founder of Flo Living and creator of the myFlo app, Alisa Vitti has helped thousands of women around the world solve their hormonal symptoms by building the world’s first menstrual health care platform. She’s your go-to women’s health expert who has provided great tools to help you answer those questions you may not be asking your doctor.

“You are not linear, you are not the same every day, so you need a diet that fluctuates with you each week of your cycle, and that’s what’s unique about Flo,” Vitti said to Sakara in September 2015. “The protocol has two parts — the first half of the protocol is the cleanup — getting your endocrine system to do the things it’s supposed to do hormonally. Then the second half is really about living a life and eating a diet that functions within an operating system that is fully feminine and cyclical.”

Over the past 14 years, Flo Living has helped thousands of women in more than 216 countries get back in their “Flo,” so to say, via its signature online program, the WomanCode System.

Denise Woodard, founder of Partake Foods

Denise Woodard speaks onstage at BlogHer 2018 Summit at Pier 17 in New York City.
Image: Mark Von Holden for SheKnows.

Denise Woodard’s daughter, Vivienne inspired this mom to turn her daughter’s food allergy into a business. When Vivienne started eating solid foods, it became apparent Woodard’s daughter suffered from several food allergies and Woodard found it impossible to buy snacks that were safe for her daughter. “It was so frustrating because when I would find one of the few things she could eat, she either did not like the taste or I was not happy with the nutritional profile,” Woodard tells SheKnows.  That’s when Partake Foods was born.

Partake Foods now offers five flavors of mini-cookies that are free of the top eight most common food allergens. But the best part? They actually taste good. “I initially worked on the formulas myself, but we ended up bringing in a food scientist, who also has food allergies, and we got really creative using dried plum concentrate to help sweeten, rosemary extract as a natural preservative and figuring out how to get those fruits and veggies in,” Woodard told SheKnows.

If you would like to try some of these delicious cookies yourself, Partake Foods is now available at Amazon, Wegmans and a bunch of health food stores across the country.

Sarah Kaeck, founder of Bee’s Wrap

What started as a way to eliminate plastics in her own kitchen and live a more sustainable life has turned into a successful business that has helped people all around the world store food in a way that’s safe for the environment. Founded in 2012 by Sarah Kaeck, Bee’s Wrap products are a washable, reusable and compostable alternative to plastic wrap. It also takes up less room in your lunch bag than the bulky plastic containers.

Kaeck is vocal about other ways to remove toxins and waste from your home.

There are so many great (and fun) options out there that can replace plastics and other toxins in the home: stainless steel containers and straws, linen napkins, non-toxic household cleaning products, bamboo to-go utensils — the list goes on,” Kaeck told the Moon Cup in July 2018.

Lynn Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Spotlight: Girls

Image: Gabriella Arellano for SheKnows.

“When I was 6 years old, I auditioned for the lead role in my first play. I was amazing. Everyone knew that I was the Meryl Streep of my first-grade class, but I didn’t get the part. I was the little black girl. I got the supporting role. My friend Maureen, she got the lead part, and she looked nothing like me,” Lynn Johnson said during SHE Media’s BlogHer Conference in 2017. That childhood memory is what led Johnson to create Spotlight: Girls and its two-week summer camp program, Go Girls!, which empowers young girls through the arts.

“I learned what too many little girls learn — that how we look and what we can do is the most important factor in our success. That girls like me should feel lucky to get the supporting role. This is why Spotlight: Girls exists. We need every girl to take center stage in her life so she becomes the leader we’ve all been looking for,” Johnson told SheKnows.  Our camps are just two weeks long and we have found that after just two weeks, 56 percent of parents say that their girls have great confidence after just two weeks and so we hope that girls come back again for another two weeks, and so on. Some of our girls have been with us for a long time,” Johnson says.

Lynn Johnson and the Go Girls! camp are creating a foundation for young women to feel empowered, valued and strong. Can you think of anything the world needs more of right now than empowered girls? Yeah, we couldn’t either.

Melanie Perkins, cofounder & CEO Canva

From start-ups to governments, everyone can use Canva, the online graphic design platform that allows anyone to easily design greeting cards, infographics, websites, calendars and much, much more. Melanie Perkins started this business after she dropped out of college and headed to California to pitch her idea. Now, she is continuing to help members all around the world design easily and quickly.

“I came up with the idea for Canva when I watched the students I was tutoring in design programs struggle to learn and use them despite months of coaching,” Perkins told Entrepreneur in March 2018. “It was the particular insight I gained from watching people who knew nothing about design, trying to use the design tools that became the foundation for Canva.”

According to Entrepreneur, Canva has more than 10 million registered users in 190 different countries, and in January 2018 was valued at $1 billion.

Tyler Haney, CEO of Outdoor Voices

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Love the comfort of athleisure clothes but need something practical enough for the real world? Tyler Haney has you covered with Outdoor Voices, apparel to cover the gap between the gym and your daily tasks. Tyler started her line in 2013 and has gained traction in the highly competitive field, taking on giants like Nike and Lululemon.

We are completely activewear. Everything we make is meant to be sweat in. It is important to me that we stay true to technical, meant-to-sweat-in products, not fashion,” the founder and CEO said in a recent interview with Business Insider.

“I remember going for a 1.5-mile jog and noticed that there is real dissonance in wearing a brightly colored outfit with muscle mapping all over it, something that you would see on an Olympic athlete, when I was going for a 10-minute-a-mile jog,” she continues.

Since that jog, Haney created sportswear that was comfortable enough for everyday exercise, from walking the dog to running.

According to Business Insider, in just under five years, Haney has built an athletics brand with 80-person team and $56.5 million in venture funding.

Gianne Doherty, co-founder of Organic Bath Co. and founder of The Well Summit

When Gianne Doherty moved to Boston, she found that her skin suddenly started reacting poorly to products that she had used for years. Unable to find a store-bought skincare line that didn’t irritate her skin, Doherty’s partner, Jay Weeks, crafted an organic, shea butter-based body butter and soon, Doherty’s skin was back to being luminous. These events led to Doherty founding her own beauty company, Organic Bath Co. Doherty’s company now offers a wide range of products made with natural ingredients from an ethical supply chain and are 92% Certified Organic and Fair- and Direct Trade certified.

In 2015, Doherty expanded her business by creating the Well Summit — a one-day wellness experience designed to educate and empower people to take control of their health and wellness with a focus on 360° wellness. If you’re interested in attending, the next Well Summit will take place May 11, 2019 in Brooklyn, New York.

Everlyn Liu, founder of Straw by Straw

Everlyn Liu ditched the plastic straw and created Straw by Straw, a brand that works with the hospitality and event industries to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle. Straw by Straw replaces plastic straws with 100 percent natural, 100 percent biodegradable, made-from-by-products, eco-friendly drinking straws.

I wanted to do something about plastic pollution, but when you talk about it, it’s a big issue, and sounds impossible to tackle,” Liu said to TEDx Amsterdam in June 2018. “But I started small, experimenting by having conversations – first with friends and family, then at events with strangers – finding out what they thought about plastic pollution and plastic alternatives. Straws attracted a lot of attention.”

“So I thought, ‘how cool would it be to have edible straws or an alternative?’ she continues. “Slowly, and organically the idea developed into a business in the hospitality industry. “

Straw by Straw was one of the 2017 TEDx Amsterdam Award nominees: straws made from leftover corn, harvested by farmers and hand cut into drinking straws.

Enass Abo-Hamed, CEO of H2GO

Enass Abo-Hamed is the perfect example of a young woman making great strides in the science and technology world. Abo-Hamed founded H2GO Power, a clean-tech company that brings affordable energy to millions across the globe. The award-winning company has contributed to a clean energy workshop in South Africa, helping countries have continuous access to clean and affordable electricity in hospitals.

H2GO Power is an energy storage company. We work on storing renewable energy, which today is cheaper to waste than to store in batteries via an alternative storage solution to conventional batteries – Hydrogen batteries!” she told Impact4All in March 2018. “We designed plug and play storage containers for off-grid applications that can allow for round the clock energy supply in the developing world. This solution can reduce the dependency on polluting diesel as an energy source, which also comes at premium prices to developing countries.”

Abo-Hamed was chosen as Innovator Under 35 Europe 2017 by MIT Technology Review in Spanish and a finalist in the 2015 Catier Women’s Initiative Awards.

Liz Dee, creator of Vegan Ladyboss

Vegans, unite! Liz Dee created Vegan Ladyboss, a community for women all around the world to connect and help one another change the world. The in-person meetings give this global network a way to meet, support and empower vegan women.

I created it because I wanted it in my life, and it turned out I wasn’t the only one seeking this kind of community,” Dee said to Entity in June 2018.

At that time, Vegan Lady Boss has 11 chapters, attracting 60 to 80 women ages 21 to 70 in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Colorado Springs and more. Vegan Ladyboss Global also launched in January 2018, and meetings can now happen anywhere at any time.

Anne Wojcicki, founder of 23andMe

We’ve all seen it: Coworkers or friends excitedly sharing their map and information from 23andMe. Anne Wojcicki helped build this empire.

The company uses the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a normal human cell to discover what your cells have to say about your ancestry, health, traits and more — helping connect and inform people all around the world.

“Since our earliest days, we wanted to pioneer a path where people can get their genetic information directly and do not have to go through a physician or genetic counselor for access or interpretation,” Wojcicki said to CNBC in 2018. “I was always impressed by the eagerness of individuals to learn about their health and take action. They just needed the opportunity and time to learn and absorb.”

Under Wojcicki’s leadership, 23andMe has provided personalized medical information to over 5,000,000 customers, making a wealth of genomic information affordable and accessible.

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