Even a few decades ago, female entrepreneurs were not as prevalent in society as they are today. The advocacy for equal opportunity employment is changing the face of the business industry. A common thread many of these famous business women possess is they’ve created a safe space within their business platform to assist other women in the workforce and society in general. These innovative ideas are not just profit driven; they inspire the notion that anything is possible with passion and perseverance.
Jessica May, Founder of Enabled Employment
Australian entrepreneur Jessica May is the founder of Enabled Employment, a site that helps to find jobs for people with varying mental and physical disabilities. After the birth of her first child, May was diagnosed with a panic disorder, and her employer was less than accommodating to her condition. Seeing how difficult it was to find or maintain a job while dealing with a disability, coupled with the responsibilities of motherhood, May took the opportunity to change the insensitive culture of the workplace. Founded in 2014, the newly established company has turned over $500,000 for the 2015 financial year. May received the Australian Start-up Award at the 2015 Telstra Business Women's Awards, demonstrating that the company’s mantra of “Kill them with kindness” really does pay off.
J.K. Rowling, Creator of the “Harry Potter” Franchise
Was there some magic behind the development of the “Harry Potter” series that took this single mother on welfare to a best-selling billionaire? Or was it just the creative genius and determination of Rowling that made her a booming success? This imaginative and adventurous series revolves around the life of young wizard Harry Potter and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, who are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Between the movies and the construction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, the money continues to roll in for Rowling, who makes an estimated $1,250,000 a day. Having sold 500 million copies of her books, she is a personal testimony to why you should never give up on your dreams. Rowling has been very generous with her success, having written three books for charitable foundations: "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," "Quidditch Through the Ages" and "The Tales of Beedle the Bard.” These books have raised almost $30 million dollars for multiple charity fundraisers.
Janine Allis, Founder of Boost Juice
Janine Allis saw a need for a company to produce quality juices and smoothies, so she hit the ground running with the idea. In 2000, Allis’ vision Boost Juice opened its first location in Adelaide, Australia, and by 2014, Allis became a “shark” on the popular television show “Shark Tank.” The Boost Foundation has had a hospitable tone since it originated, but once they became more established, Allis decided to give back in a bigger way. Boost selected a number of celebrities to pair with each new juice flavour, and if any of the juices were purchased, 50 cents from each drink would go to the celebrity’s charity of choice.
The company is now worth $66 million, and Allis has branched out further in the food industry with Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, Cibo Espresso and Hatch. Despite her success as a shark and owner of several businesses, Allis stated, “I'm still working on what I want to do when I grow up."
Sofia Vergara, Co-Founder of Latin World Entertainment (LWE)
When she isn’t on the set of the sitcom “Modern Family,” Sofia Vergara is the co-founder of the talent management and Hispanic media company LWE. Her company pulled in an estimated $27 million last year. LatinWE is the number one Hispanic talent agency in the country and the strongest multi-service and synergy provider of its kind in entertainment. This 100 percent Hispanic-owned company offers a 360-degree approach to talent acquisition and marketing, including publicity, licensing, endorsements, brand integration, production and content development. To give back to the Hispanic community, the company released a social networking site to connect Latino talent to the fans. By connecting the Hispanic community with a variety of media connections, LatinWE helps to build a network and create exciting new opportunities to be involved with a field that can be difficult to enter without a helping hand.
Oprah Winfrey, Founder and CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)
Oprah Winfrey began her entertainment career struggling to make a name for herself in television and went on to found three successful companies. Winfrey is the Founder of Harpo Productions, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and founder of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. The talk show host really set the stage for what daytime television has evolved into today. Not only did she host her own show, she fought to own the network running it, giving her more creative control.
Winfrey didn’t stop there—she also made a name for herself as a successful actress in movies like “The Color Purple.” Remembering her own economic hardships and how they stifled her dreams, Winfrey put that money to good use by fostering confidence and leadership in young women with her leadership academy for girls. However, her charitable academy doesn’t even begin to acknowledge Winfrey’s countless contributions to the public, namely awarding billions of dollars in giveaways, trips, medical assistance and more.
Tatiana Bakalchuk, Owner of Wildberries
In 2014, Forbes ranked Bakalchuk as Russia’s third wealthiest woman with an estimated net worth of 380 million. As the owner of Russia’s largest online clothing franchise Wildberries, Bakalchuk has come a long way since the company began. Bakalchuk launched the idea in 2004, while she was on maternity leave. This former English teacher now has a company that operates in Russia and has expanded to Belarus and Kazakhstan. The business had humble beginnings advertising to customers with catalogs from an apartment warehouse with Bakalchuk delivering items personally. Wildberries currently caters to 2.5 million customers, employs over 6,000 people and has more than 1,000 brands to choose from. The secret sauce of Bakalchuk’s business is the company’s ability to relate to their consumer's needs, which they do as one of the only online retailers to offer customers a free fitting trial of their products. As women around the world strive to prove they can juggle motherhood and their professional careers, Bakalchuk stands as an inspiration that anything is possible.
Louisa Kinoshi, Creator of Beauty Rev NG
Growing up in Africa, Louisa Kinoshi always had an interest in cosmetics and their ability to enhance and add character to a person's style. She noticed the lack of African makeup artists and models appearing in top fashion magazines and across other international media platforms. Kinoshi went with her gut when she started her makeup company, assuming women in Africa would invest in accessing local and international beauty brands from their laptops and mobile phones. Within just three months, Kinoshi turned a $5,000 investment into $57,000 in revenue. Beauty Rev NG supplies trendy beauty brands along with makeup tutorials from Africa’s own beauty influencers like makeup artist Laila Rahman. Kinoshi’s dream is to make a name for the bold, bright and colourful style of African fashion in the industry and help women gain easier access to quality beauty products.