Women in Business: 5 Inspiring Entrepreneurs

This month, we are celebrating women in business in preparation for the American National Business Women's Day on 22nd September. There have been so many groundbreaking women throughout history, pushing boundaries and leading the way for us all to follow our dreams. 

Although we are still not in a place where equality feels real, the situation for women in the workplace has changed massively in the last 50 years and women have more opportunities than ever before. 

To reflect on how far we have come since the beginning of Business Women's Day, we take a look at 5 inspiring female entrepreneurs who have rocked the world of business in the last 38 years.

Joy Mangano

Credit: Instagram @joymangano

Joy Mangano is an American businesswoman, entrepeneneur and inventor and is such an inspiring woman they even made a movie showing her rise to the top! She first made it big after inventing the Miracle Mop in 1989, but that wasn't her first attempt at success!

She originally created a fluorescent flea collar for pets as a teenager, showing she has always had a keen eye for inventions. Despite gaining a degree in business administration, Joy worked for a while as a waitress and airlines reservation specialist to help support her family.

She didn't give up and returned to inventions after getting fed up of wringing out her mop at home. The Miracle Mop, a self wringing mop, has been a huge success and Joy now has around 100 products patented. 

 

Deborah Meaden

Credit: Instagram @deborahmeaden

Much like Joy Mangano, Deborah's pursuit to become a successful entrepreneur began when she was just a teenager. The British businesswoman started a ceramics and glass import company when she moved to Italy aged 19.

This didn't work out but Deborah went on to try and establish several other businesses, including an Italian clothing company and back in the UK, she ran a prize bingo concession at Butlins.

Her success came when she bought Weststar Holidays in 1999. By the time she sold the majority of her shares just six years later, she had transformed the company into a success, providing holidays to over 150,000 families annually. She continues to run several businesses and is a mentor and investor on UK BBC show Dragon's Den.

 

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

This inspiring woman is an Indian entrepreneur and self made billionaire who founded Biocon India at the age of 25. Kiran Mazumbar-Shaw often faced obstacles due to her age and gender and struggled to secure funding during the early stages of her business.

As with many successful businesswoman, she persevered and her commitment, determination and skill paid off. Her company is now Asia's leading bio-pharmaceuticals enterprise and she has been recognised as one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.

 

Sara Blakely

Credit: Instagram @sarablakely

Sara is the inventor behind one of the most important products ever made (in our opinion), the incredible Spanx! She is named as one of Forbes' America's Self Made Women and has an estimated net worth of $750M. 

She once worked as a door to door saleswoman, which no doubt helped when she came to create her own product! She first made a prototype of Spanx using tights, which she wanted to wear under white trousers to keep her feeling confident and comfortable.

Sara has stated that she has never has outside investments and started her now global business with just $5k of savings. In 2006, she founded the Spanx Foundation to empower women through education, entrepreneurship and the arts.

 

 Folorunsho Alakija

Folorunsho Alakija has been noted as the 87th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes and is also listed as the second most powerful woman in Africa. The Nigerian businesswoman and philanthropist started her career working in office administration and later in banking, before taking the leap and starting her own business.

Fashion was her main passion and she founded her first company, Supreme Stitches which was renamed Rose of Sharon House of Fashion when she became a success in the industry even boasting the wife of former Nigerian president Ibrahim Babangida as one of her clients and loyal fans.

She has since taken on new projects and is currently the Vice Chair of Famfa Oil as well as the Vice Chair of Digitalreality Print Ltd, a world-class printing company. Her net worth is estimated by Forbes as $1B.