Look at just about any Top 100 Female Entrepreneur list and you’ll find a vast number of women who have started and own multi-million dollar companies in the staffing and recruiting industries. Women have proven to have an eye for talent. Human resources is big business, there’s no doubt about it, and successfully navigating the industry seems to be an an area where the top female entrepreneurs have thrived in the past. Of course, there are many other industries in the world in which women are also thriving and playing major roles in the shaping & development.
The women included in this report are Capitalist Creations’ Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs to watch in 2014. Each one of these entrepreneurs are leading their company’s and rapidly gaining market share in diverse industries. Industries including:
You’ll find that the women on our 2014 Top 10 Female Entrepreneur Watchlist have all been recognized for exceptional accomplishments and have made notable names for themselves through innovative strategies. Some of these women have created markets that never existed before. These women warrant any entrepreneur’s attention if, at minimum, for the benefit of one’s own ideas and ventures.
Moving on to the 2014 Top 10 Female Entrepreneur Watchlist… I expect big things from each of these women this year.
Industry: Online Retail
Company: Nasty Gal
523 W. 6th Street Suite 330
Los Angeles, California 90027
Like most people, Sophia Amoruso has a story to tell. The WSJ conducted an interview with her not too long ago. In the interview, Sophia shared her inspiring story. It is a story about a woman who was willing to take a leap of faith, with little experience, and a whole lot of desire.
At age 17, Sophia Amoruso left home in Sacramento, CA to work in record stores and camp out at Salvation Army stores to try and find ideal vintage pieces of clothing to sell online. Sounds inspiring, right? Yeah, not really. At 22, she started Nasty Gal – a quaint little eBay store selling just a few vintage apparel and accessory items online. Sounds a bit better huh? Well, seven years later, now at age 29, her once little business currently generates revenue of over $100 million annually (and growing).
In 2012, INC Magazine called her Nasty Gal clothing company the “Fastest Growing Retailer”, and if you’re willing to believe it, all it took was a mere 7 years for a 22-year-old to do it.
The online clothing industry is a monster. With companies such as Zappos selling shoes and earning revenue of $1 billion per year, it’s clear that people are willing to buy clothing accessories online. And as long as there’s a vintage clothing crowd to cater to, Sophia Amoruso is at the top of our list for online retail entrepreneurs to watch.
With her feisty and fearless entrepreneurial drive, I expect big things from Sophia in 2014, including the breakthrough onto the big stage for her exclusive Nasty Gal collection.
Industry: Beauty / Cosmetics
Company: SUITE-k Value Added Services, LLC
161 Docks Corner Rd
South Brunswick, NJ 08810
The manufacturing of beauty products has typically been an industry controlled by a few multinational corporations, primarily the well-known cosmetic giants such as: The L’Oréal Group, Procter & Gamble, Estée Lauder Companies and a few others. In the United States alone, just some 5 years ago, the industry generated nearly $43 billion a year. It’s clear why a motivated entrepreneur such as Kathleen would be willing to take a risk at a shot of just a fraction of a percentage from the big guys that have traditionally dominated the market.
Kathleen Croddick Molyneaux’s LinkedIn page makes it clear she’s in the business of logistics and supply chain management. That wasn’t always the case though. Kathleen’s company, Suite-K, has gone from a small beauty products line that at first only sold a meager few cosmetics products, to a complete cosmetics products manufacturing and distribution business that still sells their own much larger product line, while also making cosmetics and personal care products for other private labels.
Suite-K now conducts its own R&D and creates a wide range of products that it manufactures and distributes. In addition, the company now provides “value added services” that compliment its more raw product manufacturing and distributing; gift set assembly, hand cello wrapping, shrink wrapping and even the brand labeling of the products it sells to its private labels.
Suite-K Value Added Services, LLC was founded by Kathleen Croddick Molyneaux and she still operates the company that currently brings in about $13 million annually. That may not sound like too much when compared to other companies, but it’s 150% more than the company generated just 2 years ago. And in a market that is as fiercely competitive as the modeling industry it often glamorizes, those revenue numbers are impressive. From a growth perspective, I expect Kathleen Croddick Molyneaux’s company to impress once again in 2014. Suite-K is still in its infancy.
Company: Orbis Biosciences
2002 W. 39th Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66103
The world of biotechnology is obviously a very scientific one, the name alone implies that. When it comes to the consumer world however, biotech can be summed up as the application of life sciences to create commercial products. It ranges from the development of new life saving health care biopharmaceuticals to the development of emerging gene therapies that correct formerly incurable human issues. The industry also includes the production of biofuels, biodegradable plastics, and even its use in the up and coming living computers. Biotech is here to stay and certain to only grow in importance. If you need more evidence, just ask Maria Flynn.
Arming herself with an MS in engineering from Stanford and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Maria has been taking biotech developments and making them marketable for quite some time now. Long before her current venture with Orbis Biosciences, she started as an engineer with Camp Dresser & McKee, then moved to Cerner Corporation where she spent 5 years leading as a Director responsible for the life sciences business. A mix of science and business has always been at the heart of Maria’s goals.
Maria Flynn is now President and CEO of Orbis Biosciences – a company self described as one “which revolutionizes the delivery, efficacy, and safety of pharmaceuticals”. This latest and greatest venture of Maria’s has seen the company develop partnerships with 14 industry leading corporations. The Orbis specialty is helping companies take their antiquated pharmaceutical products and reinventing them, giving them new life and renewed sales channels by adding a controlled-release delivery system. Maria told Entrepreneur Magazine, “It’s that entrepreneurial drive,” … “I’ll go on to do other businesses after this, so from a professional perspective, it’s leaving business legacies, and multiples of them.”
Maria Flynn is a fearless entrepreneur and an eternal optimist. Those two characteristics have propelled her to levels even most great entrepreneurs never achieve. 2014 will undoubtedly be a big year for Maria. Her goal, according to bizjournals.com, is to become a serial entrepreneur.
Industry: Business Services (Language Services / Translation)
Company: TransPerfect Translations International Inc.
Three Park Avenue 40Th Floor
New York, New York 10016
When it comes to the need for well translated information, there’s never been demand as strong as we are seeing today. With a world so interconnected by a single network we call the Internet, and sharing billions upon billions of thoughts daily across a variety of countries, the need for languages to be interpreted is astronomical when compared to past times. Just take a look at the Alexa stats for this past year, 2013. Google.com is the world’s top traffic generating domain name and translate.google.com generates 6.91% of the traffic through it. The world doesn’t operate solely on the Internet though and TransPerfect Translations International Inc. realizes this.
Elizabeth Elting co-founded TransPerfect and as President of the company, she runs the day-to-day operations. In 2010 the WSJ ranked TransPerfect as #5 in the “Top 50 Fastest Growing Businesses” with revenues of $221 million in 2009. Around that same time the company was operating in 19 cities on 3 continents. Such stats made TransPerfect Translations the world’s largest privately owned translation/business services company, even at that time. Today, in 2014, the company brings in annual revenues of $300 million plus and holds offices in 75 cities on 5 continents, servicing clients in 170+ languages worldwide.
Elizabeth Elting’s company is already massive, but it isn’t anywhere close to plateauing. 2014 will likely be another record year in revenue for Transperfect.
Industry: Entrepreneurship Advocacy
900 Broadway Suite 600
New York, New York 10003
You’re a genius. You have an idea. You want to bring it to life. You live in a country outside of America. Contacting Linda Rottenberg might be the thing to do. With a PhD in Engineering from Yale Law School, a B.A. magna cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard University and a J.D. from Yale Law School, Linda has put her talents to work not just for herself, but for many a startup looking to get that funding and mentoring they need to hit success.
Named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report, one of TIME’s 100 “Innovators for the 21st century”, listed on the Forbes “Impact 30”, and more, Linda has been helping business-minded individuals and groups in emerging countries that have little to no venture capital, no one to mentor them and practically no help whatsoever. Linda Rottenberg has been helping what she’s termed “high impact” entrepreneurs in countries outside of the Americas for about 15 years now – a venture that few American entrepreneurs have ever sought to embark on and one that obviously has much need in the developing economies she’s reached out to.
Endeavor identifies, mentors, and co-invests in the most promising emerging-market entrepreneurs. It does so by first giving “high-impact” entrepreneurs the mentors they need to get the vision and the business off the ground, then matches them up with Endeavor’s own network of local investors who then arm them with the capital they need to make their vision happen. By Q1 of 2007, Endeavor’s startups included companies in Latin America, South Africa and Turkey. The businesses had created nearly 80,000 jobs and brought in more than $1.9 billion in revenues. The latest results as of 2013 indicate that Endeavor has now “created more than 200,000 high-wage jobs and generate annual revenues of $5 billion.”
Endeavor has headquarters in New York and Silicon Valley. It also has about 15 affiliate offices located in: Latin America, Africa, Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asia. Although Endeavor has traditionally only worked with startups outside the U.S., it appears the company will be setting its attention on potential entrepreneurial incubations within the U.S. as well. Things have been changing in the world and startups seem to be a bit harder for everyone these days. As such, Linda was recently quoted as saying, “The world has changed and the reality is we’re hurting too.” That comment was made in reference to American entrepreneurs.
As she looks to make an impact with American entrepreneurs, keep an eye on Linda as she will certainly have a positive effect in helping a new market of startups and entrepreneurs.
Industry: Green (Treeless Paper Products)
Company: True Green Enterprises, Inc.
900 Broadway, Suite 600
New York, New York 10003
To understand the importance of trees is to understand the necessity in saving them. Although the Internet has helped reduce the world’s need to consume the likes of writing paper, the world’s population is still increasing at exponential rates and the demand for paper goods is growing in tandem. Trees, as you know, take years to grow. Entire countries are suffering from the depopulation of their most valuable, precious, carbon dioxide, oxygen converting, canopy shade giving resource: trees.
For 30 years, Terry Lehmann worked in IT. After taking a maternity leave she decided it best to take a break for a bit and did so for a little more than a decade. During that time she became “green” conscious (a common transformation after having children. It happened to me.) and started taking interest in products that help both people and the environment. As she researched paper products, Terry found that it was possible to make them from bamboo and sugar cane.
Terry found her entrepreneurial mission through bamboo grass and sugar cane, and in 2007 she connected with factories in China to make competitively priced treeless tissue and treeless toilet paper. The result is True Green Enterprises, Inc.
Terry stated, “I wanted to give back and be good to the Earth … I was looking to make a difference”. She’s certainly done that.
True Green Enterprises products are 100% biodegradable and completely treeless. In a world where trees are disappearing at an alarming rate, and a new source of biodegradable papers are certainly going to be needed, Terry Lehmann has found a niche at the right time. As such, Terry has made our 2014 Top 10 Female Entrepreneur Watchlist.
Industry: Health Care Staffing Franchise
Company: BrightStar Care
150 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 2800
Chicago, Illinois 60601
The healthcare industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world. It makes up more than 10% of all gross domestic product (GDP) among most developed nations. And in America, it’s absolutely massive. Its sheer size is one of the reasons you’ll find female Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BrightStar, Shelly Sun, in the business.
BrightStar Care is in the business of healthcare, with 70% of its business coming from providing both medical and nonmedical short-term and long-term assistance primarily for the elderly. BrightStar has done something innovative for its business model though – something very rare in the healthcare space. The company unbounded its business growth limits by creating a franchise of the business. Shelly Sun has even authored a book “Grow Smart, Risk Less: A Low-Capital Path to Multiplying Your Business Through Franchising”
This book provides the blueprint for how she built her innovative company.
BrightStar was operating for more than 10 years before offering its first franchise. A franchise that, according to the BrightStar literature , “appears to be riding a demographic wave that creates 10,000 American 65-year-olds every day. The company has grown from one location, in Gurnee, to more than 250 across the country”… In the city of BrigthStar’s headquarters alone, Sun said there are about 40,000 seniors that qualify for the company’s services. That in itself should give you an idea of the potential BrightStar has in cities nationwide as the elderly population increases and looks for a way to stay home, versus being admitted to nursing homes.
Not only in 2014, but for the next several years, as baby boomers retire in droves, I expect Shelly Sun to grow her business exponentially. She is an innovative entrepreneur in the right sector at the perfect time.
Industry: IT Services / Communications
Company: Strategic Communications
1961 Bishop Lane
Louisville, Kentucky 40218
Some industries need no introduction, and IT Services / Communications is one of them. With billions of dollars paid for outsourced IT resources on a monthly basis, by companies worldwide, IT services generate tremendous revenue. Still, even in a world where such market potential exists, the field of IT service business is typically dominated by men. Kathy Mills, however, is an exception to the norm.
Since 1992, Strategic Communications has been specializing in voice, video & data communication systems. The company’s vision has always been to give its customers the highest quality products with the best possible service.
So how is Strategic Communications doing? Revenue in 2012: $41.7 million. What’s impressive about that? The companies 3-Year Growth: 933%. And growing.
Kathy Mills, Strategic Communications’ founder, could see, from a percentage standpoint, her company grow more than any other entrepreneur on our list in 2014.
Industry: Organic Foods
Company: Happy Family
40 Fulton St. 17th FL
New York, NY 10038
Shazi Visram of Happy Family started her business – packaging organic meals and snacks – in 2003. Eight years after its inception, Shazi’s company received recognition from Ernst & Young, which awarded her as the Entrepreneur of the Year for New York in 2011.
With an MBA in Management and Entrepreneurship from Columbia Business School and a BA in History and Visual Arts from Columbia University, Shazi Visram knows how to enter an industry and then transform it. Her Happy Family brand has now started a Happy Baby line of products that, as the company claims, has a “unique space in the world of baby food”.
So unique is this company, on the cutting edge of organic nutrition for children, that it was the first to create a baby cereal with probiotics and DHA. Furthermore, Happy Family has exclusive rights to use a branded chia seed that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. This has completely cut out any competition from making a similar baby food.
As of today, The Happy Family brands are sold in more than 13,000 stores within America and comprise 9 different lines of organic foods. Last year Shazi Visram’s company grossed approximately $63 million. I look forward to watching Happy Family expand into the global market, which could easily double the company’s profits.
Industry: Logistics and Product Life Cycle Management Services
Company: Argent Associates Inc
2800 East Plano Parkway Suite 400
Plano, TX 75074
Last and certainly not least on our Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs to watch in 2014 is Betty Manetta.
At the end of 2013, many were captivated by something which surfaced around the Christmas season. It seemed as though Amazon was going to adopt a drone delivery system. It was a novel idea that garnered tremendous PR. But reality hit and the drone was not a reality – yet. The fact of the matter is that big company logistics is still needed to get packages from point A to B and companies such as Betty Manetta’s, Argent Associates Inc, are experts at it.
The certified Minority / Woman Owned business has 11 facilities that span 400,000+ sq ft. and manages $1.2 Billion in assets for its primarily telecom clients. Staffed with 105 people, Argent Associates Inc., and its leader Betty Manetta, has consistently been on the Top Female Entrepreneur lists of various groups over a number of years.
The company is 16-years old and has managed to increase its revenue from $9 million in 2007 to $107 million in 2011, leading Betty to make our Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs to watch in 2014.
Entrepreneurs come in all different shapes and sizes, genders and races. The free market never discriminates; and, now more than ever, we are seeing women entrepreneurs dominate a diverse range of industries. It’s fantastic to see.
Capitalist Creations’ Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs to watch in 2014 will inevitably inspire a whole new younger generation of aspiring female entrepreneurs. This will keep the momentous women in business movement growing. Not only that, these innovative women will continue to create jobs for hundred of thousands of people, and wealth for those willing to support their endeavors.
I look forward to seeing what these leading female entrepreneurs accomplish in 2014. Their stories have been inspiring to write about.